Scottish Fire & Rescue Service (SFRS) was formed by the unification of Scotland’s previous fire and rescue services. It was seen as the best option to protect and improve necessary services in the face of financial pressures. The unification meant a lot of changes, one of these changes being the existing IT systems supporting Scotland’s fire and rescue services. The newly formed SFRS lacked a wide area network infrastructure to connect all of the fire and rescue services with a Technology One finance system. It also didn’t have the datacentre space or resources for the servers and storage to house the necessary software. The best option, then, was to use cloud technology to connect its 9000 staff with the finance system. Stuart Chalmers, ICT Business Services Manager at Scottish Fire & Rescue Service (SFRS), says: “The cloud offered us a solution. The challenge was that we needed to get everything running reliably in around 12 weeks.”
SFRS set out looking for providers. Paul McGovern, Business Services Project Manager at Scottish Fire & Rescue Service (SFRS), says: “We soon realised that only Dell was willing to offer the resources and services to make our cloud project happen. A few of the providers were stuck on some of our requirements, but Dell had a completely different attitude. This gave us confidence.” SFRS worked with Dell to deploy the cloud solution. The infrastructure was delivered by Six Degrees Group, whose data centres are spread all over the UK. This meant SFRS could meet its licensing requirements and gain the necessary level of redundancy to deliver the service reliably. Chalmers says: “It was clear that the Dell Cloud Dedicated Service offered SFRS the performance and stability for such a critical business application as our finance system.”
The IT team worked towards the deadline and met it with ease thanks to the support of Dell and Six Degrees Group. With the infrastructure already in place at the Six Degrees Group data centre, the main task was to install the software and configure the solution. “We used our resources, including our own database administrator, to complete the installation,” says McGovern. Chalmers says: “We had our new finance system up and running in the cloud in just six weeks. It was great work by everybody involved, and testament to the efforts of Dell and Six Degrees Group, which did everything to make the project a success.”
As soon as the cloud solution was up and running employees were seeing the benefits from the reliable finance system. SFRS avoided any payroll issues or problems with payments for day-to-day operations across the entire service using the Dell cloud-based Technology One system. Chalmers says: “The response throughout SFRS has been great for our Dell cloud solution. We set up multiple virtual private network connections for our finance personnel across Scotland, and they had no trouble accessing the finance system.”
One of the biggest long term benefits will be the savings that SFRS will make now that they have a cloud. SFRS doesn’t need to invest in physical IT infrastructure, so servers and storage costs have become null. “By choosing the Dell private cloud solution, we didn’t have to find the funds to build a new infrastructure for our finance system or provide support. There are definite savings to be made from moving to the Dell cloud. We expect to run other administrative applications from the cloud in the future,” says Chalmers.
Dell and its partners can deliver tailored solutions for effective IT improvements in any organisation. Read more customer success stories here, and find your own Dell technology provider by visiting the Find a Partner page here.