The Austrian Ministry of the Interior provides law enforcement and public security services. The Ministry faced two distinct challenges: a slow, paper-based order process for vital equipment, and no method for field officers to update and share case information. To give its staff the latest technology to help address these challenges, the Ministry deployed Microsoft Office 2010, Microsoft Visio Premium 2010, and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010. Business analysts at the Ministry have since created a new electronic order process 80 percent faster than with previous tools. The solution is helping to decrease purchase cycle time by 66 percent, reduce paper and printing costs, and provide more visibility into order status. The Ministry also deployed SharePoint Workspace 2010 so that officers can share and update case files, which helps them resolve cases more quickly.
The Austrian Ministry of the Interior (Bundesministerium für Inneres) oversees all public security activities throughout Austria. It handles a wide range of law enforcement activities, ranging from misdemeanors and traffic offenses to border security, drug trafficking, and issues associated with domestic and international terrorism. The Ministry employs 32,000 staff members across the country.
The Ministry identified two distinct challenges that it could not solve using its current technology environment, which included both the Microsoft Office 2003 and Microsoft Office 2007 systems. First, the process for officers to order mobile phone—a key piece of equipment for field work—was paper-based and took a long time to complete. Second, officers in the field sometimes had no way to access or update information about cases they were investigating, resulting in costly delays.
Delayed Procurement for Equipment
Police officers and other staff depend on mobile phones for many of their field and administrative activities. Officers requiring new phones had to complete a paper-based order process that included filling out a requisition form and handing it to a manager for approval. When the form was approved, the manager sent it back to the officer, who would then send it to central order administration. Officers had no way to check the status of these orders; they simply had to wait until they received notification that their phones were available for pick-up at the district store. The Ministry processes 1,800 orders for mobile phones and subscriber identity module (SIM) cards annually.
Roman D’Alessio, Information Communications Technology Head for the Ministry, says, “It took six weeks for some police officers to get their phones. Employees had no way to view the status of ordered items. We also had environmental concerns about the amount of paper we were wasting.” Because employees could not verify the status of orders, they would sometimes create duplicate orders with the mistaken belief that their original orders had not been processed, which created additional costs.
Increased Time to Complete Investigations
Ministry investigators needed a better way to post and access information when they were working outside headquarters. For example, a 15-person investigation task force collected documents and information from crime scene locations, but the individual investigators could not access each other’s reports from the crime scene or other remote locations; nor could the task force file investigative reports remotely. All of this led to time delays for officers to complete investigations and their required reports.
||The new purchasing solution improves our order cycle time, saves us checking on status, reduces the amount of paper we use, reduces time for us to create orders, and eliminates duplicate orders.
ICT Head, Austrian Ministry of the Interior
The Ministry knew it wanted to change to an electronic order process that would speed up the approval process, help reduce the amount of paperwork involved in procurement, and provide a way for employees to see the status of their orders. It also wanted a better way for officers to share and update case information when they were working remotely. The ultimate challenge for the Ministry’s IT department would be finding a technological solution that could help it resolve these distinct problems without incurring additional costs or adding management complexity for solutions from multiple vendors.Solution
To improve its ordering process and help officers share information, the Ministry decided to participate in the Rapid Deployment Program for Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft Visio 2010 drawing and diagramming software. By May of 2010, the Ministry had deployed a pilot test of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, and 300 of its 32,000 employees were using Office 2010 programs. The Ministry enlisted the help of Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Unisys to help with its process analysis and development of a mobile phone ordering solution. D’Alessio says, “Unisys is a very good partner and extremely helpful, especially with business process planning.”
Building a New Procurement Process
Wolfgang Müller, Head of the IT Department of the Ministry, says, “The Ministry had no standardized order process. We started in November 2009 by defining the proof of concept for the mobile phone ordering process.”
With the help of Unisys, a business analyst from the Ministry mapped the ordering process using Microsoft Visio Premium 2010. Then he used the SharePoint workflow template in Visio Premium 2010 to author the workflow. Finally, he exported the workflow to Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010, configured it, and then published it to SharePoint Server 2010 as an executable workflow.
The Ministry can export and import workflows between SharePoint Designer 2010 and Visio Premium 2010 without losing data or functionality. Visio Services, a feature of SharePoint Server 2010, enables users to share and view Visio diagrams using a browser. Visio Services also supports the ability to view the status of SharePoint workflows in real time. By using this workflow visualization feature, employees at the Ministry can now easily view the status of each order.
The Ministry found that developing a basic workflow solution with Office 2010 and Visio 2010 was simple and did not require extensive technical expertise. D’Alessio says, “We chose Visio 2010 because of its SharePoint workflow authoring capabilities. With the integration of Visio 2010 and SharePoint Designer 2010, we can develop workflow solutions without coding, so a business analyst without deep technical expertise can easily create a workflow. In addition our employees benefit from the new Visio 2010 Ribbon, which provides easier diagramming capabilities and intuitive navigation with features like Quick Shapes, Live Preview, and Themes. “
The Ministry replaced its paper-based ordering forms with electronic forms it developed using Microsoft InfoPath 2010 information-gathering program. With the prebuilt page and section layouts in InfoPath 2010, the Ministry was able to create forms quickly and publish them by simply clicking ‘Publish Your Form’ in the new Microsoft Office Backstage view. D’Alessio says, “InfoPath 2010 as a design tool is very powerful and intuitive, so it was very easy to build the solution.”
|Figure 1 – Order form created with InfoPath 2010 and purchasing workflow |
visualization in SharePoint Server 2010
When Ministry employees need to order mobile phones or SIM cards, they start on an intranet landing page built in SharePoint Server 2010. Instead of filling out a blank paper form, employees complete an InfoPath order form that is prepopulated with information from the Active Directory service and back-end systems such as Microsoft SQL Server data management software and SAP databases. When employees submit forms, they are routed based on the defined workflow, and managers receive an email message requesting approval in their Microsoft Outlook 2010 inbox. Approved forms are automatically routed to central order administration for processing. At any time, employees can check their order status with SharePoint Server 2010. (See Figure 1.)
The Ministry hopes this new process for procuring mobile phones will serve as the model for purchasing all technology equipment. In the future, the Ministry expects to have more than 100,000 orders per year created via InfoPath forms.
Enabling Collaboration for Investigators
To help its investigation task force share information, the Ministry deployed Microsoft SharePoint Workspace 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010. Investigators can file their reports immediately. And, if they are not connected to the intranet, their reports are stored on SharePoint Workspace 2010 and then synchronized with the team’s SharePoint Server 2010 site as soon as they reconnect to the network. Because SharePoint Workspace 2010 gives access to SharePoint Server 2010 documents and lists offline, investigators are able to view each other’s investigative reports even if they are working remotely without an internet connection.
Andreas Kubat, Group Lead of IT Operations for the Ministry, says, “The check-in/check-out and versioning capabilities help us work together effectively. Our officers can also use the search functionality within SharePoint Workspace 2010 to find the most recent information easily when offline.”
By upgrading to Office 2010 and deploying Visio Premium 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010, the Ministry has developed solutions to two distinct challenges within its organization that were making it difficult for officers to be as efficient as they wanted to be at their jobs. D’Alessio explains, “The new purchasing solution improves our order cycle time, saves us time checking on status, reduces the amount of paper we use, reduces time for us to create orders, and eliminates duplicate orders.” Officers also can complete investigation reports more quickly, ensuring faster resolution of cases.
Faster Purchasing Cycle Time
Police officers, investigators, and other employees of the Ministry can procure mobile phones 66 percent faster with the new ordering process. D’Alessio says, “We frequently experienced time delays of up to six weeks with the old ordering process. We expect to reduce the procurement time to a maximum of two weeks with the new process.” Since forms are stored on the intranet, employees no longer have to search for the paper forms. Employees will also save time completing forms, since information is prepopulated.
||With the workflow and design capabilities in Visio 2010, we reduced the time to develop the solution significantly.
ICT Head, Austrian Ministry of the Interior
Employees can track their order status, so if a request is waiting for a manager’s approval, the employee can prompt his or her manager to take action. Because orders are processed faster and people can check the status, the organization can also eliminate duplicate orders, which helps to save money.
Reduced Paper and Printing Costs
The electronic ordering process will help decrease the amount of paper that employees use and support more sustainable economic development. Although the initial savings is not significant, as the annual order volume increases to 100,000, the Ministry could expect paper and printing costs to decrease by €19,000 (U.S.$24,000) annually.
Reduced Development Costs
Had the Ministry developed its electronic order process using Microsoft Office 2007 and Office SharePoint Server 2007, it would have had to hire a technical expert with Visual Studio and Windows Workflow Foundation skills—an expert who would have commanded a 30 percent higher salary than its current business analysts. Instead, a business analyst easily defined the workflow in Visio 2010 and then imported it into SharePoint Designer. Christian Schieb, Account Manager at Unisys, says, “With Office 2010 and Visio 2010, business analysts without an expert technical skill set can develop workflows for some business processes because it is so easy to transfer workflow designs between Visio 2010 and SharePoint Designer.”
D’Alessio says, “With the workflow and design capabilities in Visio 2010, we reduced the time to develop the solution significantly.” The Ministry estimates that it would have taken five days to implement the workflow in Office 2007, compared to one day with the newer 2010 solution. The development cost was more than 80 percent lower than it would have been if the Ministry had developed the solution in Office 2007 and Office SharePoint 2007.
Faster Completion of Investigation Reports
With the search and offline capabilities of SharePoint Workspace 2010, the investigation task force has improved access to information and investigative reports for its officers. Kubat says, “We have an easy way to work together that helps reduce the time for creating content and reports for the head of the project team.” With investigation reports completed faster, the Ministry can provide better and timelier service to its constituents. The Ministry anticipates deploying SharePoint Workspace to all investigators as rapidly as possible so that others can realize the benefits achieved by the pilot team.
Both the mobile phone ordering process and the SharePoint Workspace solution for investigators are helping information flow smoothly and quickly across the organization. Müller says, “Officers in the field have to do a lot of administrative tasks. Office 2010 and Visio 2010 offers a simple solution for us to create a new workflow in an easy manner and help people work together effectively.”
Microsoft Office 2010
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Microsoft Visio 2010
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