Surrey County Council expects to cut its network operating costs by up to 25% after signing a five-year, £18m deal to move from a bespoke IP network to Cable & Wireless's UK-wide IP virtual private network.
The project is the council's first major IT-driven business transformation project since it restructured its IT division last year.
The contract will involve the migration of 13,500 network nodes across 180 locations to the virtual private network. The council said the switch, which is expected to take 12 months, would also enable it to sell some of its properties without incurring excessive costs or significant disruption to front-line services.
After John Gladman stepped down as Surrey's head of IT in spring 2006, the IT department was restructured and brought within a new corporate services division, which includes finance and human resources.
The new head of IMT, Dominic O'Carroll, was appointed on a part-time basis last autumn. He is now in the post full time and will work with Surrey's estates and planning functions to rationalise the number of properties that are owned by the council.
The move to Cable & Wireless's network should make it easier for the council to share information with other public sector agencies both in Surrey and nationally.
O'Carroll said, "There is the issues of sharing on a wider basis and there will be a lot of work on the optimisation of our SAP platform."
The last major project before O'Carroll took over was the migration of front-line council services to an internal shared services centre. Adult social services was the last service to go live on the MySAP R/3 Enterprise platform in April last year.
The council spent £10.8m implementing SAP between late 2003 and April 2006. The shared services systems are expected to save Surrey £57m by 2013 through being able to answer 85% of customer queries first time.
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