Bath & North East Somerset Council hopes to save as much as £4m a year on office space and power after rolling out Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp VDI technologies.
The council's IT department worked with Citrix advisers at Cetus to replace Windows XP with Windows 7, putting in Citrix XenDesktop, XenApp and Microsoft Application Virtualisation and virtualising "a significant majority" of council applications.
The aim was to provide complete virtual desktop and application access for end users outside the office connecting from home PCs, tablets or smartphones by installing IGEL thin clients across various offices and using NetScaler Unified Gateway for secure delivery and remote access.
The thin clients cost £200 each to purchase, about half the cost of "traditional solutions", according to the council.
More than 1,500 of the council's 2,500 end users have signed up to work remotely on a regular basis since the completion of the deployment, leading to a projected annual office energy saving of £250,000.
The rollout has also enabled the council to close "seven major offices", reducing floor space by 40 per cent and saving £3.5m a year in one fell swoop.
Leighton Ballard, applications and digital capabilities manager at Bath & North East Somerset council, explained that staff can now work in a much more flexible way.
"Previously, we had a situation where people were largely tied to particular desks. We've now got an environment where anybody can sit down at any desk and have access to all their applications and all of their data," he said.
"That's a massive change from where we were before. The Citrix solution has given us truly flexible working."
Sue Green, group manager for public protection and health improvement at the council, claimed that her department has seen significant benefits from the Citrix deployment.
"Many of our staff are out of the office doing inspections for much of the time, and this technology has enabled them to work with complete flexibility. They can start on site, in an office or from home and have all the documentation available. This makes for a far more effective use of time," she said.
Using technology to help save money is key to many councils' digital strategies. V3 heard recently from Newcastle City Council about how deploying Nexthink to monitor staff IT use led to major cost reductions.
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