Housing Corp’s blueprint for managed infrastructure

The Housing Corporation has put out a tender for a managed IT infrastructure to support 405 staff in nine offices as part of a major IT modernisation programme.

The Housing Corporation has put out a tender for a managed IT infrastructure to support 405 staff in nine offices as part of a major IT modernisation programme.

The project aims to provide the Housing Corporation, which channels £2bn of public funds into the UK’s 1,500 housing associations annually, with a robust infrastructure to support its critical business services by August next year.

The organisation is also investing in projects to modernise its core investment management and financial systems, and plans to upgrade its Citrix-based desktop systems.

The tender represents a rethink of the Housing Corporation’s IT strategy following the troubled roll-out of an earlier £17m programme to replace PCs with thin clients.

Consultantcy Improcom will work with the Housing Corporation’s project team to scope the project, evaluate suppliers and give advice on managing procurement.

The project will provide desktop and helpdesk services and make the Housing Corporation’s core applications available to office desktops and staff working remotely.

“We anticipate improved productivity, improved availability of systems, more flexibility about where people can work, and ultimately a better impact on our core job of creating more quality homes,” said Peter Marsh, director of resources at the Housing Corporation.

The organisation is evaluating systems from six suppliers, ranging from a traditional hub and spoke system to a continuation of its existing services contract with Netstore, which ends in August next year.

Marsh said the Housing Corporation had learned important lessons after terminating its £17m application service provider infrastructure contract with Elonex in December last year following difficulties.

“We have drawn up an action plan to ensure that the lessons learned are taken on board through any new procurement,” said Marsh.

“We are approaching the procurement of our new system on the basis of a defined business need and open engagement with a range of suppliers on how our business needs might be met.”

Marsh said the independent report on the Elonex project would not be published without government clearance, but it was more important that lessons were learned than that the report was made public.


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