Scottish Council

In the heart of Scotland's southwest, this Council provides essential services to its 112,000 residents. Established in 1996, the Council serves key areas including Ayr, Prestwick, and Troon, and is committed to enhancing community well-being. Through initiatives focused on sustainable development, active community engagement, and the pursuit of service excellence, this Scottish Council has made significant strides in improving the quality of life for all its residents. Its efforts in areas such as education, environmental sustainability, and economic development have been recognised with various awards, showcasing its role as a leader in local governance and community improvement.

Introduction

South Ayrshire Council recognised that in some cases traditional data centres were no longer the best economic or environmental solution for certain workloads, and with support from Servent, took the decision to migrate to Microsoft Azure.

Following the strategic decision to adopt Microsoft Azure, Servent played a pivotal role in assisting South Ayrshire Council on their Microsoft Azure adoption journey. Before even considering migrations, we worked with the Council to ensure that all of the foundational elements of the platform were in place. Servent followed the Microsoft Cloud Adoption framework through each phase of their cloud adoption journey, helping them make informed decisions, mitigating risks, and maximising the benefits that the Microsoft Azure platform has to offer.

Challenge

Costly hardware renewals

Skill Gap

Scalability & Managing Growth

Choosing between cloud services and on-premises hardware renewals was a pivotal decision for South Ayrshire Council. Opting for Azure provided unparalleled flexibility and scalability, enabling the Council to scale Azure services and resources based on their dynamic need, and without the substantial upfront costs associated with hardware purchases and upgrades. Azure was also going to relieve the burden of hardware maintenance for the Council, as a result of Microsoft’s responsibility managing Azure infrastructure.

Operating with a streamlined technology team, the Council faced the challenge of employees having to both acquire new skills and adapt to using more cloud services as part of their day job. Many of the Council Team had little exposure to Azure too which presented its own challenges with respect to knowledge and experience.

Solution

After carefully considering all options the migration to cloud was a straightforward decision to make. Using the analysis of the existing infrastructure estate the costs for cloud compared favourably against the costs for on-premises. Following the deep dive analysis on costs Servent worked with the Council technology and business teams to successfully deliver a multi-phase migration with zero downtime and no impact to the services provided to internal business units and to the residents too.

In terms of skills and learning all the Councils technical staff used the learning platforms provided by Microsoft to upskill on the platform. Alongside this Servent also spent a significant amount of time in knowledge sharing to ensure that Council Teams were well prepared to continue to use Microsoft Azure on a daily basis.

Outcome

The significant benefit in the move to Microsoft Azure was to allow the Council to remove much of their dependency of hardware which was about to go out of support. The move to the cloud also resulted in workloads and applications performing better as a result of running on more modern hardware on the platform. An additional benefit in moving to Microsoft Azure was the proximity to other cloud services that these migrated workloads have now established. This will enable the Council to integrate and leverage other cloud services in the future across Microsoft Azure service areas including Security, Data, and AI.

Leveraging the Microsoft Enterprise Skills Initiative (ESI) programme the Council assisted their technical teams to sharpen and broaden their Microsoft Azure skills and knowledge by enrolling on interactive courses and training designed for various jobs roles. This significantly helped individuals on the Team to become certified across various areas of specialisation on the platform.

Using the knowledge sharing provided by Servent complimented with the learning on offer from the ESI programme the Council have a build a multi-disciplined Cloud team with all the requisite skills to now get the best from all the great services and capabilities that the Azure platform has to offer.

Key Wins

Performance improvements

Cost savings

Knowledge transfer

Conclusion

The delivery of the cloud migration programme has marked a significant milestone for Scottish Council. It has been fantastic to witness the evolution of the Council becoming a modern, cloud-ready, business. At the beginning of the programme the Council had only limited Microsoft Azure expertise and with the conclusion of the migration they are far better equipped to build on the great work that has been completed.

Using Microsoft Azure will provide benefits right across many Council business units and will also have a positive effect on the services provided to their residents. And to support longer term cloud adoption Servent continue to provide advisory services and support for the Council via our Azure managed services offerings.

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