Stafford Borough Council has awarded a #1.6 million contract for a new network as part of a cost-saving initiative.
The contract was given to systems integrator McDonnell Information Systems (MDIS), the council's chief IT supplier since the early 1980s. The main reasoning behind the overhaul the existing IT system was to reduce network costs.
The network is a heterogeneous one, working on NetWare 4.0, Unix and Reality, MDIS' proprietary network operating system. It is held together with MDIS network management software.
The networking hardware will be supplied by 3Com. Under the contract, MDIS will also provide the council with 30 Tally desktop laser printers, Sun servers, Acer desktop PCs and staff training and will install and maintain the network infrastructure.
"Cost savings are envisaged by changing our printer technology to centralised laser printing," said the council's assistant treasurer, Ian Robertson.
But he added that a move away from paper will also lower costs. "Once the network and Email systems are implemented, there will be a major reduction in the amount of paper used throughout the authority."
Ray Jones, MDIS, communications manager, explained: "The infrastructure needed bringing up-to-date, because it hadn't been overhauled in about 10 years. We're delighted the council has decided to stick with us for this project."
The council will keep its existing application software, developed in-house, but plans to move to a system based on standard off-the-shelf software packages in the future. MDIS will also be looking to provide an intranet based on Java, with Internet connections.
Installation of the system is expected to be complete by the end of the year, and will be managed so as not to disrupt council services in the interim.
Jack Kemp, leader of the council, commented: "Our main priority was to get value for money for council tax payers. We have a significantly improved computer system which will lead to better public services, increased productivity and reduced costs."
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