Places for People has reported that it has saved £730,000 in capital costs and £100,000 in annual operational costs following its introduction of Citrix thin-client infrastructure from Open Reality and its partner Bright Cloud.
Places for People’s move from desktop PCs to thin clients was prompted by a doubling of its workforce to 3,000 staff following organic growth and acquisitions, as well as the need to replace its ageing IT estate. The final catalyst for the change was the housing provider’s decision to reduce the number of its main offices from 35 to 21.
Jon Thomson, head of IM&T, Places for People, said, “It was imperative that we had an IT system that would support our mobile workforce. With over a quarter of a million tenants and nearly 143,000 properties to support around the country, our staff don’t have the time, nor, with the advent of virtual desktops, should they have the need to travel to use technology.
“We worked with Open Reality and its virtual solutions arm, Brightcloud, to work out the best virtual environment for us and it was, and has since proven to be, a solution based on Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp. As a result, we have seen customer satisfaction levels increase significantly, while our operational costs have been reduced, in total saving us over £731,000.”
IT mobility now means that employees of Places for People can record and access data in real-time wherever they are, with the Citrix environment giving them access to all core applications, including the Microsoft Office suite, Masterpiece for financial management and Northgate for housing management.
Citrix XenApp enables Places for People’s IT team to provision extra virtual desktops and virtual applications for its end-users quickly, flexibly and securely across the organisation’s 200 sites. In addition, Citrix Receiver enables employees to realise the benefits of BYOD.
The new environment comprises 3,000 seats, with 1,200 PCs replaced by 1,200 thin clients, with 70 per cent of staff accessing a virtual desktop. This natural migration resulted in an initial capital saving of around £550,000 and will deliver ongoing annual savings in future. The annual reduction in power and cooling costs will be over £120,000 and annual IT support costs have been cut by nearly £55,000 per year to just below £6,000.
Thomson said, “The initial Citrix XenDesktop pilot delivered a clear business case for us to implement a completely virtual desktop strategy. The feedback from the field also made it clear that technology was now aiding, and not hindering, their day-to-day functionality. In the two years since introducing the initial virtual IT infrastructure, customer satisfaction levels have never been higher.”