The Shared Service Merry-Go-Round

03. September 2012 Uncategorized 0

Can “Cloud” Deliver Sector Specific Shared Services Opportunities?

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The concept of shared services within Local Government circles is not a new one. There have been many attempts over the years to put together deals, offerings, panels and the like with the sole intent of offering group buying power and better value for money for the Local Government Sector.

TD has been involved in several of these including the MAV and VMware Enterprise Licensing Agreement this year, a Disaster Recovery education program with MAV, and past iterations of the VMWare Enterprise Licensing Agreement for the sector.

The idea of true shared services does make a lot of sense. In various industries we have seen some outstanding successes, along with some catastrophic failures. Traditionally when it comes to the provisioning of services like Disaster Recovery, the benefits have been hard to realise. It has been too hard to drive enough commonality between neighbouring Councils’ infrastructure to architect a workable and cost effective shared solution.

I believe that the recent Expression of Interest in NSW by the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils for the “Provision of Data Centre and Business Continuity Services and Facilities” is a fantastic step forward for the sector in realising the potential of a shared service model. The key objectives of the EOI were to facilitate a joint procurement model to deliver functional benefits and cost savings to the member Councils.

The solution needed to be:

– Flexible enough to deliver against a wide range of source environments of vastly differing complexity and composition;,
– Allow Councils to accurately budget with a predictable cost model regardless of adds, moves and changes during the contract period;
– Provide an administration model that would allow Council staff the ability to self-manage the platform using tools they are already trained and familiar with, minimising the internal resource costs and the external managed service costs; and
– Provide the mechanism for Councils on tight budgetary restraints to still have access to an enterprise grade Disaster Recovery solution.

With the cloud debate now gathering momentum TD have been working hard to develop a fit for purpose solution that cuts through the marketing hype and delivers real value targeted at what our customers actually want. The focus has been to deliver the benefits of cloud style computing, whilst not compromising the current control and predictability that you have with your traditional on premise systems. We believe that we have nailed that offering with our Virtual Private Data Centre Offering outlined in other articles in this newsletter.

When responding to the SSROC EOI we found that our Virtual Private Data Centre solution was able to meet all of the required objectives in an extremely simple and cost effective fashion. We could provide basic compute and storage resources as a commodity and support any number of different replication topologies to suit the varied needs of the member Councils. Cost could be easily contained and Council IT staff could have as much or as little management control and responsibility as they liked.

TD have, over the years delivered infrastructure solutions in the core data centre to 60% of the Victorian Municipalities. We have worked hard to bring together enterprise grade solutions and functionality with a price point that is perfect for our Local Government customers. Some of our Local Government customers have been using our services for over 10 years now – with 3 full data centre refreshes under the bridge. I see a great opportunity now to extend on that trusted relationship we have with Local Government to deliver a hosted service to help you commence your journey to the cloud whilst reducing your internal footprint and complexity.

I would like to personally thank all of our Local Government customers for their support over the years and would love discuss with you how we can continue that infrastructure journey into the new world.

*Evan Duryea is National Practice Manager for Data Centre Solutions at Thomas Duryea Consulting.*