The United Kingdom-based defence research company provides technical expertise and innovative solutions in areas such as counterterrorism and nuclear threat reduction for the UK government’s nuclear defence program, so security and real-time collaboration are paramount to the organization’s success.
Securely use apps on all devices
As millions of employees worldwide shifted to remote working nearly overnight in 2020, the company needed to quickly move 6,000 employees to secure, work-from-home environments. The move was even more challenging because many of its employees did not have a corporate device at home.
DXC Technology was instrumental in supporting the company’s development and swift placement of a secure remote work solution deployed natively through a virtual desktop solution. DXC implemented a fully managed solution to virtualise desktops and applications, and also enabled seamless access to core business applications across corporate and personal devices.
The new solution simplifies desktop management, improves security and helps the company manage operating costs.
DXC deployed the new virtual environment, named Ozone Virtual Desktop (OVD), under a rapid planning, implementation, and rigorous test schedule to quickly enable thousands of employees to work from home. OVD runs in the cloud on Microsoft Azure and is compatible with all standard platforms and mobile devices.
DXC’s project team held joint workshops, technical review meetings and daily 15-minute stand-ups that helped to quickly address technical issues as they emerged.
“The Ozone Virtual Desktop has been a game changer for us. It accelerated deployment through a great collaboration with DXC and quickly enabled our colleagues without laptops to work effectively from home and keep in contact with their teams and the wider business.”
CIO and Executive Director of Security
DXC’s account team leaders regularly met with the Microsoft account team, as well as the Microsoft UK Windows Virtual Desktop V-Team, to collaborate on best-practices architecture, design and technical support.
To introduce the new virtual desktop in a matter of weeks, the team took a minimum viable product (MVP) approach for deployment. A business communication plan was developed to raise awareness and generate excitement among employees, and comprehensive step-by-step user guides and FAQs were posted online.
Initially, the biggest challenge was to design a solution that would enable employees without corporate devices to access their work on their personal devices in a secure and reliable way. Because of the sensitivity of the company’s work, the virtual environment had to meet all security requirements and undergo thorough penetration testing. Working with the OVD team, DXC rolled out two‑step authentication to give workers secure access to corporate email and the Microsoft Remote Desktop app for accessing key Microsoft Office 365 apps. Employees received a communications pack on how to set up the new environment themselves.
New solution is a game changer
The overall OVD solution was initially tested by a targeted group of users, and within 6 weeks, a live pilot was initiated with a small group of employees. After moving to a live deployment, the remaining users were quickly enrolled.
As part of the DXC implementation plan, continuous employee feedback was used to inform ongoing deployments.
“The Ozone Virtual Desktop has been a game changer for us,” says the company’s chief information officer and executive director of security. “It accelerated deployment through a great collaboration with DXC and quickly enabled our colleagues without laptops to work effectively from home and keep in contact with their teams and the wider business. This allowed us to stay in production and support our mission [even] with the COVID‑19 restrictions.”
The success of the remote working solution meant that the company did not have to procure, build, issue and maintain new physical devices, resulting in a savings of about $2 million in capital costs.
Well-being a top priority
The company approached the project as more than just an IT solution, making employee well-being a top priority. Its goal was to enable workers to maintain close collaboration with their colleagues and not feel isolated. An internal survey of employees found that 91% of people who could access email on their personal devices felt more connected to their teams. Significantly, 67% of workers who accessed OVD from home said they were more productive while working remotely.
A satisfying employee experience
Incorporating feedback from employees was a primary goal. In the face of an ongoing health crisis, the employees at the company expressed deep satisfaction with the work-from‑home solution. Among the comments were, “You can’t see any difference from actually being onsite …. The OVD service absolutely rocks!”
Moving forward, the company will add more applications to OVD to increase worker productivity as part of a continuous improvement program.