The challenge – rapid growth and complexity
For a rapidly growing and complex Bay of Plenty Council with a majority IT focus being on business integration, having the strategic input of an external team is integral to operations.
“We plan it out every year, 3 years, and even up to 10 years. BTG has been the consistent hardware, support, and expertise groups that the Council has utilised since I joined”, says Richard.
BTG have been engaged with the Council since 2008. Initially BTG provided consulting expertise and assistance to the WBoPDC IT team within networking and security, and then in 2012 providing strategic planning around core networking, servers, and storage implementation. BTG specialise in helping the Council with purchasing decisions that were made with intelligence, foresight and planning.
The Solution – consolidation and cost optimisation
“We developed a strategy that would head the council to a more economical solution with ultimately a reduction in IT spending, considering aspects such as server consolidation and Green (power efficient) solutions”, – Ted Ebbing, Solutions Specialist for BTG Bay of Plenty.
A WiFi solution was next on the agenda to help meet growing demand within the Council. The Council’s WiFi capability was not as robust or scalable as was required, so last year BTG were contracted to provide an assessment of requirements and design a solution.
A versatile, solid, and economical solution was created and delivered by BTG based on Aerohive WiFi technology with the existing infrastructure at WboPDC. The mix had to cater for public facilities, including; libraries, Council chambers, and public meeting rooms, internal devices, and staff BYOD.
Richard respects and values discipline around process, and appreciates that BTG always deliver within in the scope of defined work.
Implementation – expertise delivered
“Where Ted and I have worked together really well is that we create a very good definition of what we are going to do, we have a pretty good demarcation of who does what, and by and large, apart from a few hiccups mostly from our part we are successfully delivering”, – Richard.
According to Richard, the strategy looking ahead is to shift IT to be more “on the business skills” and less towards the “dark lord of IT”, in Richard’s words. The biggest cause for concern for Council was as the push towards business integration grew, the risk was that proactive maintenance at the infrastructure end would suffer. Within the 10 strong IT team around 75% of the time is spent dealing with user support and service requests and supporting the vast number of complex applications and systems in operation.
Richard believes the real value lies in the balance of BTG being able to apply their Level 3 and 4 expertise to perform specific upgrades, recommend solutions, work collaboratively on strategy, and ensure that the Council doesn’t trip up on maintenance.
“The relationship going forward means that a lot of our technical project work is going to end up in the hands of the people that operate the technology consistently, while we focus on things from an operational point of view”, – Richard.
Results – BTG fills the gap
BTG ‘fill the gap’ within a Government environment that can, at times, be complicated due to contractual obligations. Where Richard sees the impending future and value within the BTG / Council relationship is that the risk of massive amounts of knowledge being stored within one individual is alleviated, and can now be drawn from a company that has significant knowledge of the environment.
BTG continue to provide on-going consulting advice and level 3 & 4 support to the Council ICT staff on a day to day basis, which in turn, complements the skills of the internal IT team.
“One last thing – I’ve spoken to vendors, actual manufacturers and hardware distributors, and they’ve indicated that the BTG guys here are some of the experts in the country”, – Richard.