Rolling Out 9,000 Microsoft Surface Devices for Kent County Council

James Young, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Cantium Business Solutions, explains how Cantium is supporting Kent County Council in aligning its device deployment and disposal processes with their modern work practices, utilising Microsoft Surface Devices.

“Cantium’s seamless collaboration with our team and proactive approach have garnered overwhelmingly positive feedback. We are confident that these new devices will deliver excellent value for money in the future.” Lisa Gannon, Director of Technology, Kent County Council

Like many other councils in the UK, Kent County Council (KCC) has identified that they have an ageing estate of unreliable laptop devices, which are also out of warranty. To ensure staff can continue to work efficiently with modern work practices, KCC decided to align their hardware and technology with the Microsoft suite of products and services, making Microsoft Surface devices an easy choice. In addition to modernising their devices and increasing device performance, this move would also reduce their cost base by up to 30% per device.

When approached by the Council, Cantium stepped in to design a hands-off, end-to-end device provisioning solution, delivered as a service, that enables the end user to order their new device and have it arrive on their doorstep within a matter of days.

We also identified and remediated some of KCC’s technical debt to ensure the project’s success. This included moving the organisation to Windows 11 from Windows 10, with Windows Defender Application Control (WDAC) for added security controls. Utilising Autopilot and InTune for device management and provisioning. Modernising the VPN solution, enhancing user experience and security measures simultaneously, and migrating from on-premises Active Directory (AD) to Entra ID, previously known as Azure Active Directory.

During the early project scoping, we identified any issues that would affect the user experience and developed solutions to quickly remedy them so the project could continue.
Over 300 bespoke applications required testing and application development services to ensure compatibility. Cantium completed a due diligence exercise and requalified all applications in the estate to confirm that they are still required and are up to date, managing their access and ensuring they are still supported and secure. SCCM (Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager) was replaced with InTune to deploy applications and enable effective and secure application self-service.

Furthermore, the device hardware was outdated and managed by local administrators, meaning all had individual fixes applied with a ‘break-fix’ methodology. Cantium utilised Endpoint Analytics and proactive remediation scripts, moving to an automatic and root cause fix approach. Cantium’s service desk can now quickly identify a broader issue before the end user is aware of it and roll out fixes proactively, significantly enhancing the user experience.

By reducing the number of reported incidents that need to be managed, this modern device and user support method eases the burden on support desks, leading to a significant decrease in total cost of ownership (TCO). This central approach ensures that the benefits are received on a larger scale and that the environment is stable and consistent for all users.

Designing the device distribution process was vital to ensuring this solution was future-proofed and easy for end-users.

The device ordering process was designed to seamlessly integrate with our IT Service Management (ITSM) tool, ServiceNow. This offers users a self-service model to order and track devices from start to finish. Users can easily place orders, monitor delivery status, and handle exceptions, such as failed delivery or damaged devices upon arrival, through our online portal.

Furthermore, our ITSM tool tracks user success with the new device and prompts users to return their old devices for secure disposal after a successful introduction period, ensuring a smooth transition. This self-guided approach keeps users engaged and informed, enhancing the end-user experience.

Cantium also deployed Early Life Support (ELS) throughout the process to manage the end user’s experience and expectations closely, gathering feedback and identifying potential problem areas at every stage.

This process management and evaluation exercise was pivotal to the project’s success, ensuring that the entire process was tracked and understood while assessing each touchpoint for possible problems in the user and technical experience.

With the full-scale programme results still to be determined, Cantium has already delivered several benefits, modernisations and cost-savings for the Local Authority. This includes an approximate estimated saving of 30% per device and an extended warranty.

Cantium will be deploying approximately 30+ devices daily to roll out 9,000 in one year, with the potential to increase as per the Council’s requirements.

We have moved KCC to proactive problem identification, management, and fix deployment, which, alongside modern and cloud-based technologies that enable seamless hybrid working, will lead to the modernisation of their IT infrastructure.

Users are better empowered with a fully mapped device ordering process, which automates the process from order to delivery to device setup. Users have devices at their door a few days after placing their order and can be ready to work, on average, 20-40 minutes from unboxing. Furthermore, using Microsoft Store and InTune for self-serve application deployment removes IT overheads and improves the end-user experience.

Another significant benefit derived from this project is the automated Configuration Management Database (CMDB) and asset management processes, allowing the Council to track their devices and where they are allocated.

The security enhancements of a VPN upgrade and the addition of Entra ID aren’t to be ignored either, as they now support Windows Hello, Fingerprint, and Facial login natively.

Cantium’s heritage as a Local Authority Trading Company, combined with experience as the internal IT department at Kent County Council, has provided an unparalleled understanding of public sector enterprise. With this expertise, Cantium can ensure that applications and infrastructure continue to work for all end users without interruption during a Microsoft Surface device rollout.

If your authority is looking for an expert partner to support your Microsoft Surface device rollout, with proven experience in delivering Device as a Service (DaaS), covering all aspects of device lifecycle management, contact us at

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