New South Wales in eastern Australia is the country’s most populous state with over 7 million inhabitants. It also houses the country’s most famous and largest city—Sydney. Highly attuned to customer feedback regarding services, the government
of New South Wales prioritised delivering services for residents and businesses as efficiently as possible.
”The drivers were around mobility, collaboration, productivity, and having email and other office applications available on mobile devices. We wanted to maximise the flexibility of the office.“
||The drivers were around mobility, collaboration, productivity, and having email and other office applications available on mobile devices. We wanted to maximise the flexibility of the office.
- Jacqui McPherson, CIO, Service NSW
The Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) established a government entity dedicated to improved customer service delivery. Service NSW sought to provide a unified, single point of contact for residents and businesses to apply for/renew everything from
birth and marriage certificates to fishing and driver’s licences. Customers would be able to pay fines and bills, request assistance, register a vehicle or apply for a beekeeper’s licence. It was to be a one-stop shop for government services that included
integrated online, storefront, and call centre components. The model would consist of a technology-fueled integration of corporate office, a contact centre and a service centre network.
This was a far cry from the stereotype of government organisations as late adoptees of new technologies and adherents to old-fashioned, customer-unfriendly ways of doing business.
“We were going for an agile startup model to meet government commitments to launch Service NSW in a very short timeframe,” said Jacqui McPherson, CIO, Service NSW. “The vision for Service NSW is to be the distinct leader in the provision of government services.
We want to transform the customer experience through simpler access to government services. The Service NSW technology infrastructure has been developed in line with the whole of government NSW ICT Strategy and service capability objectives for anywhere, anytime
access to services, citizen-focused services, community and industry collaboration and better information sharing between government departments.”
The first challenge for Service NSW was to develop a plan to deliver an operational Service Centre for Kiama (a beachside community south of Sydney) with a small IT team. In 8-weeks this involved a formal solution design and IT vendor engagement. Service
NSW IT successfully delivered all the technology solution components for the Kiama Go-Live in July 2013 as planned.”
This was only possible by building out the existing IT team to fill key skill gaps, and engaging strategic IT partners and cloud service providers to standup capability quickly and develop an effective BAU support model. Microsoft was engaged as one of Service
NSW’s strategic technology partners.
The Service NSW technology infrastructure and architecture covers a broad scope to deliver a consolidated services model to customers of NSW government across three channels.
To achieve both short term and long term ICT objectives, the Service NSW technology infrastructure is a blend of existing government agency systems and new systems. Where possible, Service NSW has maximised reuse of IT components across government agencies
and enhanced these to meet specific Service NSW objectives. Leveraging existing systems has provided Service NSW with the technology baseline that has allowed them to deliver quickly and tactically as they progressively build out its long term strategic infrastructure.
The technology program of work followed a phased delivery approach to ensure alignment to business objectives and a high paced deployment schedule. The technology
stream consisted of 3 key phases:
2.Stabilisation and Service Centre rollout
3.Head Office Migration
The Start-up Enterprise was the first phase, and focused on the design and delivery of the flagship Service NSW Service Centre in Kiama. The Kiama model proved the IT delivery approach, and key technology solution components—including an integrated agency
desktop with Win7/office 365, secure Win8 self-serve kiosks and a customer flow management system. In early July 2013, Service NSW launched its first Service Centre, the new Service NSW Digital site with over 800 customer servicing transactions, the phone
service and BAU Support Model consisting of over 15 individual support agreements.
A further 14 service centres were rolled out up until December 2013 as well as a new 120 seat contact centre. While the launch of Service NSW has been a huge success, Ms. McPherson said there was still more work to be done to build out the IT infrastructure
to scale and achieve the long term business vision for rollout.
Service NSW strongly leveraged Microsoft Premier Support Services through the early days of its start-up organisation in order to meet business objectives for reliability, performance, while simultaneously helping to build a scalable and supportable Active
Directory structure to enable rapid deployment to new sites at a rate of approximately one every two weeks to the end of the year.
Stabilisation and rollout
A Technical Account Manager was assigned to Service NSW, who worked closely with the CIO and internal IT department to develop a 3-week plan to rapidly mature its foundational IT infrastructure and architecture components to ensure this was in place before
deployment of its next Service Centre.
One of the first planned activities was to run a Microsoft Risk Assessment Workshop to identify and prioritise key Enterprise IT risks and identify appropriate mitigations and controls. “This was an important exercise to do at the start of our business transformation
journey. Being a government agency, we have significant responsibilities for security and compliance as well as reliability of our solution. We wanted to ensure our technology solution and roadmap was strategically aligned to these objectives, and the Microsoft
Risk Assessment Framework and Workshop was an important input for us to develop a plan for continuous improvement” McPherson stated.
The Premier Support engagement gave Service NSW flexibility and access to point expertise to develop and implement strategic design solutions across the infrastructure and troubleshoot issues as they arose. Being a small IT organisation, Service NSW wanted
a flexible sourcing strategy that could provide them with access to the right resources when we needed them.
“Microsoft was selected as a strategic alliance partner as it gave us flexibility to a pool of IT resources with relevant expertise and skills in our Enterprise technology stack. On-demand sourcing through the Premier Support Agreement was a cost effective
option and minimised our reliance on full time contractors, at the same time providing access to greater depth and breadth of IT skills, all the way up to Microsoft Product Engineering,” McPherson stated.
Head office migration
Microsoft Cloud Vantage Services were also engaged to assist in the Service NSW Office 365 deployment to Corporate Head Office. Cloud Vantage enabled Service NSW to complete a full head office business transformation within 6 weeks.
The head office transformation involved a move from desktop-based working, to Microsoft Surface Pros with Win8 and Office 365, offering mobility, collaboration and productivity.
To assist in this transformation, Microsoft provided expertise in migrating critical applications such as email and other desktop and mobile applications to the cloud-based Office 365 environment.
“In the head office,” McPherson explained, “the drivers were around mobility, collaboration, productivity, and having email and other office applications available on mobile devices. We wanted to maximize the flexibility of the office.”
Mobility critical to Service NSW
“Bring Your Own Device and mobility are also quite important for us because we have a highly mobile head office, and have a requirement to monitor and respond to customers and social media out of business hours,” noted McPherson.
As part of the Cloud Vantage program, Service NSW went through additional workshops to identify the most efficient paths to designing, building, testing, and rolling out new applications. In the end, they used an iterative process in order to minimise risk,
and incorporate user feedback.
”Being able to leverage UX design in Windows 8 to simplify the build and deployment of apps was a big plus. We’d do a pilot, iterate it, improve it, and re-release the next week—we combined business pilots with lean startup design over a two to three week
period before full deployment to our head office.” noted McPherson.
Working with Cloud Vantage Services through Microsoft Premier Support ensured a seamless, unified process with all parties thoroughly informed and pushing toward the same goals.
“Microsoft Premier Support has been very good about bringing in the right people at the right time,” McPherson stated.
However, this exacting process did not hinder the speed of deployment. Prior to rollout Microsoft conducted staff and executive training on Windows 8 and Office 365, as well as the Surface Pro tablets to ensure the transition to the business was as smooth
In a six-week window, Service NSW working with Microsoft Premier Support and Cloud Vantage Services accomplished the following:
Completed a series of risk assessments associated with rolling out new infrastructure supporting the service centres
Developed a continuous improvement plan for Microsoft Enterprise components and in line with regulatory and NSW Government ICT compliance requirements
Deployed Office 365 to users at Service NSW Head Office, including full email migration to migration of all mailboxes to outlook
Built and delivered 160 Surface Pro devices for Service NSW
Trained staff on the new devices
Upgraded Win8 Self-Serve Kiosks to Win8.1
Working with Microsoft Premier Support provided Service NSW with the right expertise and resources to guide their technology roadmap to strategically build and improve their IT capability in a very short timeframe. The partnership also helped the organisation
develop new efficiencies and new capabilities, while staying proactively ahead of each pending rollout and service centre opening.
“Microsoft’s engagement approach has been collaborative and responsive to our needs so I would say the partnership has worked well,” explained McPherson. “They’ve given us a lot of insight around productivity tools and collaboration. We’re now using Yammer
across the organization, and Lync for immediate response on quick, informal questions. We’ve increased our general productivity and social connections, which is improving communication across the business.”
Through deployment of Windows 8 and Microsoft Office 365, Service NSW has an email system that can be accessed outside the office, with one enabling anywhere, anytime, any device access. They have the ability to access emails on mobile devices, with the
Office 365 platform also allowing ‘Bring Your Own Device’ flexibility.
“We achieved significant productivity gains in moving to the cloud—and in a very short timeframe.”
For the head office, Surface Pro tablets liberated employees from both the time clock and the desktop.
“The ability to work from home and out of hours provides a big productivity boost,” McPherson explained. “It’s especially important for our IT operation support team to cover extended Service Centre hours so we can respond effectively to any production incidents
or queries, and also to plan and manage change.”
In addition, real-time communication has increased efficiencies through limiting the time employees spend in meetings, and increasing the time spent helping customers.
Service NSW has been a great success and any efficiencies allow staff to focus on what’s important – their customers. Resident feedback on the new Service NSW project has been very positive. “We’re getting customer satisfaction scores of 4.8 out of 5, or
an average of 99%, through the call centre and our service centres,” McPherson noted.
Savings and higher availability
“Savings would cover a broader range of services,” explained McPherson, “but most of the savings will stem from having a standard Windows 8 desktop image and reduced number of applications, with Office 365 covering the majority of our Head Office needs.”
In addition, availability of Service NSW Microsoft-based, corporate systems has helped achieve the availability goal of 99.9%. “We’ve had close to full availability of Microsoft systems since launch.”
Fast, risk-averse, on-time deployment
Even within the very tight timeline, Microsoft Premier Support and Cloud Vantage Services provided the training and knowledge transfer required to maximise productivity and minimise time-to-value. Once the training was complete, the migration to Office 365
“In general, it was a very clean, smooth migration,” said McPherson. “We ran the migration over a single weekend. People came in on Monday with a new Surface Pro on their desk and all the connected devices. With Surface Pro they could work with a mouse,
keyboard and big screen if they wanted. Then they could disconnect the Pro and use it in internal meetings or on the move. We had a welcome pack on their desk which provided all the details to get everyone up and running.”
As Service NSW continues to roll out its services, it now has a flexible, Microsoft technology foundation aligned to its business needs. Service NSW also has a process developed in partnership with Microsoft Premier Support that minimises risk while delivering
on-time, and with minimum disruption.
“Microsoft Premier Support worked closely with us to understand where we were at in our journey and help us predict where we needed to go. They have been a key strategic partner for us.” summed up McPherson.
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