Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) provides information, advice, training, conciliation and other services to employers and employees in order to help prevent and resolve workplace problems. Although best known for helping to prevent high profile strikes, its online guidance, free helpline and training courses all help organisations to get their employment relations right and so avoid disputes.
With over 30 years’ experience of working with people in organisations of every type and size, Acas headquarters are based in London and it has 11 main regional centres across England, Scotland and Wales.
Of the 800 staff it employs, the IT department employs 30, 21 of whom are there to manage the day-to-day smooth running of the IT services.
Acas was initiating a large, involved project to upgrade their Windows XP platform to Windows 7 in order to keep their systems fully supported.
The Head of ICT services at Acas, Archie Gray, was confident that the Acas team could ensure that applications would still work following the migration project. However, the complexity of licensing the new software demanded extra assistance. He commented, “We needed experts on Microsoft Licensing who could come in, look at what we needed and help us make a good decision on what was the best option for us.”
Service: Commercial Benchmarking from Trustmarque
Trustmarque’s Commercial Benchmarking service offered valuable advice and guidance about how best to address his licensing position; the consultative approach enabled Archie to thoroughly understand his choices for the business now and into the future. “We needed to take a step up to a more sophisticated model. And that’s where Trustmarque came in and helped us. They didn’t make the decisions for us, they gave us all the information that was needed and took time to understand us, really getting to know how we worked.”
The operating system upgrade project constituted a significant investment for Acas, so Archie was keen to ensure that any risks were minimised in order to deliver a project that was future-proof, value for money and compliant.
A confident, cost-effective choice
Archie needed to be confident in his choice of licensing model and, more importantly, he needed to believe in it. “Microsoft licensing is a minefield. I was obviously keen to avoid investing a lot of money in the wrong model, costing us more money later,” he explained.
As Acas had a strong track record of working with Trustmarque, the team had the confidence to collaborate with Trustmarque again on its high profile migration project. It took advantage of the Commercial Benchmarking service to ensure that any future investment was made wisely. For Archie it has been a positive move. “Importantly we have peace of mind that we got the best value for money for the licensing model that fits with our organisation’s needs for today and the future.”
Continuing, Archie says, “The project enabled us to safely and securely make the best decision that we could, about how to go to Windows 7 licensing in a way that we could afford now and in the future. It’s about predictable cost, value for money and a certainty that we bought the right thing.”
Swift, competent service delivery
From learning about the Commercial Benchmarking service to Trustmarque kicking off the project, a little less than one month passed: “It was a very short time. Absolutely no more than a month,” confirms Archie.
Easier support operation
With the licensing model in order and the software well on its way to being upgraded, Archie believes his team will benefit when they are delivering support: “When we’re further down the line, as a direct result of the selected licensing model, it’ll be easier to support the services. We’ve built in efficiency to our support and reliability to our service.”
Enablement of future projects
Trustmarque’s Commercial Benchmarking Service gave Acas a comprehensive commercial review for its Windows 7 purchase. The service encompassed the gathering of information about its current software usage in order to provide it with an optimised, long term licensing strategy. Acas also then had access to a truly transparent view of all available procurement options.
Having adopted a new, best-fit licensing model, Archie and his team are empowered to address other new, strategic IT projects. Archie confirms, “This was an enabling project that a lot of other things will follow on from.” For example, adopting new end user devices and choosing different office productivity and collaboration tools. All of which will directly benefit the business.
You [Trustmarque] take the trouble to understand us, so that you can give us the best advice and service possible. We’ve got a good working relationship.-Archie Gray, Head of ICT services at Acas
Acas had an ongoing, trusted and open relationship with Trustmarque. They had enjoyed successful joint projects in the past, including the procurement of SNOW, a software asset management system.
In addition, Archie had learnt that Trustmarque could offer more than just a software solution – they could provide IT services that address and resolve unique business and technology challenges.