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Data centres for smarter cities

Saying yes to powerful new data centers: Municipality discovers cascading benefits of partnering with Atea

By choosing Atea to manage its data centers, the IT team at Smedjebacken discovered benefits that keep paying dividends, including to the citizens they serve.

The Swedish Municipality of Smedjebacken was at a crossroads with their aging data center infrastructure. Either they could continue to manage it themselves including the rollout of a much-needed expansion of cloud-based services—at considerable expense and a moderate level of risk—or they could outsource all of it to a trusted partner.
 
With Atea as that IT partner, the choice was a much easier one to make.
 
For Christer Granqvist, Smedjebacken’s IT Manager, saying yes to Atea gave him and his team the opportunity to do more with time and with technology: “We knew how many hours a week went into operating and maintaining our own data center,” he explains. “This was time that we could free up. We also calculated how long it would take for us to build a new data center and we weighed that effort against creating something beneficial for citizens instead.”
 
The benefits of choosing Atea didn’t end there for Smedjebacken. By choosing Atea, the municipality were now able to do so much more with IT.
 
A turbo boost for server performance, an opportunity for a fresh start
When Smedjebacken became connected to Atea’s data center, server performance jumped substantially. It was a measurable, across-the-board improvement in terms of flexibility, capacity, cost and scalability.
 
More than having just gained access to modern, professionally managed server equipment, the switchover was an opportunity for Granqvist’s team to get a fresh start with how they managed their data. “Together with Atea we thoroughly reviewed our data center,” he explains. “We looked at how we had been classifying data, reexamining what information needed to be retained and what information we simply didn't need anymore.”

Important savings while doing more with IT
Thanks to greater efficiencies by partnering with Atea, Smedjebacken was able to reduce the number of data servers from 130 to 78: a monthly savings of some SEK 30,000.
 
Again, extra benefits emerged as work continued to progress. Smedjebacken’s IT staff were able to evolve in their professional roles, having learned much about hybrid clouds and how they could be used efficiently.
 
Enabling remote access
Together, Atea and the IT team at Smedjebacken tackled how to get users in the municipality connected to a number of programs via remote access—some of which were never intended to work that way due to legacy infrastructure. The solution: Microsoft's Remote App, a program for remote access by users.
 
Valuable learning opportunities, greater digitization
Today, Smedjebacken’s servers are run from Atea's data center in Umeå and the company takes responsibility for all of their operations and maintenance. The municipality's business system, which is run by these servers, is still maintained by the municipality's own IT staff. And as Granqvist points out, the transition itself presented learning opportunities: “I have one piece of advice to other municipalities that wish to outsource, and that’s to create a strategy for classifying information and apps to catalog hardware and software before moving to a new server.”
The everyday life has changed for the municipality's six IT technicians. Instead of having to devote time and resources to developing and managing IT platforms, the team now can focus heavily on the ongoing digitization currently underway in Smedjebacken.
 
Among key areas where this influence is being felt: elderly care. There, the expanded use of digitally based safety alarms, locking systems and work orders is resulting in a host of greater efficiencies. As Granqvist points out: “We strive to start using smartphones soon to increase the effectiveness of our home care. We are also developing other digital services for childcare and recreational activities.”
 
The outcome: better services and smarter services that benefit all citizens in this municipality.

Adapted from original post on Atea.se

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