Optimizing public sector services in the Azores Archipelago with cloud computing
Small businesses can provide valuable solutions to the Public Sector, as Portuguese SME CaveDigital
has demonstrated since 2005. Its 8 employees are committed to increasing the value of their clients’ technological investments by offering cloud-based
solutions. Based in Portugal, their operations have extended across Europe, and North and Latin America since they formed 12 years. CaveDigital reaches even as far as the middle of the Atlantic Ocean to the Azores Islands archipelago.
For over six years, CaveDigital has supported the Azores Islands Regional Government. Prior to their partnership, its government’s Regional Secretariat of Education faced a number of key challenges that made it difficult to administer and connect the students, teachers, parents, and education administrators across the 9 islands.
Extending over 600 km, boats and planes are required to travel across the archipelago. The remote location and isolation of the archipelago’s islands means information management was a difficult task even though 7 of its 9 islands were connected through a fiber optic network. However, even this solution left something to be desired as the disjointed and static nature of the network served little functionality, provided no real services, and resulted in poorly managed content that was too dispersed or simply duplicated.
Together, the Regional Education Directorate and CaveDigital recognized the need and opportunity to connect the islands with a single point of access based on a more reliable and functional tool. Built using SharePoint 2010
, an online service offered standalone or as part of Office 365
, and in conjunction with the Regional Directorate for Science, Technology and Communications, CaveDigital created a private cloud solution called Azores Education Portal that combined Internet and Intranet Portals for the Regional Education Directorate and the region’s Education community. As a result, teachers have gained a common online space in which to create and submit content, leading to collaboration and avoiding the need to “reinvent the wheel” in terms of teaching materials. Furthermore, students can now upload work directly to the portal, allowing teachers to access and grade content from any place at any time. Parents and guardians have also been kept involved with increased access to their children’s work and progress.
CaveDigital’s solutions have given the Regional Secretariat of Education the interconnectedness, strengthened communication, flexibility, and the centralization of resources needed to serve its citizens more effectively. It has given to the small region of the Azores Islands archipelago all the tools and benefits of any large-scale administration or business. By promoting private cloud based services, it has demonstrated the value its solutions can provide to the Public Sector market.
Each month, to highlight the continuing growth of cloud services provided by European SMEs, we will feature in the Microsoft Cloud & Interoperability Centre in Brussels, the technology of another innovative, growing small business