General Optical Council utilises Crown Commercial Service’s Technology Services 2 framework for IT managed services requirement.

The requirement

The General Optical Council (GOC) is the regulator for the optical professions in the UK. Its purpose is to protect the public by promoting high standards of education, conduct and performance amongst opticians.

The GOC’s IT department was faced with ongoing challenges around ensuring its services are accessible to its end users and that any associated data was protected and secure. This meant the majority of the GOC’s IT resource was being spent on keeping services online, backups running and that a disaster recovery plan was in place to meet the business’ service levels. The complexity of these solutions, and the disruption caused by testing them, often resulted in a drain on the GOC’s limited resources in terms of both its people and IT infrastructure.

After a full review of its IT services and strategy, the GOC made the decision to outsource the majority of its IT services. This decision was aimed at reducing and controlling costs whilst providing a more robust, secure and effective IT platform. This would in turn allow the Council’s own IT staff to focus on supporting the business and developing new and innovative ways of delivering against the GOC’s business goals.

The solution

The GOC ran a competitive process through the Crown Commercial Service Technology Services 2 (RM3804) framework for the Council’s IT managed services requirement. The framework’s tendering processes helped the GOC consider and set out its requirements in full so that suppliers had sufficient information to bid effectively.

The GOC awarded the contract to Celerity, one of Technology Services 2’s SME suppliers, after it had demonstrated its ability to provide a fully IT managed service including Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Back up as a Service (BaaS), Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) and IT service desk support.

Celerity’s IaaS solution means that the GOC is no longer responsible for any underlying hardware and can run its servers outside of its datacentre or on-premise where appropriate. This means the GOC does not have to invest the time required to maintain the hardware from a firmware or code level perspective and is not responsible for monitoring the hardware or raising hardware support calls where needed. Furthermore, the inherent risk around performing necessary upgrades or patches is offloaded to Celerity and any service disruption related to these elements can be avoided. As part of the GOC’s IT managed service, Celerity not only help with day-to-day IT administration tasks but it makes sure security remains a top priority through regular deployment of security patches. Celerity’s BaaS and DRaaS services also ensures the GOC’s data is fully protected and highly available to meet agreed service levels for ongoing business continuity.

The results

The GOC now has an infrastructure which is secure, fully compliant and resilient allowing for longer-term business planning to be achieved. Through its breadth of experience and professional IT services Celerity will achieve more efficient cost management and is now a trusted partner working alongside the Council to further enhance its business processes. As the costs are opex costs with no upfront hardware or infrastructure investments this ensures that the GOC has known and fixed costs for the duration of the contract.

Mark Webster, Director of Resources at the GOC, commented:

“Moving our IT services to Celerity gives us a robust and cost-effective solution that allows us to provide better customer service both internally and externally to the public and to the opticians we regulate. The transfer of our services to Celerity ran smoothly and we are finding them easy and professional to work with”.

By tendering through the Technology Services 2 RM3804 commercial agreement, the GOC has secured a contract with a quality assured supplier using rigorous, pre-defined contractual terms. The resulting contract with Celerity has achieved the following additional benefits:

  • Services are running on a more robust infrastructure utilising up to date technologies
  • More confidence in the back-up solution and the ability to provide disaster recovery
  • Disaster recovery testing without the risk, disruption or workload previously associated with it
  • Increased staff productivity with a focus on the business and time to plan for future business needs
  • Reduced costs and more efficient cost management
  • Enhanced security and compliance
  • Access to Celerity’s expertise allowing risk to be shared and reduced

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