Keytree Managed Service underpins the transformation of GLA’s grant application process

The Greater London Authority (GLA) wanted to digitise the grant application process for organisations developing and building new homes in London. The project formed part of the Homes for Londoners: Affordable Homes Programme aimed at building more than 90,000 affordable homes by 2021. A key requirement of the project was the introduction of agile working into the GLA ecosystem. Keytree are renowned specialists in agile working and applied the methodology to deliver to the GLA the Open Project System (OPS), a more simplified and efficient way for recognised GLA providers to apply for funds. The project followed user centred design methodologies – a process that kicked off with workshops to drive an understanding of user requirements and match these against business objectives.

Throughout the life cycle of the project, stringently adhering to agile delivery methods, the OPS was released on a phased basis so it was equally important that OPS had the correct level of support from start to finish, but also on an ongoing basis. The Keytree Managed Service team provided the seamless transition of changes from the project into BAU to ensure that the OPS can be operated and supported according to the design with no or very limited risk.

The integration of new initiatives continues with the addition of the Education & Skills Directorate on the OPS in June 2019. This has once again proven the valuable contribution of the Managed Services team to guarantee a faultless transition from project to BAU. The Education & Skills Directorate allows education providers to quickly access and easily submit funding applications through the OPS.

“From the onset, Keytree Managed Service took the time to really understand our needs and the basis behind our work. They put sound processes in place which gave us the peace of mind of knowing our service requests would be actioned within agreed timescales and to a high standard. As a direct result, we were able to reduce the number of required deployments by half.”

Marvin Mileham – GLA-OPS Senior Manager, Technology Group at Greater London Authority

A Managed Service for the Open Project System & Amazon Web Services

The Keytree Managed Services team support the web-based grant and project management system and also Amazon Web Services Cloud Hosting. The service includes:

  • Knowledge Management – processes are defined and updated to enhance learning and best practice.
  • Release Management – scheduled monthly releases to support the agile approach for new functionality and implement defect fixes.
  • Incident Management – comprehensive management and resolution of incidents and defects identified in the pre-production and production environments.
  • Service Testing & Verification Management – automated and manual testing, ensuring all changes deployed in pre-production and production are fit for use and fit for purpose, with minimum risk.
  • Change Management – including appropriate approval and impact assessment checks.
  • Service Requests – mainly repeatable tasks that have been well-defined and are virtually risk-free.
  • Event Management – alerts and notifications to provide a health check of the infrastructure and application.
  • Service Desk Function – engineers maintain and manage incident tracking and service requests.
  • Security & Compliance Management – collaboration with a third-party provider to ensure that appropriate audits and vulnerability testing is undertaken.
  • Reporting – monthly reporting on all defects, changes and service requests raised each month plus details on resource utilisation, highlights, areas for improvement and upcoming events.

“Keytree Managed Service proactively arranged opportunities for the team to learn from the implementation developers, arranging shadowing opportunities when needed. This meant systems knowledge was shared across the services and our requests were picked up faster. Keytree Managed Service is proactive and committed to agile ways of working, which means that they are constantly reviewing processes to make them even better.”

Marvin Mileham – GLA-OPS Senior Manager, Technology Group at Greater London Authority

Benefits of a Keytree Managed Service

The effective cross-team approach between the project and the Managed Service team also ensures that the development of new functionality is implemented on a regular and scheduled basis without service disruption. The streamlined and semi-automated deployment process has reduced the number of required deployments by half and the system outage time has improved significantly. The introduction of new processes and the improvement of existing processes have eliminated weak points and inefficiencies in business operations. Keytree Managed Service also created a continuous improvement register – maintained to capture opportunities to improve service, product and processes.