Supporting a thriving community of over 295,000 citizens in the north-east London Borough, Redbridge Council boasts of one of the best living environments in London.
A collection of the Borough’s high quality green spaces have been awarded with Green Flag Status. It’s clear from their continuous hard work in developing and growing local facilities, that Redbridge is a council that consistently strives to make the area a better place to live for its residents.
As part of their development plan, Redbridge have begun to use technology as a tool to enhance living standards and drive improved communication between the council and its citizens, enabling them to contact Redbridge as and when needed. The introduction of Redbridge Conversation, an online forum where residents can be heard by members of the council by submitting open and honest feedback, and their use of the platform DataShare, offers a greater transparency when sharing information with the public.
As part of their philosophy to provide the best possible services to citizens, Redbridge were looking to increase back office savings and efficiencies, in order to maximise the availability of resources to assist more residents in the area. They also wanted a flexible and secure way in which to simplify the deployment of software and the management of apps across devices, and provide the necessary platform to meet the diverse needs of each and every council member. To achieve this, Redbridge looked into SCCM imaging.
System Centre Configuration Manager (SCCM) imaging is designed specifically for organisations. Provided by Microsoft, the software management suite allows users to manage the deployment and security of a large number of devices and applications across an enterprise.
Redbridge were looking for a supplier to provide this SCCM imaging service, but with a difference.
The council wanted each device system tailored to specific people within the organisation, and on various different models of hardware. Along with this, they wanted to offer users as much flexibility as possible with SCCM imaging, so they had the vision of introducing the choice of add-on user options. Members of the council wanted the choice of the type of carry case, mouse, headset and memory upgrades when the imaging service was undertaken.
With this vision in mind, Redbridge went out to tender to find a partner who could help them with their project. Tony Morrison, Smart Technology Programme Manager at Redbridge Council, explains: “As part of the tendering process, we organised meetings with various suppliers in order to find our perfect fit. We found many of the larger suppliers were unprepared for the meetings when we came in, however, after meeting with Stone, we were pleasantly surprised when they came in fully equipped.”
“On top of this, they demonstrated that they knew their stuff when it came to what we wanted, and the way they engaged with us throughout these meetings. We developed a high level of confidence in Stone that they’d deliver exactly what we were looking for.”
“Throughout the whole procurement process, Stone stood out, the fact that they’re an SME definitely contributed to us leaning more towards them as our preferred partner of choice. They continuously expressed their ability to be flexible in their approach and catered to our specific needs, something we found the bigger suppliers were unable to do, and so, Stone won the bid.”
After winning the bid, Stone got to work on tailoring the traditional SCCM imaging service, that had been a long-standing value-add, into something more specific to meet the needs of Redbridge Council.
“Stone have offered customer imaging solutions for a number of years now and typically, all of our orders have required us to deploy the same software on all devices”, comments Micky Scott, Technical Manager at Stone.
Micky further explains the process: “Using Microsoft’s SCCM, Stone are able to work with clients to configure machines with the image, apps and drivers that they need and also join this to the domain and register it within the SCCM system.”
“This means devices can either be dispatched within the client’s organisation or shipped directly to the individual, this is beneficial in terms of both saving time and effort, ensuring higher productivity through a quicker roll out process.”
“But Redbridge Council were different, they wanted a system that could be tailored to specific users and on to different models of hardware. Additionally, they also wanted to offer users add on options such as a headset, mouse or memory upgrades.”
However, the requirements set out by Redbridge didn’t quite fit with the current imaging model that Stone had in place, but Stone didn’t give up there. “We created an individual user and specification process based around what would be needed by our Redbridge clients.” Micky explains.
“Redbridge supplied us with a comprehensive document containing ‘move’ data such as details of the device, accessories in which they wanted, along with hardware and user information.”
“It was with this information provided by Redbridge that allowed us to pick the hardware, image it then asset tag and responsibly dispose of the packaging for our clients at Redbridge. This new and improved form of SCCM imaging means there can be over 100 devices per move shipped to the customer at any time in our secure, Stone branded vehicles.”
Once a solution was established for Redbridge, Stone needed a way in which the process of various types of devices could be managed and rolled out quickly. “To combat this issue, we created customer bag labels on to laptop cases with employee details attached such as names and log in credentials – think of when you check your bags in at the airport for example! This way, upon delivery, each user knows exactly who’s device is in the carry case, and because we’ve already disposed of the packaging, all they need to do is take the device out of the case and it’s ready to go!”
This simple yet effective form of SCCM imaging has had only positive effects for Redbridge Council.
Speaking about this, Tony comments: “The implementation of these imaged devices has accelerated the process of rolling out the laptops and ensured there’s less risk. There’s no disposing of packaging and fiddling with wires upon arrival as this has already been done for us by Stone before we even receive the hardware. Sure, there has been some teething issues, but we’ve been able to come to them and they’ve been able to respond and adapt quickly to fix any issues almost immediately.”