Hampshire County Council has reported savings of £2m a year after standardising on a single desktop environment.
Before the standardisation project, the council allowed each department to run its own PCs. The savings came from cutting the number of applications and software versions that the council had to support.
The project involved the roll out of 8,000 desktop computers to support more than 11,000 end-users at 400 sites. The IT department deployed 4,500 thin client terminals from hardware supplier Wyse and 3,500 Dell PCs. The standardised desktop runs on 120 Dell Poweredge Citrix servers.
So that the new applications could be held centrally and distributed over Hampshire County Council's network, the IT department implemented the latest version of Citrix Presentation Server running on Windows Server 2003.
Hampshire County Council's IT manager Dave Reynolds said, "The challenge was to update and simplify this environment. We wanted to enable all applications and information to be administered centrally and supported by the council's IT team while being delivered to a wide-ranging user base across hundreds of locations."
Having tested the standardised desktop with its full range of applications, the council shared what it had learned with another public sector agency in the county.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service deployed a "clone" of the county council's standardised desktop after seeing how much money could be saved.
The council said, "Hampshire County Council now has a platform in place that is supporting shared services with other public sector bodies within the Hampshire region and is an enabler for greater partnership working in the future."
The main challenge, said Reynolds, was deploying some of the specialised local government applications on Citrix.
Hampshire is the largest Citrix user for some local government applications, and the IT department had to overcome initial scalability issues.
Reynolds said, "Being able to hold data in one place, and share it using Citrix software, is good for the integrity of the data and for the quality of the services provided."
The project cut the total cost of ownership for a desktop to £461, and the number of desktops per support specialist rose to 671, said the council.
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