City of Fremantle

City of Fremantle enhances productivity with Microsoft Surface device program from RSI Technologies


The City of Fremantle required an upgrade for an aging device fleet during a relocation to a new office. Ensuring that modernizing their device fleet wouldn’t overwhelm their busy IT team was paramount.


The Microsoft Surface device fleet utilized by the City of Fremantle had been supplied by RSI Technologies as part of a previous project. As the lease neared its end, the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic disrupted their replacement strategy, prompting a decision to purchase the devices outright. Subsequently, a competitive tender was issued to procure modern devices that could effectively support their contemporary workforce while delivering optimal value. After careful evaluation, the City of Fremantle determined that RSI Technologies’ proposal best aligned with its requirements for service delivery and competitive pricing.

IT Outcome

  • Significantly reduced time spent supporting an ageing fleet
  • Procurement, and deployment of devices ready to use out of the box
  • Docking stations and accessories were installed in the new office

Business Outcome

  • Staff more agile with the capability to work on the go
  • Improved mobility, productivity and collaboration
  • IT team are able to focus on other tasks

The Background

Located 20 km south of Perth, the City of Fremantle (“the City”) covers an area of 19 square kilometers and supports a vibrant community of households and businesses. Renowned for its environmental commitment, Fremantle earned the distinction of being Western Australia’s first carbon-neutral city in 2009 and is one of only two councils in Australia to attain One Planet certification for sustainability.

As the end of lease approached for the City’s fleet of Microsoft Surface laptops, the original plan was to replace them with new devices. However, due to global device shortages and disruptions caused by COVID-19, the decision was made to retain the existing laptops by buying out the lease and postponing procurement.

The Challenge

For organizations worldwide, the onset of the pandemic necessitated swift adjustments, and the City of Fremantle was no exception. Ordinarily, as the device fleet neared the end of its lease, the IT team would have initiated a tender process to procure new devices for a seamless transition. However, as Joel Hurst, the IT Manager, observed, these were extraordinary times.

With most people working remotely more than ever before, procuring devices like laptops became incredibly challenging, especially when seeking to acquire hundreds at once. We opted to buy out our lease and retain the existing laptops to ensure continuity for everyone,” Hurst explained.

As disruptions persisted, the City’s laptop fleet aged, resulting in increased faults and breakages. The IT team resorted to resourcefulness, combining parts from multiple broken laptops to keep users operational.

My team demonstrated remarkable resourcefulness. When one machine failed, we salvaged parts to create functioning devices. Our primary focus was on ensuring users could continue their work,” Hurst noted.

Despite the challenges, the City’s staff remained dedicated to serving the Fremantle community throughout the crisis. However, failing batteries posed a significant hurdle, limiting productivity both in the office and for remote workers.

We encountered issues with swollen batteries and diminished battery life, forcing users to keep their laptops constantly plugged in. This restricted mobility and flexibility, impacting productivity, especially for those balancing work and family commitments at home,” Hurst elaborated.

While acknowledging the professionalism of the City’s staff during these challenging circumstances, Hurst admitted that frustration grew as the devices exceeded their typical lifespan.

The laptops were approaching five years old, well beyond their expected usage in the workplace. While they were initially reliable, they struggled to keep pace with the evolving demands of our workforce. This impacted user satisfaction and our reputation within the council,” Hurst lamented.

IT Outcome

The City of Fremantle underwent a rigorous tender process, considering proposals from various vendors for device procurement. After evaluating options based on cost-effectiveness and outcomes, Hurst selected a range of Microsoft Surface devices, including the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4, Microsoft Surface Book 3, and HP G6 tower, along with monitors and accessories tailored to user roles.

Partnering with RSI Technologies on this project provided several advantages. We already had existing accessories from previous investments, eliminating the need for new purchases. Additionally, their competitive pricing and practical changeover process aligned well with our needs,” explained Hurst.

Despite ongoing device shortages, having a dedicated project manager from RSI Technologies proved invaluable. The IT team navigated not only the device fleet transition but also delays in the new building construction due to lockdowns and workplace restrictions.

Installing docking stations amid an active construction site required coordination with safety protocols and scheduling around electricians’ availability. RSI Technologies adeptly adjusted to our evolving circumstances, demonstrating flexibility and quick problem resolution,” recounted Hurst.

Upon the building’s opening, the RSI Technologies project team collaborated closely with the City’s IT department to ensure a seamless device transition for users, prioritizing clear communication throughout the process.

Effective communication was essential in executing our plans smoothly. Providing specific instructions to users about backing up files and scheduling setup sessions ensured minimal disruption. Each staff member received personalized assistance, resulting in a swift transition to their new laptops,” Hurst emphasized.

Before the upgrade, device management drained IT resources, but since the changeover, support requests have decreased significantly, thanks to reliable devices.

Our helpdesk was inundated with support requests for the aging devices. With the new laptops in place, even in the event of damage, replacements are swift and hassle-free,” Hurst noted.


With the City of Fremantle workforce settling into their new custom-built premises and tailored devices, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, according to Hurst.

We’ve received numerous expressions of appreciation for how smoothly the project was executed despite challenging circumstances, and how seamless the device transition was,” Hurst noted.

Our staff now experience heightened productivity and enjoy the enhanced flexibility and mobility afforded by their modern devices.”

Amidst the complexities of managing a relocation during a global pandemic, coupled with construction delays, the benefits of partnering with an experienced project manager from RSI Technologies for the device refresh were evident.

The project manager demonstrated excellence in communication with my team and displayed remarkable flexibility in accommodating our delays. Despite unavoidable supply chain disruptions, they continuously adapted to ensure completion. They navigated through the challenges of working on an active construction site, dealing with power outages, and evolving safety requirements,” Hurst concluded.

Their familiarity with our operations allowed for seamless collaboration with our team – they were genuinely invested in achieving the best outcome for us.”
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