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About the Department for Work and Pensions

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is responsible for welfare, pensions, and child maintenance policy. As the UK’s biggest public service department, it administers the State Pension and a range of working age, disability, and ill health benefits to around 20 million claimants and customers. They have over 100,000 staff and approximately 1,000 sites across the UK.

The Problem

The DWP relies on the Microsoft 365 suite for all of its collaboration and communication needs, both internally and with other organisations. Outlook email and Microsoft Teams are critical tools for communication. With millions of calls and meetings every month, any disruption to these systems is considered a significant hit to productivity and business results.

Performance management of Microsoft 365 and Teams was identified as an area that DWP wished to become more proactive with. Whilst performance issues and degradation caused by the Microsoft services themselves are rare, IT teams manage a complex ecosystem of IT and network components, and changes to any of these, such as software updates or network configuration, can impact the performance of Microsoft services. By only using native Microsoft tools, the first notification of an issue tends to come from users reporting issues rather than any proactive alerting. It was also difficult for DWP to monitor the performance users received when using Microsoft 365 services across a range of localities. The DWP team wanted to detect and act on problems and performance degradations more proactively, rather than only reacting when a problem was reported, which can otherwise lead to slower resolution times. The DWP had an aggressive program of IT changes to implement, including the deployment of Teams Telephony, and wanted to better understand how these changes would impact the performance of their Microsoft services, and report these trends as part of their internal KPIs.

Microsoft Teams Call

The Solution

The DWP deployed Martello Vantage DX for proactive monitoring of the Microsoft 365 and Teams service. The solution includes robots, which perform synthetic transactions that simulate all of the actions a user would take, such as sending an email, sharing a file or making a Teams call. This capability allowed the DWP to take a more proactive approach, detecting issues before they impacted an actual user. In addition, Vantage DX helped the DWP to:

  • Visualize where an issue is occurring on the path from the user to the Microsoft datacentre using the diagnostics capabilities, to make troubleshooting the issue much faster.
  • Harness the performance and user experience metrics in Vantage DX to surface trends into a central dashboard of KPIs that is used by the DWP’s senior leadership team.
  • Drive public sector accessibility standards, with improvements such as zooming in and colour contrasts that made Vantage DX more accessible to people with low vision. These accessibility improvements can assist other UK government entities who wish to implement Vantage DX.


Teams Call Quality Dashboard

The Outcome

The Delivery Manager for the DWP said that implementing Vantage DX levelled up the organization’s Microsoft monitoring capabilities to what should be expected for critical systems: “With Vantage DX, we now have confidence that we can proactively detect Microsoft 365 and Teams issues and have them resolved quickly, to improve service delivery.” Vantage DX has made the DWP’s operations more efficient and helped to reduce their costs by streamlining the way they manage network changes. “By making it much easier to identify any impact a network change would have on the Microsoft 365 and Teams user experience, Vantage DX reduced our requirement for testing resource, which is a tangible saving in the cost of supporting Microsoft 365 and Teams”.

Martello’s eagerness to work closely with the DWP on their requirements, particularly around enhancing accessibility and their senior leadership reporting needs, was recognised and appreciated.

“The Martello team responded quickly to our requests and were agile in finding solutions that would work for us, and the result is that our senior leadership has confidence that our Microsoft performance and user experience is well-managed and that the DWP is fostering accessibility.”

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