Dubai eGovernment wanted to standardise the information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure for employees across departments. For this, it chose Microsoft Lync Server 2010, Microsoft SharePoint 2010, and Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. By the end of 2011, the standardised solution will be rolled out to more than 20 departments—around 6,000 users—replacing numerous disparate systems, including Lotus Notes.
Dubai eGovernment, a department of the Dubai Government in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), provides innovative online services to other government entities and employees, as well as citizens, residents, and visitors in Dubai. It uses multiple channels and technologies to make it easier for people and businesses to interact with government bodies.
Dubai eGovernment is currently providing its shared services to 20 Dubai Government entities—the remaining departments are expected to take advantage of the solution in the future. Over the past few years, Dubai eGovernment has built a unified and highly reliable information network—including the use of cloud computing—to underpin the Dubai government’s electronic infrastructure.
Matar Al-Humairi, Director, Infrastructure Management Department, Dubai eGovernment, says: “The Dubai Government wants the infrastructure of all government departments to be connected, helping to consolidate and align assets and knowledge, and deliver enhanced services to our customers.”
Across the government estate, there were diverse systems across workloads with, for example, different solutions in place to support file sharing, telephone, and instant messaging. The communication and collaboration technology was originally Lotus Notes and is now standardised on Microsoft Exchange Server 2010.
Al-Humairi says: “The Mohammed Bin Rashid Housing Establishment in Dubai— which provides social housing for UAE nationals—and Dubai Civil Defence, are good examples of departments that support the shared infrastructure approach.”
In making its choice of infrastructure technology, Dubai eGovernment wanted user-friendly tools to ensure early adoption of the system by users, in line with the overall Dubai Government vision.
Al-Humairi says: “We were looking for rich functionality and features to increase the use of unified communications within departments. Out-of-the-box integration with existing line-of-business applications was another consideration, as well as the need for a scalable solution that could accommodate more users in the future.”Solution
Dubai eGovernment was the first government entity in the UAE to deploy Lync Server 2010, Exchange Server 2010, and SharePoint 2010—going live with the products immediately after their worldwide release. While Microsoft Services provided advice on the architecture and health checks in the testing phase, the systems integration was completed in-house.
Naim Yazbeck, Public Sector Director, Microsoft Gulf, says: “Dubai eGovernment is renowned for using the latest technologies to make it easier for government departments to operate. The rich functionality and innovation in the Microsoft 2010 suite of collaboration and communication products encouraged Dubai eGovernment to go into a strategic partnership with Microsoft.”
Al-Humairi adds: “We wish to thank Microsoft for its support. We employ some advanced technicians in Dubai eGovernment, who are highly committed to the government’s e-transformation programme. They successfully migrated the existing technologies—for example, Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007—to the new suite of information products with the in-house IT department.”
Dubai eGovernment was particularly impressed by the quality and stability of Lync Server 2010, as well as its ease of deployment. Al-Humairi says: “Our technical teams were excited about moving to a new product suite for communication and collaboration. The migration path is so smooth that most users don’t notice the change.”Benefits
Dubai eGovernment is enhancing the flexibility and efficiency of its service to Dubai government departments. Around 3,000 users are connected to the email server and unified communications and collaboration suite—this figure is set to double by the end of 2011. Al-Humairi says: “The shared services approach frees participating departments to focus on developing and managing their business applications, and is more efficient and cost effective than having 20 separate systems.”
Users prefer Microsoft Outlook to Lotus Notes. Dubai eGovernment listened to the opinions of users in government departments before choosing Microsoft technology. Al-Humairi says: “Overwhelmingly, users prefer the Microsoft tools to Lotus Notes because of their experience and familiarity with Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Office.”
Familiar interface is easier to manage. By having a simple, standardised management console for the entire Microsoft suite, the IT department worked with a single interface instead of having different consoles for software supplied by different vendors.
New system aligns with overall vision for services. The government is committed to maintaining its leadership in e-government initiatives within the UAE. The shared services infrastructure project supports this strategic objective and is the first deployment of Lync Server 2010, SharePoint 2010, and Exchange Server 2010 in the UAE government sector.
Technology frees departmental ICT teams for higher value work. The initiative offers all Dubai Government departments the option of having a shared infrastructure based on the most up-to-date technologies. Hosted government departments are supporting the project because it will help their technical teams to focus on developing and managing core business applications instead of handling infrastructure maintenance.
Dubai eGovernment demonstrates technical excellence. The rapid deployment of Lync Server 2010, SharePoint 2010, and Exchange Server 2010 has enhanced the reputation of Dubai eGovernment in meeting the challenge of deploying state-of-the-art technology.This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.