The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), formerly known as the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), is an executive agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). As a government department, APHA’s main responsibilities include identifying and controlling endemic diseases, conducting scientific research to prevent diseases and protecting wildlife through licensing and registration. The priorities are to protect the health and welfare of animals, as well as the general public from disease. APHA have been working with Strategic Blue for over eight years, and have been using Strategic Blue’s cloud procurement through G-Cloud, making the most of Strategic Blue’s expertise in public sector cloud procurement.

Strategic Blue have reduced our AWS costs while providing us with invaluable technical advice.

Dr Oliver Tearne, Scientific Computing Lead, APHA

APHA are a long-standing customer

APHA are using our cloud procurement through G-Cloud 12

We allow APHA to pay for cloud in the way they want

Challenge

As a government body, APHA have to overcome a number of hurdles when it comes to the procurement of cloud resources.

There are some key hurdles for APHA, they must procure cloud resources through the G Cloud framework, have fixed budgets denominated in GBP, are required to use Purchase Orders for fixed amounts, and are precluded from paying by credit card.

As such, APHA reached out to Strategic Blue to overcome these common public sector challenges. Without forming a relationship with Strategic Blue, APHA would have been unable to efficiently use cloud resources, if at all.

Results

The outcome is that for the last seven  years APHA has remained Strategic Blue’s most loyal customer. APHA have managed to tackle the hurdles that were most prominent. This has given them the ability to procure cloud and to forecast this with complete accuracy.  In recent months the relationship has developed further, with increased in person meetings to understand business needs, improvements to the Strategic Blue Cloud Usage Monitor and APHA widening the Strategic Blue assistance on business cases that relate to their wider relationship with DEFRA.  Strategic Blue and APHA have streamlined and continued to improve this relationship, which is demonstrative that Strategic Blue is an expert when it comes to public sector cloud procurement. 

Solution

Strategic Blue laid out an appropriate proposal that enabled APHA to overcome the pain points in public sector cloud procurement. The initial step to take was for Strategic Blue and APHA to sign a call-off contract through the G-Cloud framework, enabling APHA to procure cloud resources through Strategic Blue.  As with all public sector bodies, APHA has to have the ability to accurately predict spend to the penny. This is not something that is possible directly with the cloud vendors, with the pricing model based on variable usage. Rather, Strategic Blue opened the door for APHA to raise Purchase Orders for fixed amounts – enabling predictable costs and the ability to seamlessly track these costs.  In the public sector, it is equally important for government departments like APHA to be able to track the costs closely. There is no room for leeway regarding overspend. APHA required a way to closely monitor the usage and relevant costs, something that Strategic Blue were able to deliver through a Cloud Usage Monitor. With monthly meetings where APHA and Strategic Blue update the Cloud Usage Monitor, delve into the costs incurred and money left to spend – it has allowed APHA to have water-tight tracking of their cloud costs.  For APHA the help orientates the ability to procure cloud and the ability to predict and monitor this correctly. This was delivered through raising PO’s and Strategic Blue providing APHA with the relevant credits, these credits could then be monitored to avoid any overspend.

 

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