Valleys to Coast
Cloud Infrastructure Blueprint & Procurement for Valleys to Coast
Introduction to Valleys to Coast:
Valleys to Coast Housing Limited was the first Housing Association in Wales to be created by large scale voluntary stock transfer. A not for profit organisation, Valleys to Coast provides and manages 5,835 homes across Bridgend, South Wales and also provides management services to 722 leasehold flats, has a portfolio of 50 shops and other non-residential properties let on commercial terms, and manages 1,129 garages. Valleys to Coast’s goal is to provide homes where people feel happy and safe.
Valleys to Coast ran an outdated legacy IT infrastructure which was proving to be unreliable and was hampering the organisation’s ability to modernise its business application portfolio, drive improvements in its business processes and provide a wide range of digital services to its customers.
This project sought to design and procure a modern, flexible infrastructure which would form the foundation for Valleys to Coast’s IT requirements over the next five years and could adapt and evolve with the organisation’s requirements. The project acknowledged current trends to Cloud provisioned services and sought to ensure that Valleys to Coast will be able to take benefit of services currently proven in the marketplace and be able to modify these and adopt new technologies as and when these become commercially available.
Alysium were engaged to blue-print Valleys to Coast’s requirements and produce the required tender documentation to procure the required solutions and associated professional services. Alysium led that OJEU compliant Open Tender Procedure and assisted at all stages of specification and evaluation of the process.
A contract, which can run for up to seven years was awarded to ANS Group to provide a cloud infrastructure platform based on Microsoft Azure. This solution delivers Cloud based services including Microsoft Office 365 and Citrix Desktop as a Service and includes high-levels of resilience commensurate with the importance of technology for an organisation delivering modern services which meet the demands of its customers.
The solution will allow Valleys to Coast to readily take advantage of new technologies which it may wish to implement over the coming years. As a public cloud solution there is no significant capital investment which may constrain future developments. In this respect, the solution is capable of future development to allow Valleys to Coast to implement new and upgraded business applications as “Software as a Service” functions and to take advantage of other service delivery options such as “Platform as a Service”. This will allow Valleys to Coast to consider initiatives including artificial intelligence, smart homes and big data as these evolve as business requirements.
Polly Thompson, Director of IT at Valleys to Coast, said “Valleys to Coast appointed Alysium to lead on the replacement of our end of life ICT Infrastructure which included compute, storage, disaster recovery, and related services. We needed the support of an expert consultancy that could assist us to implement a new infrastructure that would support the modern, connected way in which we will work. Alysium were the perfect partners, providing insights into new technologies and delivery methods together with the best approach to procurement.”
Phil Riley, Senior Consultant at Alysium added “The Valleys to Coast project provided the opportunity to engage with the marketplace allowing Valleys to Coast to obtain the technical and commercial benefits of today’s cloud products. The challenge was not only to deliver a solution meeting current requirements but to ensure that it was future proof allowing Valleys to Coast to benefit from evolving and emerging technologies throughout the contract term.”
Andy Barrow, CTO at ANS commented, “Social housing providers across the UK are now recognising the need to lay solid foundations on which to innovate and embrace emerging technologies to improve the lives of their customers. We are looking forward to seeing Valleys to Coast evolve over the coming years as we provide them with the foundations needed to deliver their strategy to become more digital and efficient and continue to make positive difference to the communities that they work with.”