BOSTON — RED HAT SUMMIT--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Red Hat, Inc., the world's leading provider of open source solutions, has collaborated with the UK’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to accelerate its benefits claims processes with an open hybrid cloud strategy, providing critical financial assistance for its 22 million claimants. Working with Red Hat to deploy Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and Red Hat OpenShift, the DWP has reduced deployment times for new services from around nine to 10 hours to just 15 minutes - a reduction of up to 97.5%.
The DWP is the UK’s largest government department, with more than 93,500 employees. It provides services such as state pensions and a range of worker, disability, and illness benefits. One in three UK citizens regularly claims from the department - and this number rose by three million more in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, after a record surge in unemployment.
Pandemic-accelerated digital transformation
DWP Digital, the organisation’s 5,000-person strong technology department, historically operated in siloed teams, with isolated processes across its hybrid environment including its multi-cloud environment, spanning Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure. This led to complex and redundant procedures for claimants, with applicants often required to provide the same personal information on multiple forms to apply for different benefits. Some services, such as identity verifications, still required paper-based applications which required citizens to visit local offices or send required information via post.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the DWP identified a need to streamline, digitise, and automate processes. DWP Digital suddenly faced a tremendous surge in demand and a requirement to provide services remotely.
DWP Digital enlisted Red Hat to help them adopt a distributed IT infrastructure approach, which would provide broader access to data and application programming interfaces (APIs) across its business and technology teams. The team deployed Ansible Automation Platform along with Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat OpenShift, generating benefits across the board, including faster deployment times, simplified access to services and reduced infrastructure costs.
Broader access to resources, lower IT costs and enhanced knowledge with Red Hat
Ansible Automation Platform helps automate processes at scale using human-readable, reusable playbooks, shared across teams and environments. This allows the DWP to quickly access environments and resources for new projects, and deploy new services faster, with the DWP’s automated API platform now handling more than 500 million calls per month.
Automation also enables the DWP to more quickly react to policy changes. For example, when changes were made to the UK government’s Universal Credit policy to simplify payment claims, DWP Digital built and launched an API for automated identity verification in 2-3 weeks, as opposed to the 5-6 months such a transition would usually take.
In addition, Red Hat’s hybrid cloud infrastructure allows DWP Digital to provide broader - yet protected - access to citizen data across the department’s back-end IT systems. Instead of completing multiple paper-based applications, citizens can provide information just once, digitally, that can be shared across the relevant agencies and services.
The open source roots of the DWP’s new infrastructure enables departmental standardisation of IT systems. With common operating and support models now in place through Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat OpenShift, DWP has significantly lowered costs across the organisation. Additionally, the shift from operating services directly on AWS to running them in containers on Red Hat OpenShift has reduced hosting costs.
As part of the collaboration, DWP Digital engaged Red Hat Consulting for guidance on best practices for optimising its deployment of Red Hat’s technologies, and the team also completed Red Hat Training to build their skills for Ansible, OpenShift and DevSecOps to support the transition. DWP Digital’s success using automation and containerisation has inspired other teams in the Civil Service to explore the benefits of these technologies.
Joanna Hodgson, UK country manager, Red Hat
“The collaboration between DWP and Red Hat has transformed service delivery for the UK’s 22 million work and pension claimants. We’ve gone beyond a traditional vendor and customer relationship, and have created a co-located team to innovate on the DWP’s cloud, container, and automation platforms. Along with improving service delivery at a historic moment, Red Hat is proud to see the DWP establish itself as a leader in digital transformation in the public sector - both within the UK and globally. The results demonstrate the true value of open source technology in reducing costs and promoting efficiency for organisations in the public sector.”
Jacqui Leggetter, head of Integration, DWP Digital
“At the start of the pandemic, three million citizens lost their jobs. We needed to quickly provide benefits to unemployed and low-income citizens to ensure they were paid in time to cover basic necessities, such as housing and food costs. Using Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Ansible Automation Platform, and Red Hat OpenShift, we succeeded in rapidly pivoting from manual processes to automated, API-based workloads. As a result, we’ve automated the application process for benefits such as Universal Credit - all the way to a claimant’s first payment being issued. This has allowed our team to focus on valuable activities such as employment assistance and coaching, and deliver greater value to the general public.”
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About Red Hat, Inc.
Red Hat is the world’s leading provider of enterprise open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to deliver reliable and high-performing Linux, hybrid cloud, container, and Kubernetes technologies. Red Hat helps customers integrate new and existing IT applications, develop cloud-native applications, standardise on our industry-leading operating system, and automate, secure, and manage complex environments. Award-winning support, training, and consulting services make Red Hat a trusted adviser to the Fortune 500. As a strategic partner to cloud providers, system integrators, application vendors, customers, and open source communities, Red Hat can help organisations prepare for the digital future.
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