21st Century Council Office

Do you have IT problems?
Does the IT not meet your needs?
Do you need an IT strategy?

If the answer is yes to any of these 3 questions, then this article will hopefully guide you.

Cloud or Traditional onsite IT?
Reliable, superfast broadband is revolutionising the information and communications technology (ICT) used by Local Councils.

It is enabling phone, fax, email and software to be provided via internet services, and documents and files to be stored and shared in the Cloud rather than on a computer in the office or on laptops.
This is allowing Clerks and their staff to work anywhere; in the office, from home and on the move using a mixture of internet enabled devices according to their personal preference. Typically, this includes smart phones, tablets, laptops and desktops. As a consequence, officers may be using a mixture of Windows, Apple and Android devices so an IT support contract is advisable.

Improved Security & Access
When a Council’s ICT is provided through managed services via the internet, then security, data backup and disaster recovery will be improved. This is because there
is no reliance on local computers for software or data, and the data backups are done
for you as part of the managed service. Furthermore, you can use almost any internet enabled device to access your phone, email, fax, software and documents. You can do this from anywhere and at any time.

So, in 2016 what should your ICT check list include?

  • Digital display screens for today’s bookings and events
  • Duplex photocopier that is a network printer & scans to email
  • Microsoft Windows 10
  • Anti-virus & security software

If you do not have superfast broadband then contact EDGE who are experts in procuring this.

IT Support Contract
These days everybody knows something about IT but this knowledge should supplement and not substitute the advice and expertise available from IT professionals.

Without an appropriate IT support contract the Council is vulnerable and runs the risk of making incorrect purchases, and occasionally being unable to operate and consequently failing to meet its commitments on time.
The correct IT support contract is the glue that pulls together all of the various IT components to create an integrated, working solution.

The 2 main types of IT support are:

  • Break fix – ad hoc support, pay as you go or pre-paid for quicker response and price.
  • Managed – proactive support, service level agreement, automated monitoring of internet & computers and automated updating of computers.

VOIP Phone Handsets
Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) enables you to make and receive calls using a VOIP phone handset, computer headset or mobile phone app in conjunction with either a broadband, 3G or 4G internet connection.
In 2015 British Telecom’s announced its aim to move all customers to VOIP by 2025 because they are phasing out ordinary, analogue phone lines (PSTN) and digital ISDN lines.

To move to VOIP you terminate your phone and ISDN lines, and replace your ordinary phones or phone system with VOIP handsets that use your broadband and retain your current phone numbers.

Also, the fax line can be terminated and replaced with a fax to email service that uses the same fax number.
With correct planning, these measures will save money.

Software as a Service
The following examples of software as service provide, via the internet, all of the software and document storage that a Local Councils needs:

  • AdvantEDGE for Local Councils
  • Epitaph for burials
  • Sage Payroll
  • Office 365 Business Premium
  • Mapping from Pear Technology
  • EDGE Data Backup Service

Further Assistance
EDGE have been supplying and supporting IT solutions to Local Councils for 25 years. So, if you are interested in any aspect of this article or you have any other IT requirements, please do not hesitate to contact us.
For further details about EDGE please see the A4 leaflet in this edition.