The North Brabant municipality of Vught, known regionally during Carnival as Dommelbaorzedurp, is a stone’s throw from Den Bosch and has about 26,000 inhabitants. Years ago, this municipality belonged to the medium-sized municipalities, but after many municipal reorganizations, it is now one of the smaller ones. The IT department manages a total of 230 workstations and is headed by Bob Appeldooren, Team Leader Organisation Support.
Until recently, the municipality itself managed the server rooms, which were equipped with a double system to deal with emergencies. Because the systems were virtually written off, the time was ripe for Bob Appeldooren to take a good look at the infrastructure and the management of it. Much revolved around the question of how ready it was for the future. Appeldooren: “To start with, it is becoming increasingly difficult to meet the increasingly high demands made on server rooms. In addition, the number of products and processes has increased significantly in recent years. Of course, the ‘big data’ phenomenon cannot escape us either. A lot of data is also linked to each other with the risk that if something falls over somewhere, problems will arise elsewhere. Finding the cause of that domino effect is becoming increasingly difficult. Because your own expertise starts to fall short, you automatically have to rely on help from external parties.”
Fast scaling up and down
In order to make the right choice between in-house management or outsourcing, Appeldooren believes that two other, equally important factors play a role. “In the context of the decentralization of healthcare tasks, local authorities are being given more and more tasks by the government. At the end of the day, more work has to be done by fewer people. Without embracing new technologies, this is a losing battle. Especially when civil servants are expected to work different hours in the context of 24/7 services. And then there is the possibility that we will also merge with other municipalities in the future. In both scenarios you have to be able to scale up and down quickly, especially in terms of IT, and outsourcing, especially in the cloud, is a good solution for that. In our case, such a solution fits in perfectly with the policy of the municipal council, which aims to take control and not do everything itself. Once it became clear that outsourcing was inevitable, some cold feet had to be overcome.”
“Where other parties promote their own product, Provide bets on flexibility. That fits in perfectly with our needs”
Not promoting own product
“A certain resistance to handing over part of the control is normal. This is certainly true when you have the legal obligation as a municipality to be back on the air within 48 hours in the event of a calamity. And then there is the question of what the US does with your data if it ends up on a foreign server. The market now has good solutions for that.” All this resulted in a European tender before the summer of 2016. Because all the departments involved had been working towards this internally for almost a year, a Programme of Requirements could be drawn up in a relatively short time. What immediately stood out about Provide’s tender was that, unlike others, they do not promote their own product. Other parties get stuck sooner or later while we are looking for flexibility. In addition, they met all the requirements and immediately thought with us. Immediately after the summer they started with the implementation and last December we went live.”
Citizen Affairs virtualized
“After an extensive testing process using our own systems as backup, the servers were first moved to Provide’s private cloud over a weekend. Part of our organization was present during this process. All test protocols were run through and that went very well. The workstations were subsequently transferred in phases, with the most difficult ones being transferred last. In this way we were able to immediately apply the experience we had gained in the interim to the other workstations. We immediately took the opportunity to virtualize the desks of the Citizens’ Affairs department with a view to possible calamities. In all honesty, I do not know what Provide’s private cloud solution looks like in detail. That is not necessary as long as they meet all the requirements. The size of Provide gives confidence, as does their previous experience with cloud solutions for other municipalities. By the way, those were all partial solutions because we are one of the first municipalities with a complete cloud infrastructure.”
“Our organization has not noticed anything from the operation, except that the systems have become faster”
“Furthermore, their price is good, they handle risks very carefully and work in a very structured way. During the entire implementation there was a solid project leader present three days a week, someone for the databases and two technical people. Since the implementation, we have only done the first-line helpdesk and the functional application management; the rest is done by Provide. That also applies to the updates and the monitoring. Because they do this for a multitude of customers, they are much better and faster at it than we could do ourselves. All in all, everything went above and beyond our expectations. Our organization has not noticed anything of the operation, except that the systems have become faster. The number of failures has been greatly reduced since the implementation so the environment has become more stable. If there is still something wrong, Provide solves it immediately and communicates. Finally, it is nice that they do not get bogged down in all kinds of procedures and details. Don’t talk the talk, but walk the walk and that works very well!
Provide sluit volledig aan op de vraag van de Gemeente Vught, door continuïteit te bieden en IT-zorgen uit handen te nemen. We gaan voor het beste resultaat door efficiënt aan een oplossing te werken en een zorgeloze ICT-infrastructuur aan te leggen. Neem direct contact op via de onderstaande mogelijkheden.