Cloud powered forms reap benefits for UK Councils

13 December 2011 | Gordon McKenzie, Government Solutions Lead, Worldwide Public Sector

When it comes to interacting with government agencies, I am sure many of us think of stacks of complex, multi-page forms asking for information on all sorts of aspects of our lives.

IEG 4, an innovative company based in the UK, is making this a thing of the past for local UK authorities. Through the use of ‘smart forms’ and applications that automate much of the process, as well as integrate with the back office applications normally used by internal staff, IEG 4 is making these interactions easier and far more enjoyable for constituents. But beyond the user experience, these smart forms are also saving local UK authorities a lot of time and money:

  • Reduction in errors from up to 50 percent down to negligible
  • Reduced processing cycle times
  • Direct entry by applicants

The technology is based upon Windows Azure, Microsoft’s Cloud Computing Platform Service. With its dynamic scalability, pervasive deploy-anywhere model Windows Azure dramatically lowers the entry costs for these types of solutions. Another example can be found in my recent post,“Cloud computing helps clean up London,” demonstrating how Windows Azure has enabled a similar transformation for environmental services modernization in London.

Hybrid application architecture

 

The Hybrid Cloud: A Promising Platform for Future ‘Smart Forms’

As shown in the example above from IEG 4, using a hybrid cloud model to support ‘smart forms,’ I believe, offers a compelling platform for cloud-powered application services for government. Instead of hosting the data in the cloud - like the 311 type systems do today - this application uses the cloud as a presentation layer and makes use of SSL encryption to move data between the on-premise legacy application and the user. I believe that the use of a hybrid model like this is going to be the default for many service applications in the foreseeable future as agencies develop trust in the cloud to do more over time.

Have a comment or opinion on this post? Let me know @Microsoft_Gov. Have a question for the author? Please e-mail us at ongovernment@microsoft.com.

Gordon McKenzie
Government Solutions Lead, Worldwide Public Sector

About the Author

Gordon McKenzie | Government Solutions Lead, Worldwide Public Sector

Gordon looks after government service delivery for Microsoft; in fact, he founded the Citizen Service Platform solution framework. He is a board advisor to several start-ups, and has been a strategic technology advisor to the Scottish government.