Working in partnership for the common good is so well established in business these days that the only surprise is that it was never always the case.
Sharing resources, where appropriate, and pooling expertise are widely regarded as par for the course in these continually cost-cutting times.
But, of course, such a prudent approach begs the question of how to make it work. What are the practical steps that need to be taken to ensure success?
Luckily, Public Sector Broadband Aggregation (PSBA) has the answers for public sector organisations across Wales.
The PSBA roaming service means seamless and secure network connectivity for public sector workers, like those working for Gwynedd Council.
Many of the authority’s staff attend meetings at different sites belonging to other authorities. That meant that they were unable to connect to their home network without accessing a remotely hosted desktop, which could be a problem.
The same issue also applied to staff at GwE, a collaborative school effectiveness and improvement service across all six counties in north Wales and which has its IT services provided by Gwynedd Council.
Staff at GwE needed to be able to access the network and login to the system from whichever site and school they were visiting.
PSBA took hold of the issue by implementing its simple and cost-effective roaming service. Now staff can easily connect to the organisation’s network when they are on the move.
The benefits are widespread
- Improved network and connectivity
- Cost savings
- Reduced travel time
- Staff are able to access all systems from different locations
- Staff can work collaboratively across all sectors in Wales
- Increased productivity among staff
- Fewer network overheads as sites are connected to one network
- Employees can work flexibly from multiple locations which share the same network.
More productive use of time
Ian Roberts, technical lead for the council’s network team, said: “PSBA’s services have allowed our staff to work collaboratively. External authority staff can now access their network from our sites and complete tasks there and then, rather than returning to their own base.
“Gwynedd staff are also able to connect securely in the same manner from other authority sites. Staff benefit from being able to be co-located, while helping to reduce our costs. Our network team is also more productive as we spend less time managing multiple network services and requests from different organisations across the county.”
Hywel Dda University Health Board
PSBA’s roaming service has also done wonders for the efficiency of Hywel Dda University Health Board (HDUHB) by improving connectivity and cutting costs.
Its healthcare services benefit around 384,000 people in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. A 10,000-strong workforce provides acute, primary, community, mental health and learning disabilities services from four major hospitals and about 50 community sites.
But the rural nature of its area poses connection problems, and the opening of a flagship integrated care centre in Aberaeron gave the health board the focus to get on top of the issue.
PSBA’s core network change (CNC) programme saw a large improvement in connection quality at a fraction of the price, with extra bandwidth and state-of-the-art upgrades for equipment approaching its end of life.
One community health centre in the countryside operated on a two megabyte connection at a cost of £12,000 a year, but the CNC programme replaced it with a 20 megabyte connection at a cost of £800 a year.
Another beneficiary was Llandovery Hospital, which now enjoys a 2,000% improvement in bandwidth connection for uploading documents, including large image files from the radiology unit, and is able to hold high-quality video conferencing between sites. That means managers can spend the time previously allocated for travel on other pressing clinical issues.
Cutting down on administration
Board infrastructure operations manager John Hackett said: “When creating a new facility that brings together healthcare and council staff, it is vital that there are systems in place to allow people to communicate in a quick and effective manner.
“By managing our digital operations through one central provider in PSBA, we are able to limit the amount of our own administrative time and, in turn, limit the amount of time spent travelling to meetings when a video call could suffice. The end-to-end service provided by PSBA also means that we have one point of contact should anything go wrong, as opposed to multiple IT teams on multiple different systems across the region.
“PSBA has made the opening of the new facility much easier, and enabled us to implement a cost-effective, digital-first focus across all 50 of our sites in mid and west Wales, something we couldn’t have done without them.”
PSBA enables over 110 organisations to be connected across multiple sectors. Visit the website for more information.
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