we are Aspire
Cloud Infrastructure Blueprint & Procurement for we are aspire
Introduction to we are aspire:
The “we are aspire” brand blends commercial expertise with social purpose to revitalise communities by providing homes, training, employment and support. Aspire Housing provides c9,000 homes in Newcastle- under-Lyme and Staffordshire with a growing number in Cheshire and other surrounding areas. The Group provides training and social enterprise, which prepares younger people for work, supports adults into employment and enables local areas to prosper. Aspire has a “People First” culture and its goal is to invest in the future of its customers by helping them to thrive within the communities in which they work and live.
The ageing on-premise IT infrastructure was unstable and prevented Aspire’s ability to make progress with strategic business initiatives. The legacy business applications required rationalising and modernisation, but the infrastructure was restricting the business to realise its strategic aspirations, limiting its ability drive through improvement initiatives, streamline processes and offer a broader range of digital services to customers.
The project sought to provide new foundations for Aspire’s IT requirements, with the ability to host legacy and new business applications and provide a managed service wrap around these new technologies, by designing, procuring and overseeing the implementation of a modern, flexible and highly performing IT infrastructure.
Of primary importance was the agility of the new infrastructure and its ability to support technology services with the ability to adapt and evolve with ongoing business requirements enabling future development of an integration with the Orchard Housing Management System.
Also considered were Aspire’s “Cloud First” strategy and excellent availability and business continuity.
Alysium were engaged to develop a blueprint for Aspire’s IT requirements and assist with the required procurement. We also provided assistance with the strategy for the future Housing Management Solution requirements. We reviewed the business applications strategy and provided risk analysis and assurance to Aspire’s Executive Team that the strategy was in-line with its future business aspirations.
To minimise the tender overheads, the NHS SBS Framework was used; Alysium produced the tender specification and evaluation documentation and assisted with contract preparation. We then assisted at each stage of the tender including liaising with bidders, evaluation and contract award. 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 delivers a flexible and agile service with high levels of resilience commensurate with the importance of technology to enable the delivery of modern services that deliver efficient business processes and meet customers’ demands. This solution requires no significant capital investment which may constrain future developments. This will allow Aspire to consider future initiatives including artificial intelligence, smart homes and big data as these evolve as business requirements.
Grant Sharman, Group Head of ICT at Aspire, said “This was a large scale IT procurement exercise that Aspire did not have the experience or knowledge to take on in-house. With Alysium’s vast experience in procuring similar services both in and out of the Housing sector, Aspire took confidence that we were working with a partner who could manage the whole process and deliver the desired outcomes. From the scoping of requirements to the production of documentation all the way through to partner selection and contract negotiations, Alysium conducted the process in the most professional manner, giving reassurance to the exec and board that the investment from the procurement of services was fit for purpose and fit for future.”
Stephen Repton, Consultant at Alysium added “This is a complex project bringing many commercial and technical benefits and allows Aspire to transform how it delivers services to its customers. This will make it easier for staff to carry out their duties, thus enabling a cultural change and a more efficient organisation. Importantly it will help Aspire to continue to improve customer service long into the future.”