KeolisAmey Metrolink (KAM) has secured a contract to run Greater Manchester’s Metrolink for up to 10 years and has appointed IT Lab as its technology partner.

One distinct feature of the arrangement was that, because of the typical protocols when transferring a contract from an incumbent provider, KAM and IT Lab had virtually no access to the Metrolink’s infrastructure until the very hour the former operator’s contract expired.

IT Lab’s expertise comprises of four elements: Microsoft Dynamics GP, managed services, Cloudlab and a connectivity solution (MPLS).

KeolisAmey Metrolink is a joint venture of two of the biggest names in passenger transport. Keolis is the operator behind some of the UK’s best-known rail services. In partnership with Amey, Keolis operates the iconic Docklands Light Railway (DLR).

Having secured the prestigious Greater Manchester Metrolink contract, KAM’s initial requirement was for accounting software. The transport experts evaluated several potential providers, including IT Lab.

The Metrolink’s legacy finance system was owned by the previous incumbent, which KAM had decided to replace with Microsoft Dynamics GP (GP). The GP solution was already running successfully at DLR and, in line with KeolisAmey Metrolink’s strategy, would accommodate future expansion. It was also essential to integrate GP with the Metrolink’s well-established asset management software, Agility.

Geoff Bishop, Head of IT with KeolisAmey Metrolink commented: “IT Lab’s team was candid, responsive, and quickly built our trust. Having chosen them as our GP provider, we recognised they had the expertise to support us in other vital areas. We extended the GP contract to include deployment to IT Lab’s cloud environment – Cloudlab, plus MPLS connectivity and managed services.”

Bishop continued: “Until the contract’s live date, our access to the Metrolink’s infrastructure was limited. Whilst this was accepted protocol in the circumstances, we had to be cognisant of the potential technical challenges this presented.

“The new environment, together with the integration of Microsoft Dynamics GP and Agility, needed to run seamlessly from literally the minute we took ownership. The knowledge and dedication of IT Lab’s team were instrumental in meeting the exacting standards demanded by Metrolink as soon as the clock started ticking.”

Peter Sweetbaum, IT Lab’s CEO added: “My team worked tirelessly in the run up to the contract’s start date. All the key pieces came together in what was a relatively complex, and hitherto unseen, environment. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate KeolisAmey Metrolink for winning this high profile contract, and am proud of IT Lab’s role in its successful delivery.”

Written by Christine Ellis