Creating a world-class environment protection agency for Scotland

“I’ve lived in Scotland all my life. I was born and bred here, as were my parents and grandparents. And, I feel a duty to protect and preserve what we have, not only for me, my children and grandchildren, but for all the future generations to come.” — Pete Birrell

Pete Birrell, Head of Information Services at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), isn’t alone in his passion. It pervades an agency charged with protecting Scotland’s environment and human health and the sustainable use of the country’s natural resources.

SEPA’s mission — and passion — are encapsulated in its One Planet Prosperity strategy, which recognises that, while we only have one planet, across the world we currently consume three planets’ worth of resources.

To meet that challenge, SEPA is building a world-class environment agency and, as Birrell says, “IT is at the core of making that transformation happen.”

The agency works with Gold Citrix Solution Advisor I-KONIC to fully leverage the potential of technology in SEPA’s operations.

The starting point was an earlier move to an energy efficient head office. Since then, as Birrell explains, “We’ve reduced our own demand on the planet’s resources by using technology to reduce time spent on the road, by allowing field-based staff to report from the field, and increasing their ability to work securely from one of our 27 locations, or from home.”

Citrix Workspace gives staff access to the tools and files they need from any device, anywhere, including SEPA’s ocean survey vessel, the Sir John Murray.

But technology is doing more than just reducing the agency’s carbon footprint.

“Advances in flood-modelling mean that we’re improving how we predict where and when flooding could happen,” Birrell says. “And, using the power of the [Citrix] cloud will allow multiple users to access the same data, from wherever they are. This means we will be able to process data quicker and predict more confidently, giving the public and emergency services more accurate information faster than ever before.”

Being able to work more quickly and efficiently — accessing, sharing, and sending information while in the field, for example — helps improve the speed and accuracy with which SEPA can predict flood risks or warn of airborne hazards.

Scientists and analysts also benefit since SEPA moved from physical workstations to Citrix-powered virtual ones. Flood models that previously took eight hours can now be run in one hour — and accessed from anywhere.

“It’s extremely exciting to be part of SEPA’s future as it embraces cloud technologies to boost its environmental protection and real-time monitoring services in Scotland,” says I-KONIC’s Managing Director, Sean Russell. “Our longstanding partnership with SEPA and Citrix goes from strength to strength with this latest Citrix Cloud initiative. As a Scottish based Citrix Gold partner, I-KONIC is extremely proud to support SEPA as it innovates to become a world-leading environmental protection agency.”

Putting IT at the core of SEPA’s transformation is about more than speed and convenience. As Birrell says, “We’re not just doing the same things faster, we’re doing things differently. And doing them better.”

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We’ve reduced our own demand on the planet’s resources by using technology to reduce time spent on the road, by allowing field-based staff to report from the field, and increasing their ability to work securely from one of our 27 locations, or from home.
Pete Birrell
Head of Information Services
Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)