ACAS’s IT team has praised Microsoft’s cloud platform for helping them cope with a surge in demand from the public during the COVID-19 pandemic – one of the busiest times in their history.
The conciliation and arbitration service has seen the number of calls from people with employment concerns double from 3,000 a day before the first UK-wide lockdown in March 2020 to more than 6,000.
ACAS had switched from on-premise data centres to Microsoft Azure in 2019, which proved to be a crucial decision. The organisation was on the frontlines of helping people cope with employment issues as the pandemic swept across the UK, often being one of the first phone numbers that people called.
When pressure on ACAS’s systems was at a level they had never seen before, Azure was able to cope with the demand. It also rolled out Windows 10laptops and Microsoft Teams so staff could collaborate as they worked from home.
Paul Dowse, Head of Projects and Analysis at ACAS, said: “We wouldn’t have made it through COVID-19 like we have if we hadn’t moved to Azure and rolled out Windows 10.
“We’ve seen a huge rise in the number of people needing advice and help. Every time there was a new announcement from the Government, we would update the information on our website and see a wave of calls. We needed robust systems to cope with that demand. Moving to Azure has definitely saved us valuable time in making changes to our environment and money, we have cut costs by around 50% compared to our previous data centre costs. We are now also using Teams to help resolve some employment disputes in place of face-to-face meetings, which has enabled us to maintain our service during the pandemic and is reducing costs for everyone.