For over 15 years TotalMobile has been providing highly specialised mobile services to local government and the NHS in the UK. As smartphones became more ubiquitous and sophisticated, so too did TotalMobile’s applications. Nurses, for example, take case notes on patient visits, accessing photographs for a visual record of how well a wound has healed since the last call.

A pioneer in what would become SaaS (Software-as-a-Service ) solutions, with over 6,000 public sector employees now using its applications, the firm needed a data centre that could meet its demanding requirements.  

You need a technically robust and stable environment to get the best out of our solutions, especially if you have hundreds of operatives waiting with mobile devices to get their data,” explained Malcolm Thompson, Chief Operating Officer at TotalMobile. “We knew our customer’s IT teams weren’t experienced enough to get the full benefits of our solutions so we were looking for a hosting partner.”

The technology was not the only challenge. TotalMobile has a customer base that is particularly demanding. The public sector only enter into contracts with service providers that can demonstrate financial solidity and provide the highest levels of security around data, companies that are going to be around for the length of a five-year contract and beyond.

Because BT data centre services tick all the boxes around ISO security, guaranteed 99.99 per cent uptime, and provide the comfort factor of being a respected global brand – many UK public sector bodies are already customers – Malcolm Thompson’s search for a preferred hosting partner was soon over.

“The public sector are not risk takers and was never going to go with the big new cloud providers at this stage," he said. "A site visit was key along with references, talking to organisations who were taking similar services. With BT we were able to give them all the assurances they needed."

Central to the deal was BT's guarantee that it would help TotalMobile customers exit from their arrangement, ensuring data would be retained for a period beyond the contract and facilitating the migration of data back to the client or to another provider. "If there has to be an exit, we are obliged to maintain services over agreed periods of time while they migrate providers. We will accommodate every type of migration they might need," said Mark Fagan, Head of BT Data Centre Services. 




Headquartered in Belfast with 150 employees, TotalMobile would keep its SaaS platform on the island of Ireland, running it out of BT’s Citywest data centre in Dublin where it's layered onto a secure Infrastructure-as-a-Service environment.  

While TotalMobile retains control over its applications, BT looks after all the hardware, network, firewalls, security patching, power and maintenance.  It’s a combination of dedicated infrastructure, for compute power and storage, and shared infrastructure for load balancing, firewalls and switches. This minimises the cost without compromising security and performance. A second BT site in the Dublin area provides backup for disaster recovery. 

TotalMobile also takes network services from BT, facilitating customer access over MPLS VPNs (Virtual Private Networks), with broadband as a backup to ensure continuity of service at all times.

BT is our one-stop provider and takes responsibility for an end-to-end solution. We don’t want a blame game between different hosting and network providers if something goes wrong. BT is our one-stop provider and takes responsibility for an end-to-end solution,” Thompson said.



Reduced costs and more agility have been the key benefits of working with BT. Both are the result of BT's virtualised infrastructure. Traditionally, TotalMobile would have had to invest in a new server for each new client or service. Now, with the ability to spin out virtual machines quickly and cheaply, pilots and test environments can be up and running with minimal outlay. 

On an ongoing basis virtual machines are brought on and offline as TotalMobile tests new software iterations before putting them into full production. "BT has given us the flexibility of the cloud and it’s been very successful for us," said Thompson. "We also run multiple operating systems on the same platform, which is important because our customers won't always be on the same version."



The real value of the model comes from the strength of the relationship. BT’s technical team gelled quickly with their counterparts in TotalMobile, establishing a partnership that is now in its fifteenth year. 

They speak the same language – the BT engineering team has lots of experience in managing and supporting Microsoft, Citrix and Oracle, the principal technologies behind TotalMobile’s SaaS platform. “Very quickly we had the feeling we could would work together and deliver what was required," said Thompson.

Mark Fagan sums up the special relationship:

We have a track record in providing robust infrastructure services to software providers like TotalMobile. It comes down to one service provider working with another, where we both grow and change together as needed."



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