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London Borough of Southwark Customer Story

Smarter transforms the workplace.

Southwark Council is a local government organization that serves an area in the south of London, the UK’s capital city. It provides the citizens of Southwark with services including public housing, waste collection, council tax collection, education, libraries, social services, local planning, consumer protection, licensing, cemeteries and crematoria.

Moving with the times
To keep Southwark running smoothly, the local government organization relies on a diverse workforce of 4,500 people. With budgets falling even as citizen expectations rise, the council is always looking for ways to optimize its operations. The organization recognized that it could do more to empower its employees to work to their full potential, and began building a vision of the ideal work environment.

“Like any organization, our greatest asset is our workforce, which means that investing in supporting and managing our employees will also pay off for Southwark’s citizens. That mission led us to develop our ‘fairer future’ workplace strategy, with an emphasis on greater mobility, productivity and collaboration at its core.”
Dionne Lowndes, Head of IT and Digital Services, London Borough of Southwark.

By liberating its employees from fixed desks, Southwark Council also saw an opportunity to increase efficiency and promote collaboration. Making better use of existing space and giving staff the tools to work on the move would enable the organization to streamline its building facilities. At the same time, this approach would allow employees to work together on projects more easily. Southwark Council kicked off a search for the technology to make its plans a reality.

UK local government organization London Borough of Southwark is empowering employees to work productively where and when they choose, with Lenovo ThinkPad X390 laptops running Windows 10 and Office 365 from Microsoft. The move helped the organization transition smoothly to remote working in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, and will deliver long-term benefits for employee morale and operational efficiency.

Why Lenovo? Versatility and ease of use
Southwark Council quickly homed in on Lenovo technology as the ideal foundation for its workplace transformation. Following a proof of concept exercise to try out different models, the organization selected Lenovo ThinkPad X390 laptops.

“We opted for Lenovo technology because of the reliability and attractive price point,” says Darryl Durno, Head of Technology Transformation at Southwark Council. “Many of our staff have worked with Lenovo solutions before and they’ve had good experiences. Lenovo ThinkPad X390 laptops are the best option for us because they’re portable, lightweight and have a great battery life.”

Working with Lenovo Platinum Partner XMA to procure the technology, Southwark Council has rolled out almost 3,000 laptops to employees to date. In parallel, the organization upgraded to Windows 10 and is using Office 365 solutions from Microsoft. It also deployed Absolute Software to protect the new devices, enabling remote locking or wiping of the devices if they are reported stolen or if they go outside of a geofenced area.

When lockdown measures were introduced in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the council’s technology service came under sudden pressure to enable remote working.

“We had just started our rollout when lockdown rules came into force in the UK,” recalls Darryl Durno. “Suddenly, our 12-month timeline with face-to-face training for staff had to be totally revised, because our employees needed their new Lenovo laptops fast. Our team worked through the night to configure the laptops with the latest Microsoft software and we quickly issued 500 devices to essential workers."

“Within a couple of weeks, we’d sent laptops to the homes of a third of the organization, a huge achievement.”

Breaking down barriers
Today, employees at Southwark Council can work effectively whenever, wherever and however it suits them, enabling greater productivity and higher satisfaction. The transformation project helped lessen the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on operations, minimizing the disruption to Southwark’s citizens. “Using Lenovo technology, we’re empowering our employees to work from home or on the move,” says Darryl Durno. “The feedback from our users has been very positive. Login times are now instant rather than the 45-minute waiting period they could face on our oldest workstations in the past!”

He continues: “The COVID-19 pandemic has been a catalyst for change, and we’ve converted even the most skeptical of our employees to support remote working by giving everyone the tools to do it effectively. Over time, we expect that this transformation will enhance the life-work balance for our staff while enabling them to provide higher service quality for citizens.”

The council’s front-line employees, who work across the borough of Southwark, are also benefitting from the new technology. For example, social workers used to handwrite notes during case visits to people at home or in the hospital, and type them up when back in the office. They can now enter all the information directly on their Lenovo ThinkPad devices. When working in the community, employees can log into council systems while travelling or in between appointments, even using Microsoft Teams or Yammer to communicate with colleagues.

Looking to the future
Southwark Council is currently rolling out the Lenovo ThinkVision P27h docking station mounting kits as well as the docking stations, which will enable hot-desking at the organization’s facilities, as they look to different ways of using their facilities post COVID-19.

“With Lenovo docking stations, our employees will be able to walk into any office, plug their ThinkPad into the P27h and work seamlessly,” explains Darryl Durno. “This is another way we plan to drive up utilization of our office space and foster collaboration.”

Long-term, Southwark Council is rewriting its digital and technology strategy to include innovations such as Voice over IP (VoIP) using Microsoft Teams telephony and Microsoft SharePoint. The organization is confident that the Lenovo technology will support its new plans.

Darryl Durno concludes: “Our Lenovo ThinkPad X390 laptops are at the center of our technology strategy, both now and looking ahead. They helped us rise to the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic caused, to put us ahead of schedule in changing our capabilities and culture to better serve Southwark’s citizens.”

“Our Lenovo ThinkPad X390 laptops are at the center of our technology strategy, both now and looking ahead. They helped us rise to the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic caused, to put us ahead of schedule in changing our capabilities and culture to better serve Southwark’s citizens.”
Darryl Durno, Head of Technology Transformation, London Borough of Southwark.
London Borough of Southwark Customer Story


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