“We needed something compatible with our new way of working, which was to be agile and flexible. UniPrint was the only provider we found that had a real solution and people who understood what we were about.”
– Tim Huggins, ICT Manager at Brentwood Borough Council
UniPrint Brings Brentwood Borough Council Cloud-Based Printing To More Than 300 Staff Across Five Sites
To anyone visiting or thinking of setting up a business, Brentwood, Essex in the U.K. already has all the hallmarks of an outstanding location, from its bustling High Street shops to its extensive historical locations.
What no one would realise, however, are the efforts Brentwood Borough Council has been making behind the scenes to transform itself into an equally outstanding example of what a “cloud first” approach to government services could look like. Reaching that point has involved a lot of work under tight timelines which is why Brentwood Borough Council turned to UniPrint.net for help.
In a report called Vision For Brentwood, 2016-2019, Brentwood Borough Council lays out an ambitious plan to better serve its citizens and business. This includes goals around reducing costs, streamlining services and processes, meeting 80% of customer’s needs at the first point of contact and the most efficient use of resources.
This is a busy organisation focused on a wide range of activities, from economic development and housing management to the health of local communities. “Focus on delivery” is among its four core values.
Brentwood Borough Council’s objectives led to a strategic decision to become the first U.K. council to launch a project for moving 100% of its systems and infrastructure to cloud computing by the third quarter of 2017.
This project would take place while the organisation and its team moved to a new Town Hall, and part of the effort would not only involve migrating away from on-premises products, but to provide staff with more agile ways of working.
“We wanted to create a very easy delivery of people’s desktops no matter where they were, whether it was a coffee shop, their home, or one of our sites,” said Tim Huggins, ICT Manager at Brentwood Borough Council. “We were putting the power back into the business departments who were saying, ‘We want to work like this.’”
Unfortunately, that kind of change involved more than simply desktops and laptops. Brentwood Borough Council also had to consider the impact on managed print services across the organisation.
“We approached our common provider,” Huggins recalled. “But it became quite evident very quickly that they had no solution, and we were way ahead of the game with our concepts and what we were trying to do.”
Brentwood Borough Council worked with UniPrint to implement Infinity for the Cloud, a managed print solution designed specifically to work with market-leading solutions such as Microsoft Azure.
UniPrint Infinity brings together printers, drivers, users and devices in an organisation all within one centralised management console and offers user-authenticated pull printing.
This improves document security, while high availability provides full redundancy, ensuring printing services are available whenever users need them.
In just a few months after some initial testing, UniPrint delivered a solution that is now used by more than 300 people across five different locations. Some of the specific value Huggins and his team have enjoyed by partnering with UniPrint includes:
A Seamless User Experience:
As its workforce becomes more distributed and decentralised, the Brentwood Borough Council’s team realised that continuing its traditional approach to managed printing service wasn’t an option as it became a cloud-based public sector organisation, what is sometimes known as a “G-cloud” entity.
“With fat clients sitting on a network, it’s all about local printing,” Huggins explained. “The ability with UniPrint to draw stuff out of the cloud and deliver it in a flexible manner — that’s really enabled us to have a full solution.”
Maximising Existing Resources:
No one likes to undergo costly upgrades and replacements, especially if they’re not necessary. According to Cole Brace, a Business Application Analyst at Brentwood Borough Council, UniPrint was critical in avoiding those kinds of issues by ensuring the organisation could continue working with a fleet it already had in place.
“As we were moving people over to a desktop-as-a-service environment, UniPrint’s Follow Me Printing meant they could be printing already,” he said. “This enabled the migration of the on-premise environment to a cloud-based one, where we could still utilise our existing MFPs, and it was done quite smoothly.”
Integrated Back-Office Printing:
What’s more convenient than simply sending an e-mail to print rather than having a more manual process? Huggins said UniPrint’s feature set has already made a huge difference.
“We can pre-schedule jobs or through workflows to let people know when their printouts are ready,” Huggins said.
Security And Reliability:
Difficulties with printing is an obvious headache for an organisation in the midst of a transformation, and Huggins praised UniPrint for bringing a solution that would give him and his team peace of mind. “Their ability to turn it all around for us was quite dramatic,” he said.
Brace added that UniPrint also demonstrated a strong commitment to getting things right the first time by providing Brentwood Borough Council tablets to test and expand its print services as necessary. “The support to date has been brilliant,” he said.
Future-Proofing For A Cloud-Based Future:
“Looking forward, we’re going to have a growing mobile workforce, spread over four or five different sites,” Brace explained. “Working with UniPrint means we can have more people go out on site, or they can work from home.”
Huggins said Brentwood Borough Council is confident in continuing to build towards its long-term vision, thanks in part to having providers like UniPrint on board.
“We needed something compatible with our new way of working, which was to be agile and flexible,” Huggins said.
“UniPrint was the only provider we found that had a real solution and people who understood what we were about.”