Brent Council is the local authority for the London Borough of Brent. Located in the north west of the capital, the borough is one of the UK’s most diverse. It covers 32 wards, including Wembley Central, Kilburn and increasingly affluent Queens Park. Together with six other London councils, Brent has shared a single back office system for the last four years.
Over the years, the councils realised that this common model was quite restrictive on their individual ways of working. Recently, the councils decided to go their separate ways in terms of back office functions to improve efficiencies and to meet their varying individual needs.
Brent Council decided to take the system as it was and port it on to their own infrastructure. Capgemini started the project in October 2017, and it went live on May 29, 2018 after going through a rigorous user acceptance testing period.
“It should’ve been a simple copy and paste exercise in theory, but given the VMWare and clustering involved, it was a very complex migration with all sorts of technical challenges, like the size of data files. We were trailblazing to some extent,” explains Malcolm Myles-Hook, Oracle Delivery Director at Capgemini.
“We had to get the new infrastructure set up on a new VMware platform, matching the two perfectly, so that when we did the copy and moved everything across we wouldn’t have to change infrastructure, change virtual servers and so on.”
By moving away from the single shared back office system, Brent Council has gained increased flexibility and customised functionality which better suits their needs. In addition, by taking the hosting in-house, the council has reduced its running costs.
“The cross-team co-operation on this project was brilliant. Capgemini collaborated with us as a truly combined force. We had members of the team working both on-site and remotely but there was still a true sense of team spirit and solidarity. I’m pleased to say the project was delivered on time and on budget, with no change requests required.” – Sally Chin, Head of Programmes & Transformation, ICT Shared Service, Brent, Lewisham & Southwark Councils