Peterborough City Council to use Salesforce for core platform

Peterborough City Council plans to put Salesforce's CRM and Amazon's AWS platform at the core of its ICT strategy, according to IT director Richard Godfrey.


Peterborough City Council plans to put Salesforce's CRM and Amazon's AWS platform at the core of its ICT strategy, according to IT director Richard Godfrey.

Godfrey wants the council to move its entire ICT estate to the cloud as quickly as possible, he told delegates at a summit run by identity management firm Okta this week.

It is already using cloud tools such as Box to store and share files and Okta's identity application. By adopting Salesforce, Peterborough is set to join "forward thinking local authorities such as the London Borough of HounslowBristol City Council and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead”, according to its new five-year ICT strategy.

Traditional vendors ‘had it far too good’

Godfrey said his aim of moving Peterborough's entire ICT estate to the cloud was being slowed by a reliance on “legacy applications from 10 or so different vendors” which are not available hosted on cloud.

“We’re currently looking at those legacy applications and which of them we can drop”, he added.

Godfrey said: “So my challenge to those more traditional suppliers: change your business models to go with the times...too many people are locked in with a handful of suppliers. These vendors have had it far too good for far too long.”

The council’s strategy document said: “Cloud technology that requires little or no infrastructure will form the model for the strategy."

“This will remove a large amount of back end, unseen tasks undertaken by ICT. This means ICT can work more closely with departments”, it added.

With the core of the council's platforms and applications running in the cloud, the network will be of crucial importance. Peterborough will run on a single council-wide network thanks to a deal it signed with Cityfibre in November last year, Godfrey told ComputerworldUK.

 "This will see all corporate sites and schools (and the City hospital) connected to CityFibre’s core network that they are building in the city. The actual service over this network is delivered and managed by Serco who deliver the Council’s ICT managed service.

"The network itself is designed around Cisco hardware, and the council uses Cisco for VOIP [voice over IP] and UC [unified communications], however, we will be a looking at alternatives such as the use of Chatter to change the way we currently communicate. Ideally I’d like to drive email traffic down to a minimum across the council."

Invest to save

The strategy aims to help the council departments save money by transforming services and working more efficiently rather than just shave costs off the ICT budget.

Godfrey said: “We’re getting rid of fire fighting back end tasks, and looking at what we can do for departments, not just thinking ‘how can we keep the servers alive’.”

He said that data security was one of the major considerations for the ICT team when writing the strategy. However Godfrey warned that focusing on the safety of tools is not as important as user behaviour.

“We have a very strict governance team, we have to hold them back slightly. They once tried to turn the entire estate off as there was an issue with one policy. But why would our two to three strong security team do a better job than companies like Box who spend millions on security?

“I don’t think there’s ever been an ICO [Information Commissioner’s Office] fine on a network. The issue is people taking stuff out of the network. Teaching employees how to manage data is far more important than focusing on the tools they use.”

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