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Forestry England

Spearheading a full digital transformation for Forestry England sites across the UK 

About Forestry England

For more than 100 years, Forestry England has been responsible for the protection, management, and cultivation of more than 1,500 forests across England, Wales, and Scotland. The organisation has deployed more than 1,800 miles of trails, allowing people all over the country to enjoy our nation’s natural beauty for years to come, while conserving the homes of thousands of plants and animals.

The Challenge

As part of a full reorganisation of the original Forestry Commission’s various sites and departments in 2017, a ‘lift and shift’ operation was initiated for the existing head office in Edinburgh, relocating the majority of the newly-formed Forestry England’s functions to their Bristol office. From an IT perspective, the most pressing challenge was migrating a complex legacy infrastructure, largely based on Windows 7 and Oracle applications, all managed in house.

Forestry England therefore seized the opportunity to begin a full-scale digital transformation, moving much of their IT infrastructure to the Cloud in order to unlock a new level of flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness. Critically, Forestry England wanted their own service desk teams to remain the first point of contact for any queries, with the option of escalating to their technology partner when necessary, allowing them to maintain the expected level of control and visibility.

Following a rigorous procurement process through G Cloud – focusing on the network, applications, and virtual desktop – the decision was made to engage Vysiion as their digital transformation partner.

The Solution

The project began with a full analysis of the existing infrastructure, which encompassed around 80 sites, some of which were equipped with onsite legacy servers. This would provide a clear picture of which transformation projects could be achieved by the designated go-live date, and which would be scheduled for future phases. Working closely together, teams from Vysiion and Forestry England utilised this to create a comprehensive four-year transformation strategy, beginning with the migration of existing workloads into an Azure Virtual Data Centre and a new on-premise data centre.

With this plan in place, Vysiion designed and delivered a Cloud User Services solution, utilising Microsoft’s Azure, InTune, and Office 365 technologies to deliver server, desktop, and mobile services for staff across more than 70 Forestry England sites.

In line with Forestry England’s requirements, a Managed Service Desk solution allowed them to maintain a single point of contact, with their own support team acting as 1st line support, supplemented with the ability to automatically escalate calls to Vysiion’s 24 / 7, UK-based service desk for 2nd and 3rd line support, whenever necessary.

Throughout the entire deployment process, comprehensive documentation was created by Vysiion’s teams, ensuring Forestry England teams could begin making full use of the new tools’ capabilities at the earliest opportunity, as well as engaging directly with existing teams in Edinburgh to ensure a smooth transition, and providing hands-on support throughout the first six months after the launch day. As Forestry England’s own IT team evolved, this ongoing support from Vysiion dramatically increased their internal capabilities, allowing them to bring further services in house, optimising cost control and flexibility.

Since then, the partnership has continued to evolve, with Forestry England establishing resilient services within the renowned Ark Data Centre, and continuing to develop their in-house capabilities with the support of their Vysiion account team, who have provided hands-on support in the backend, enabling internal IT teams to focus on customer-facing activities.

Solution Benefits

  • Hands-on support in the creation and execution of a long-term digital transformation strategy
  • Successful migration of legacy infrastructure in favour of a leading-edge Cloud solution
  • Ongoing support, consultation, and collaboration between teams, driving innovations beyond the initial project plan
  • A fully managed virtual desktop solution for sites across England and Scotland, enabling more effective cross-site collaboration
“Vysiion’s helped us get to the point where we’re confident we’ve got a strong infrastructure with a good security wrap around it, and our teams are becoming more self-sufficient. They’ve always been more than happy to go beyond the initial terms of service whenever necessary, and I always know I can pick up the phone to anyone from our account team to get advice or support.”
Andy Goodsir

Head of IT, Forestry England

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