Gary Haldane ,Head of Digital, Kingdom Housing Association

KINGDOM Housing Association has become the first organisation in Scotland to adopt Awingu, the browser-based workspace that enables highly secure access to company files and legacy applications.

Based in Fife and working across East Central Scotland, Kingdom Housing Association is a Registered Social Landlord with charitable status and provides housing to meet a wide range of needs. Kingdom has developed over 4,000 affordable homes, the majority for social rent, and also provides mid-market rental properties, affordable housing for sale and factoring services.

For 20 years Kingdom Housing Association operated its I.T. platform with Citrix, Microsoft Office, Exchange and thin clients as the main backbone. In 2017 Kingdom decided to shift gears and adopt a ‘Cloud-First, Mobile-First’ strategy. Gary Haldane, Kingdoms Head of Digital said: “The goal was to introduce a simple to manage, more flexible, more user-friendly, more cost-effective and customer-focused digital workplace.”

Kingdom chose to adopt Google’s G-Suite in favour of Microsoft Office & Exchange. They moved from dedicated infrastructure to Google Compute Platform (GCP), SaaS solutions and provide all employees access data via secure, quick and inexpensive ChromeBoxes, Chromebook devices or mobile phones. However, one piece of the puzzle was missing; an easy way to give secure remote access to its legacy platforms such as Orchard Housing Management software and financial systems, including Open Accounts and Brixx. Awingu proved to be the perfect solution. Awingu makes legacy applications and desktops smoothly available via HTML5, and in a browser. Awingu enabled Kingdom to take the next step in its digital transformation journey.

Awingu was the better fit

Despite being an avid user of Citrix, Kingdom was unable to find in that platform – the perfect solution for its transformation journey that was simple and affordable.

“Awingu allows us to simplify things greatly. We have a small Digital team, with less components to manage, we can concentrate on adding value in other core business areas. With local agents and many elements in the back-end, Citrix added too much complexity.” says Gary Haldane.

Kingdom Housing Association values the simplicity of the Awingu architecture – only one Virtual appliance in front of a classic RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) back-end. End-users can access their applications from their Chrome Browsers.

Awingu provided not only a simplification but also a steep reduction in operating costs: the Citrix environment was deployed on 18 VMWare virtual machines which has been downsized to 5. The savings based in comparison to Citrix are substantial in infrastructure and support effort. The vast difference between Awingu and Citrix license cost only made transformation case easier. VMWare is also not required.

Google & Awingu running hand in hand

Kingdom Housing Association identified Google’s Platform as a Service (PaaS) as the best fit for their purpose, and Awingu tied in nicely. Awingu was easily deployed on Google Computer Platform (GCP).

“The performance of this combination is outstanding, and, our employees couldn’t believe the speed and responsiveness” Gary Haldane adds. “Employees can use the Google Identity credentials to access their G-Suite as well as Awingu in a secure way. Both in the office and remotely. It’s just very straightforward.”