Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Forges Ahead with Innovative IT Project Delivery

The Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht is forging ahead with innovative IT project delivery, thanks to iManage, MJ Flood Technology’s suite of managed IT services. By outsourcing routine day-to-day IT management and support, it can re-direct its own skilled resources to work of a more strategic nature.

Like any government department, IT is a core service that keeps the wheels of administration turning, efficiently and effectively.  As the role of the Department of Heritage, Arts and the Gaeltacht (DAHG) is primarily a policy-driven one, information sharing and communications is critical.  In that regard, the department went out to tender for a flexible IT support contract and awarded it to MJ Flood Technology.
“Without any fear of contradiction, we have been particularly pleased with [MJ Flood Technology] staff and the manner in which our contract has been dealt with since day one,” comments John McElligott, head of ICT with DAHG.  “The managed network element of the contract happens seamlessly and quietly in the background.  We don’t have a big drama and that’s exactly what we want,” he says.

Planning for Changed Circumstances

The Department had been subject to periodic and significant major re-organisation in the past, as happened again last year with the Tourism and Sports divisions moving out and the Heritage and Gaeltacht divisions moving in. Dealing with this reality requires a high degree of flexibility as McElligott, explains:

“Traditionally, dealing with a transition of function such as Heritage would have entailed a transfer of technical staff and associated infrastructure between Departments. But we took a conscious decision not to do that in order to minimise disruption. Instead we re-configured existing services and re-routed email communications systems. We needed to minimise unnecessary expenditure and to use technology in a sensible way to deal with the reality that we found ourselves in.”

We have been able to achieve timely solutions to the problems resulting from the restructuring over the past year in a way that we wouldn’t have been able to do, if we didn’t have that contract and relationship with a number of key people in MJ Flood Technology,” he says.

 “Thanks to iManage, we can now devote resources to system development work and deliver a proactive service to users rather than a solely reactive one.”

John McElligott, head of ICT with the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

A Flexible Support Framework

The Department issued a broad request for tender, the scope of which also included major project work. “We could not envision the exact nature of the changes that the Department may need to react to,” explains McElligott. “But we were certainly seeking to strengthen our ability to effectively respond in a timely fashion.”

“We proposed a support solution that would provide maximum flexibility to the department,” according to Gareth Madden, sales director with MJ Flood Technology.  “We understood that they couldn’t be definitive about specific projects and their timelines but we proposed an economically advantageous model together with iManage – our managed service framework, which serves as a good fit for their needs.”

Essentially, there are four key elements to the contract:

  1. Break/fix
    A standard contract with helpdesk services and a 4 hour response time for engineer to site.
  2. Level 2 and Level 3 software support
    Support services to tackle issues associated with upgrades and re-structuring. For example, Active Directory support, roaming profiles and legacy issues associated with Domino.
  3. Projects
    Ad hoc projects as they arise such as Exchange email integration and Active Directory configuration.
  4. Network Monitoring
    Pro-active monitoring and management of all network attached devices such as PCs, servers, SAN, routers, switches and printers.

MJ Flood Technology staff are currently assisting the department with the rollout of a Microsoft Lync project.  This aims to bring desktop web conferencing to all users in the department and beyond.  Internal communications are the driver for the project, facilitating desktop and document sharing between widely dispersed management teams.  For example, the Department has to communicate with its component functions across a number of diverse networks and locations, including those managed by other Government Departments.

In relation to the day-to-day monitoring and management of the IT infrastructure, McElligott finds the monthly reports valuable in terms of forward planning.  “As head of IT, it’s a reassurance that I’m not solely dependent on our own people where resources are stretched,” says McElligott.  “I get the reports myself and can highlight the issues with my own team.  It’s pre-emptive and is very valuable from our point of view.”

DAHG have signed a two-year deal with MJ Flood Technology under the iManage framework, with an option to extend for a third.

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