Public Services

2e2 collapse prompts data centre customers to consider future business continuity plans

David Bicknell Published 14 February 2013

Users Atomic Weapons Establishment and Sussex Partnership NHS trust explain contingency actions


As the dust settles following the sudden financial collapse of system integrator 2e2, some of its customers have been recounting their experiences and detailing how they went about maintaining business continuity.

The Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston in Berkshire said 2e2's data centre was contracted to AWE to provide a small scale web site hosting service.

Since the announcement that 2e2 had fallen into administration, AWE said it has been proactively working with the administrators to identify viable options to continue this service.

"Whilst there was a proposal for AWE to provide additional funding, continuation of service could only be guaranteed for a short period of time and, as a publicly funded, government owned contractor operated organisation, AWE must take a prudent approach to any additional expenditure outside of original contract terms," an AWE statement said.

"As part of AWE's business continuity arrangements, it has contingency plans in place in the event that there is a risk to service and, in light of the current position with 2e2, AWE has taken the decision to implement these plans. There has been no disruption to our service."

Some users of outsourced services are now likely to be re-evaluating their support plans following the suddenness of 2e2's collapse.

Karl Goatley, IT director at NHS Trust the Sussex Partnership, said 2e2's problems 'took a lot of people by surprise.'

The Sussex Partnership only agreed a £37m IT refresh and unified communications deal with 2e2 last April. The agreement was due to run until 2019 and would have seen the refreshment of the trust's desktop PCs, laptops, mobile services and printers.

Fortunately for the Partnership, said Goatley, it was only part of the way through its transition to 2e2 and was able to adopt local contingency plans. Goatley said the 2e2 collapse had led him to consider the implications for the Trust's future technology plans, which include going out to tender for a clinical information system later this year.

To cover the cost of keeping 2e2's data centres running, the 2e2 joint administrators asked the company's 20 biggest customers to pay £40,000 each. Some, like Sussex, paid the money. Others, like AWE, refused.

Another affected customer, the NHS North Central London cluster of primacy care trusts, also chose not to pay the £4k fee demanded and after terminating the 2e2 contract, reviewed its options and met with affected 2e2 staff. Temporary contracts were offered to the ex-2e2 staff needed to ensure continuity of IT services across North Central London as well as providing interim employment for some of the affected staff. In under 24 hours, the North Central London in-house solution, including an operational internal help desk, was up and running.



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