Success in the public sector today rides on not only being able to do more with less, but also being able to meet and exceed citizens’ expectations.
Achieving this is no easy feat, but it certainly can be done. I am a firm believer that technology is an important element in enabling government organisations to keep up with citizen demands for greater levels of transparency in the services they receive.
Two examples of applied technology for the benefit of the public sector are the City of Utrecht and the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund.
In a major push towards reducing its carbon footprint, the City of Utrecht is working with Logica on an innovative way of managing its public facilities. The municipality of Utrecht was searching for new ways to reduce the energy consumption of many energy-heavy facilities, including its street lighting, traffic signals and sewage systems. With this in mind, they started their collaboration with Logica, a Microsoft partner specialising in technology for the public sector. Logica secured a system to remotely manage the city’s lighting, sewage systems, roads and much more, all from a centralised location. By using state-of-the-art technology, it proposed cost savings of up to 20 per cent, and energy cost savings of up to 40 per cent. The solution is built from ground up using Microsoft technologies, combining Silverlight, Surface 2, SQL Server, and Bing Maps.
Embracing the benefits of the cloud, the solution also uses the Microsoft Windows Azure cloud computing platform, ensuring a low total cost of ownership, flexibility, scalability and security.
Another example of successful application of technology in the public sector is the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund. The fund administers financial support for higher education.
With 320 employees across six offices dealing with over a million cases each year, the organisation needs to engage with a large number of customers daily. The management of the fund was looking at ways to increase levels of efficiency, self-service and automation of processes, and it required secure, cost-effective and stable applications to underpin existing organisational procedures. Software Innovation, a Norwegian software company delivering solutions for document management systems, ended up providing the best solution with their case and records management application, Public 360°, which runs on Microsoft SharePoint and Office. The solution enables efficient and transparent digital administration, collaboration and citizen services.
There are many other examples that prove that by consolidating operations on interoperable platforms, applications and software, public sector organisations can succeed in converging services, improving connectivity with citizens and external service providers, while realising greater efficiency and cost savings.