Wiltshire Council is supporting a flexible working initiative by migrating to the cloud-based Microsoft Office 365 suite of apps.

As part of the move the council migrated to Exchange Online to support over 4,000 employees, and the adoption of the on-demand Office 365 suite - which competes in the market against the cloud-based Google Apps offering - is now almost complete.

With all employees also using Windows 7 laptops the council is now able to support flexible working policies for all staff, enabling them to work from home, remotely or on the move.

Wiltshire is now planning to decommission its existing on-premise desktop productivity system, saving money as a result.

The Office 365 roll-out has complemented the introduction of a Microsoft Lync collaboration system, which has been integrated with the phone system to provide voice over IP calling, unified messaging and video conferencing, thus helping to reduce the council's carbon footprint.

Andy Spurway, head of service delivery at Wiltshire Council, said: “Wiltshire Council is now a fully agile business. We wanted integrated solutions with a common look and feel and the most flexibility possible. We’ve reduced downtime, increased collaboration and seen cost-savings across the organisation.”

Last year Hillingdon Council became the first local authority in the UK to start using Google Apps. It expected the move to save almost £3 million in desktop PC maintenance costs over four years.