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Kent Shared Services deploys virtual desktops to reduce costs

East Kent Shared Services has deployed a mobile workspace solution based on IT services provider Citrix’s XenApp and NetScaler.

The organisation, which provides services to Canterbury City Council, Dover and Thanet District Councils, is hoping the virtual desktop will reduce operation costs and increased collaboration.

East Kent also includes East Kent Housing and East Kent Partnership, with around 1500 IT users.

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It hopes that costs will be reduced by £2.7m over a four-year period – 42 per cent more than original estimates.

The sharing project began in February 2011, intending to merge IT, customer services and revenues and benefits services with shared databases for the local authorities involved.

The Shared Services claims that it is creating a central unified infrastructure by replacing multiple disparate IT systems in different locations.

The Citrix solution, delivered by specialist Thintech, will allow East Kent employees to use laptops to access all systems with just one log in.

Users are able to access Windows applications via Citrix Receiver – a product that allows connections to virtual desktops anywhere, from any device with a wi-fi connection.

As a result, East Kent has been able to implements hot-desking and it claims the councils have been able to improve disaster recovery planning.

“We knew that Citrix would do what we wanted in a way that wouldn’t require hours of user training,” claimed Timo Bayford, the organisation’s ICT technical systems manager.

“It looks and feels exactly like a familiar desktop and one it was rolled out it would be ‘just there’ and ready to use with no surprises,” he added.