Offering citizens high levels of service delivery is a priority for the federal government. By providing civil servants access to unified communications and collaboration tools, services would be more available and the government could be a leader in teleworking.
The Federal Government of Belgium consists of 15 ministers who exercise legislative powers through ministries and public institutions. The government pools their ICT resources in a state-owned community cloud (g-cloud), which creates economies of scale by establishing shared services of, among others: infrastructure, software, platform and storage.
G-cloud is run by voluntarily collaborating public institutions and executed by a mix of internal and external service providers, such as Dimension Data.
A ministry issued a requirement to replace existing email, telephony and document management systems with a modern collaboration infrastructure. The aim was to achieve synergies in communication for all federal institutions.
Some ministries were utilising legacy analogue or ISDN telephony, as well as disparate collaboration software to enable internal communications.
The requirement for a collaboration infrastructure was in line with the government’s broader vision to enable teleworking and to, in future, establish cross-institutional contact centres.
How cloud fulfils the needs of multiple ministries
The government requires for sensitive data to reside in Belgium. Dimension Data’s customised unified communications and collaboration services are therefore consumed from a private cloud. The hardware is located at the state’s data centres, but owned by Dimension Data.
Dimension Data provides unified communications and collaboration services consumed from g-cloud. Services include: VoIP, presence, e-mail, chat, video conferencing, contact centre, document management and mobile device management.
Public institutions purchase cloud services for their users from a catalogue and only pay for what they use. A central management system predicts the workload, performs checks and individual invoicing.
The Unified Communication and Collaboration-as-a-Service (UCCaaS) platform is fully integrated with the federal government’s WAN, which is managed by an internal service provider called SMALS, as well as other institutions.
UCCaaS can be consumed in a hybrid architecture and Dimension Data provides a customised solution for each institution, with optimal network performance, application integration and central monitoring. For example, a hybrid Microsoft Office 360 service can be consumed from g-cloud or onsite.
Dimension Data has partnered with Computer Science Corporation to deliver change and transition management programmes to increase adoption of the service.
Over 15,000 users from eight ministries are now enjoying unified communications and collaboration services from Dimension Data. Another 40,000+ users will be added in the next 18 months. Citizens benefit from improved service delivery, because civil servants work more productively.
Dimension Data’s ability to customise the solution and architecture for each institution meets requirements for information security and data sovereignty. Institutions also save costs, as they only pay for the services they use and can scale up or down.
Civil servants benefit from a teleworking environment. People collaborate anywhere and anytime using video conferencing and instant messaging. The ability to work in a teleworking environment increases productivity, as well as providing savings in real-estate costs (some institutions use less office
The government can now fulfil future requirements for cross-functional contact centres. Using Microsoft Skype for Business, Luware and alternatively Genesys, the government can create on-demand virtual contact centres that could draw on the expertise from officials located in different institutions. This would enable effortless interaction with citizens on economic, legal and social security matters.
Technology accelerates digital business, “Consolidation of our communication and collaboration services encourages synergies between institutions. We’re able to respond to civil servants’ needs for ‘new ways of working’, thanks to the flexibility offered in terms of working anytime and anywhere,” says Claude Delannoy, Head of IT Strategy and Architecture, SPF Economy.