Case Study — Ministry of Defence

Linkspace cuts costs for MOD IT project by over 90%. A victory for the Ministry of Defence delivered through G-Cloud

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The Ministry of Defence (MoD) needed a more efficient and stable way of sharing and updating information on global defence engagements, and tracking financial data associated with these activities.

The Problem

Details and finances of the MOD’s global defence engagements were kept in several spreadsheets. They needed to make the data more accessible to 600 users around the world, making it easier for them to view, update and manipulate the 10,000 and growing data records. Any solution would also need to meet their stringent access controls and security standards.

The Solution

The MOD project team were originally considering a traditional procurement process and drafted a 100+ page user requirement document as a starting point. They planned on using the waterfall development model, and their aim was to develop and implement the new system over two years.

The G-cloud solution

After the user requirements document had been drafted, the project team was advised to look at G-Cloud for a faster and more efficient cloud-based solution. They looked at G-Cloud and:

  • Evaluated several services that could potentially solve the requirements
  • Selected Linkspace as a product that could be configured by the end user to meet all the requirements
  • Confirmed suitability of the product through a rigorous one-month free trial

The Implementation

Because Linkspace was a generic service, it could be implemented rapidly. The initial service was up and running within weeks, with the existing data onboarded at zero cost. The new system was rolled out incrementally, one spreadsheet and department at a time. The advantage of this was that the project team could continually adapt the system based on user feedback.

The Final Results

When Linkspace was configured it solved all the problems identified by the project team, enabling simultaneous editing, fine control of access, and the facility for all users to view and visualise their data from anywhere in the world

Overall, procuring Linkspace through G-Cloud resulted in a system that:
  • Was implemented four times faster than anticipated
  • Reduced the original estimated procurement costs by 90%
  • Can be changed and reconfigured at zero cost in the future

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Case Study — National Offender Management Service ("NOMS")

Linkspace as an off-the-shelf solution to a bespoke headache in the NOMS.

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Unique business processes with high security requirements are a common feature of the public sector. Expensive bespoke developments are not the solution, there is another way, with Linkspace.

The Problem

NOMS used a computerised registry system to track legacy internal paper records. The registry managed over 2 million records but its entire operation involved no more than 10 users. Originally deployed 13 years previously the system was a standalone client-server architecture based on NT 4.0 which had been out of maintenance and support for some years. The need for replacement was critical. Several attempts to specify and develop a replacement system had collapsed, all on the grounds of prohibitive expense for a bespoke development for a small department.

The G-cloud solution

Procurement considered G-Cloud as a potential source for the solution with the recognised characteristic of affordability of per-user pricing. Linkspace was a clear winner based on affordability, security and the speed (and associated low-cost) of the brief assignment for configuration, testing, data migration and training.

The Implementation

From discovery to deploying the full operational system, with data securely migrated (in full conformity with the Ministry’s exacting security protocols) took 15 days.

The Final Results

Part of the reason that the NOMS was able to deploy Linkspace so quickly was because of its very robust security model. Ctrl O is an ISO27001-certified company, and the software itself is independently reviewed and penetration tested. At a software level, it’s extremely configurable, with complete control over which users can view and edit which areas of data. This precisely met the client’s needs for which they had previously anticipated a bespoke development would be required. The result was a system for a fraction of the previously quoted costs. It also satisfied all the key Government criteria for digital systems: shareability, transferability, ease of support, contractual flexibility and open standards.

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Case Study — Ministry of Justice

Business Process Management by spreadsheet is not fit for purpose. MOJ finds a solution in the Cloud that’s affordable, flexible and secure: Linkspace.

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Failure of spreadsheet-based Business Process Management (BPM) is ‘inevitable’. Total corruption or loss of data is relatively fortunate – the worst situation is data that is credible, but sufficiently wrong to support the wrong decisions and choices.

The Problem

Public sector is typified by unique business processes with high security requirements. Bespoke development used to be the answer, costly, time consuming and inflexible. Kludging is defined as “a solution that is clumsy, inelegant, inefficient, difficult to extend and hard to maintain” or there is a spreadsheet solution. Spreadsheets are cheap and powerful in many ways, but they are dangerous places to store critical information.

The MOJ was using spreadsheets to store sensitive data used, input and edited by numerous staff across disparate and geographically dispersed business units. Assessment correctly identified the risk of corruption of data as ‘inevitable’. They needed a solution that would allow the information to be stored in a central location, and updated and viewed by all the users concurrently. A cloud-based solution was deemed necessary, as users’ computer networks differed, and security was absolutely critical. They considered developing a bespoke product, but quickly discounted this due to the potential cost and time that it would take to implement.

The G-cloud solution

Instead, the MOJ evaluated several G-cloud products. Linkspace was selected due to the speed at which it could be deployed to meet the exact requirements. In fact, during the evaluation, Linkspace was able to give the MOJ a demonstration using a working system that met their requirements, rather than demonstrating using a mock-up screen or comparative system. Its ease of deployment and configuration meant that we could create the demonstration with little effort.

The Implementation

The final system consists of a hundred users with a few thousand records. It was deployed, with all the data migrated and users trained within 4 weeks, on time and to budget.

The Final Results

Once again the solution was a fraction of the anticipated cost and deployment a fraction of the anticipated timescales. The success is leading the business users to recognise the ease with which they can modify and adapt the system to deliver enhanced efficiency and additional functionality. A massive, complex spreadsheet is insufficiently understood by users distanced from its creation – and so new, mini-spreadsheets are bolted-on to provide new functionality – an exponential growth of complexity and risk and ad-hoc, little synchronisation processes that no one fully understands.

The other evidence of success lies in the 3 Proof-of-Concepts running at the time of writing to take Linkspace and ‘retire’ 3 other high-risk data management models. These will increase the user count at MOJ into the thousands, achieving volume discounts that make affordability a forgone conclusion.

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