Solutions at a glance
“The transition between work environments is seamless. Staff work in an environment that’s cloud-like and extremely flexible.”
Matthew Smith, Information Technology Manager, City of Kwinana
Kwinana is a tight-knit community 38km south of Perth, on the shores of Western Australia. It’s home to a range of industries and activities, from agriculture to oil refineries to a motorsport complex.
The City of Kwinana provides a wide range of services to its nearly 39,000 residents. As well as the standard services such as libraries, parks, waste collection, building and planning, it hosts a range of annual events, providing youth services and capacity building in the community. With over 400 staff members across 10 local offices, fast, reliable technology infrastructure is vital for the city to service its community efficiently. It manages essential government data, which is growing by five per cent a year.
Infrastructure limited by lack of control
In the past, the city used an off-premises cloud service, but realised that the service was insufficient in meeting the city’s standards as the solution was slow, patchy and not mobile-friendly. In addition, the IT department encountered challenges in servicing and managing their resources due to lack of control.
“We had almost no control over our own data. Often, IT department staff could only assist by escalating issues to our third-party provider,” says Mathew Smith, Information Technology Manager at the City of Kwinana.
Buildings such as the recreation centre, retirement villages and parks management services were served by a shared network. Accessing the cloud required a private internet connection, and a desktop connection in city buildings, negating the flexibility of a cloud environment. And with up to 300 people logging in simultaneously and a download speed of 10Mb/s, server outages were common.
This compromised efficiency, especially for essential city services such as housing inspections, fire-fighting, parkland protection and other duties that rely on mobility. The city wanted to address these issues, reduce costs, improve service delivery and ensure it could innovate.
Implementing unique solutions
The City of Kwinana engaged technology consultants and Dell EMC Titanium status partner Data#3 to strategise and redevelop its technology infrastructure. It soon became clear that Dell Technologies, a collective of technology leaders focused on developing innovative solutions, would enable change within the city.
“We could see that the city’s initial solution wasn’t working,” says Craig Ellis, Infrastructure Solutions Manager, Data#3. “It needed a system that was agile and flexible, and these issues could be directly addressed with the Dell Technologies solutions we were able to provide.”
An on-premises solution built on four Dell PowerEdge R630 Host Servers, alongside an R330 Management Server and an R530 Backup Server would address its off-premises cloud storage issues and enable the city to regain control of its data.
The City of Kwinana chose Dell Technologies due to its adaptable suite of cloud and cloud-supporting solutions, including VMware and Aerohive wireless networks, alongside its work-ready PC and laptop range. This offering would also integrate easily into its current infrastructure; it already used Dell’s Endpoint Management Systems.
Value for money was important when selecting the preferred supplier. “Pricing was definitely a strong point,” Smith explains.
“Dell Technologies actually exceeded the specifications we wanted – well within our budget.”
The new infrastructure included a streamlined, on-premises cloud system running over four Dell PowerEdge servers with reliability and backup features. In addition to this, VMware computing virtualisation software enabled a streamlined management process.
These technologies were paired with Dell N-Series networking and two Dell Aerohive wireless networks (AP550 and AP1130) run over 200 Dell desktops, workstations and laptops, creating a system linked by integrated, on-premises cloud solutions.
“Installing this system meant that all of our performance issues were gone,” says Smith.
Installing flexible capability
Given the city’s unique requirements, this new infrastructure was essential in making certain it could meet its community’s needs now and in the future. Integrating these technologies across its facilities meant streamlined communication channels and new opportunities for a flexible workforce.
Staff are now reaping the benefits of a more mobile workplace. Instead of Kwinana rangers returning to the office at the end of a shift to fill out reports, they can use the Dell Latitude Rugged tablets in their vehicles. By reducing time in and travelling to the office, and being enabled with state of the art, robust devices such as Dell Rugged tablets, staff can deliver more to the community via safe, secure and mobile work solutions.
Pairing the Dell 2-in-1 tablets with its VOIP system also provides the option to eliminate the need for desk phones, with direct contact through their tablets. Once the 300 phone lines are phased out, with each costing $40 a month, the City of Kwinana will benefit from additional cost savings around $12,000 per month.
“The transition between work environments is seamless,” Smith says. “Staff work in an environment that’s cloud-like and extremely flexible.”
Overhauling business process
This technological overhaul has changed operations, reducing costs, streamlining business processes and enabling it to deliver high quality service to its community. Integrating a full suite of Dell Technologies’ solutions reduced the annual IT budget by $300,000 according to Smith – a cost that is now being invested into future developments and initiatives for the local community.
As with any new technology, it required a change in the way work was done, but with training and open communication guided by both Data#3 and Dell Technologies teams, staff quickly embraced the change.
“The feedback from staff since the implementation has been overwhelmingly positive,” says Smith, with mobility and accessibility being the key benefits identified.
Giving back to the community
The City of Kwinana invested these savings into other IT initiatives. A renewed focus on innovation in the community has led to new developments, such as a stronger, interconnected wi-fi network.
Since beginning this project, it installed a range of Dell tablets and computers in its public library, including the Dell Latitude 5285 and 5290 2-in-1 tablets and Dell Latitude Rugged tablets alongside Dell Optiplex 7050 SFF desktops, Precision 7520 mobile workstations and the Precision 5820 fixed tower workstations.
The city has integrated its Dell N-Series network across its training facilities and the fire brigades. This has enabled a public network of multi-use Dell computers available to all local community members.
Through this technology transformation, the City of Kwinana has fostered ongoing and long-term community growth that will continue long into the future. “This change means we can now invest in a range of tech-driven projects,” says Smith. “The time we saved is being invested right back into the community.”