4-page Case Study - Posted 6/7/2013
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Western Cape Government

South African Province Quickly Refreshes IT, Builds Value with Strategic Guidance

When the Western Cape Government (WCG) embarked on an ambitious project to refresh its technology, it chose to have Microsoft Services by its side. It engaged the Microsoft Services Enterprise Strategy team to provide strategic planning and architectural design assistance and Microsoft Services Consulting to guide the deployment of a wide range of Microsoft software. Once the core infrastructure was in place, the WCG was able to realize business value by building performance management and other business solutions on top of it. By teaming with Microsoft Services, the WCG reduced the risk of a significant technology change, helped the IT staff communicate with business stakeholders, and improved the WCG’s return on investment. Because of their government’s successful technology refresh, Western Cape citizens will enjoy greater government efficiency and a range of new online services.

“The only sustainable way to beat poverty is by creating opportunities for growth and jobs. This insight informs our strategy, which is this: to shift resources and energy into the creation of growth and job opportunities without compromising our ability to deliver better outcomes in health, education, and social development.”
—Helen Zille, Premier, Western Cape Province, South Africa, speech to Western Cape Provincial Legislature, February 17, 2012

Realizing Premier Zille’s goals largely depends on the effective use of modern information and communications technology by the Western Cape Government (WCG), which serves the 5.3 million citizens of the Western Cape province of South Africa. The WCG works closely with the national government and municipalities in the Western Cape to ensure that citizens have access to the services, facilities, and information they need.

In 2009, many WCG IT systems were outdated and unstable. The government needed more modern IT capabilities to help it operate more efficiently and to roll out electronic services that would enable better interaction with its citizens. Specifically, the WCG needed to refresh its core infrastructure and then implement a business intelligence (BI) system, performance management system (PMS), and enterprise project management (EPM) system that would help it track and meet key performance indicators (KPIs) in all areas of the WCG.

After a thorough evaluation of core infrastructure and productivity programs, the WCG decided to standardize on Microsoft software. “Because we had limited Microsoft skills in house, we decided that we needed outside help to mitigate and share the risk of the transition,” says Lance Williams, Chief Information Officer of Western Cape Government.

The WCG chose Microsoft Services to help it upgrade its infrastructure. “By engaging with Microsoft Services, my staff could focus on business requirements while Microsoft could deal with technology and support issues and bring in expertise as needed,” Williams says.

* With our Enterprise Architect’s help, we’ve been able to speak the language of business and communicate these very complex IT architectures and methodologies in terms the business can understand. *

Lance Williams
Chief Information Officer, Western Cape Government

First Step: Refresh Core Infrastructure

The WCG engaged the Microsoft Services Enterprise Strategy team to help its IT staff create a planning and deployment roadmap that spanned a three-year period and to identify the best deployment approach to minimize risk and maximize return on investment (ROI). The Enterprise Strategy team assigned the WCG an Enterprise Architect who provided strategic guidance and helped the IT organization become familiar with Microsoft products and prepare employees for the platform change.

The Enterprise Architect coordinated the Microsoft product teams involved to make sure that they understood what the WCG was trying to accomplish, and ensured alignment across the customer’s teams to make sure that they understood how the changes would affect them. He worked with the WCG executive leadership to help it understand how the WCG could save money by taking full advantage of its Microsoft licensing.

With a strategic plan, timetable, and architecture in hand, the WCG engaged Microsoft Services Consulting to guide its deployment of the various Microsoft infrastructure and productivity programs—work that unfolded over the next 24 months. Microsoft Services Consulting team members led the design and architecture efforts, involving WCG staff members at each step to build in-house capability and ultimately ensure sustainability.

The WCG deployed a host of Microsoft software, beginning with the Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter and Enterprise operating systems, the Active Directory Domain Services directory service, Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 messaging software, Microsoft System Center data center solutions, Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 collaboration software, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 database software, and Microsoft Enterprise Project Management 2010. The WCG also upgraded its 14,500 desktops from the Windows XP operating system to the Windows 7 operating system and to Microsoft Office 2010.

To provide support during the deployment of so many products, the Enterprise Architect recommended that the WCG bring onboard dedicated support engineers from the Microsoft Services Premier Support organization to provide on-site support. During the second year of the infrastructure refresh, the WCG engaged four of these engineers to help its operations teams preemptively resolve issues and establish best operational practices.

Next: Realize Business Value by Creating Business Solutions on Core Infrastructure
Once the core infrastructure was in place, the WCG began to think about its three big projects—BI, PMS, and EPM. After consulting with the Microsoft Services Enterprise Architect, it realized that it would not have to procure and implement three separate, third-party products for these systems. Instead, it could achieve much of the functionality in these three areas by utilizing the Microsoft software it had invested in—in the process saving money and getting more value from its Microsoft license.

The WCG asked Microsoft for performance-management references with other government organizations. Microsoft introduced the WCG to another customer who was implementing a new performance management system based on Microsoft software and using Microsoft Services for guidance and implementation assistance. Representatives from the WCG visited this customer, and the visit resulted in the WCG contracting with Microsoft to implement a performance management system. The Enterprise Architect helped the WCG define the project roadmap, ascertain business benefits, and determine the support impact on the IT organization, as well as provided technical expertise.

The new performance management system will automate the capture of KPIs across the government and allow managers to enter target KPIs for each upcoming year and track them electronically. This will result in all government departments having the ability to measure and monitor their progress and ultimately contribute to improved citizen services.

By partnering with Microsoft Services, the WCG was able to reduce the risk of a significant shift in technologies, help the IT staff communicate its goals to business stakeholders, and rapidly realize business value from core technology investments. It also improved its target ROI and enhanced the reputation of the IT organization across the government. The ultimate beneficiaries of this successful technology rollout will be Western Cape citizens, who will enjoy greater government transparency, efficiency, effectiveness, and a range of new electronic services built on this foundation.

* By engaging with Microsoft Services, my staff could focus on business requirements while Microsoft could deal with technology and support issues and bring in expertise as needed. *

Lance Williams
Chief Information Officer, Western Cape Government

Reduce the Risk of a Complete Change in Infrastructure

With Microsoft Services, the WCG gained a partner to share the risk of a major technology transition and help it realize full business value from its infrastructure investment. “Our relationship with Microsoft Services was very successful,” Williams says. “Our Enterprise Architect spent time with us proactively identifying and addressing risks and resolving potential issues. This approach resulted in us being able to optimally utilize our time and resources during deployment. This project has gone so smoothly, and the results have been so visible, that the provincial government has doubled its IT investment in the last five years. This shows its confidence in the IT organization’s ability to deliver cost-effective solutions and add value to the organization.”

Help IT Speak the Language of Business
The Microsoft Enterprise Architect also helped the WCG IT organization communicate its goals and objectives to a wide range of stakeholders, from politicians to department heads, treasury staff, and rank-and-file employees. “With our Enterprise Architect’s help, we’ve been able to speak the language of business and communicate these very complex IT architectures and methodologies in terms the business can understand,” Williams says. “Whether advising our Premier about a new tablet computer or having technical discussions with third-party providers, the Enterprise Architect could contribute and add value. Without this assistance, we’d have had some difficulty soliciting the organization’s support for all of our initiatives and convincing the organization that we were a credible and competent partner. We see Microsoft Services as a strategic partner and consult with them extensively when making key decisions.”

Realize Rapid Business Value from New Infrastructure
The WCG was also able to rapidly realize business value from its core infrastructure investment through the help of Microsoft Services. “There was the expectation in our organization that we would have to make a significant investment in third-party tools to create additional services,” Williams says. “But because the architecture that Microsoft Services created for us was so flexible and so many Microsoft products were included in our license, we were able to plug in BI and PMS systems on top of our core infrastructure and significantly speed up implementation and reduce third-party and integration complexities.”

Improve the Return on Investment
The WCG realized a faster return on its technology investment due to its Enterprise Strategy agreement. When Williams’s staff ran initial ROI figures at the start of the project, they projected an ROI of 17 percent in the first year of the project. But by using Microsoft Services and more broadly adopting Microsoft software than originally planned, the ROI improved to 23 percent.

* Our Enterprise Architect put us in touch with considerable expertise across the Microsoft organization. *

Lance Williams
Chief Information Officer, Western Cape Government

“Notwithstanding the above, there are many nonmonetary measures that show that the organization has felt a substantial improvement in technology services,” Williams says. Some examples include the province’s IT governance rating, which has improved significantly since deploying these new technologies. “Our user satisfaction rating has improved from 58 percent to 72 percent,” Williams says. “We are now able to remotely access workstations to provide support and have standardized workstations. Our service-desk response times have improved from an average of seven days in 2009 to three days in 2013.” These metrics indicate that the WCG is delivering services more efficiently and effectively.

Gain Single-Point Access to Deep and Broad Expertise
By working with Microsoft Services, the WCG gained easy access to deep and broad expertise across Microsoft—and beyond Microsoft, capturing best practices from other customers. “Of the significant number of Microsoft Services people that we’ve dealt with over the years, they’ve all been extremely capable,” Williams says. “When there were challenges, we’ve been able to escalate within Microsoft with one point of contact. Our Enterprise Architect put us in touch with considerable expertise across the Microsoft organization.”

The Microsoft Services team also made sure that it transferred knowledge to the WCG staff. “I really needed Microsoft to get my team excited about the new Microsoft landscape, and they did that,” Williams says. “We invested significantly in retraining our staff to the Microsoft toolset, and Microsoft gave us dozens of best-practice operating procedures to make sure our team is able to manage the infrastructure.”

Deliver Better Online Services to Citizens
The ultimate beneficiaries of a more sophisticated technology infrastructure are Western Cape citizens, who will enjoy more responsive and transparent government services, many delivered online. “You can’t evolve to an organization that provides citizen-centric services without the right technology foundation,” Williams says. “These higher-level services rely on a modern infrastructure, which we now have and were able to put in place relatively quickly. The exciting part for us has just begun.”

Microsoft Services
Microsoft Services is the strategy, consulting, and support organization of Microsoft. We are the architects, consultants, engineers, and support professionals, who with our partners, help customers make the most of their Microsoft technologies.

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For More Information
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For more information about Western Cape Government, visit the website at:

Solution Overview

Organization Size: 70000 employees

Organization Profile
The Western Cape Government (WCG) creates laws for and provides services to the 5.3 million citizens in the Western Cape province of South Africa. The WCG is based in Cape Town and employs more than 70,000 people.

Business Situation
The WCG wanted to refresh its outdated IT infrastructure to improve government efficiency and transform government services for the benefit of citizens.

The WCG partnered with Microsoft Services to create a strategic plan, design a flexible architecture, and implement a host of new core infrastructure and performance management technologies.

  • Reduce the risk of a significant technology change
  • Help IT speak the language of business
  • Realize rapid business value
  • Improve return on investment
  • Deliver efficient citizen-centric services

Software and Services
  • Microsoft Enterprise Strategy Services
  • Active Directory Domain Services
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2010
  • ITAP Advisor
  • Microsoft Consulting Services
  • Microsoft Services Premier Support
  • Enterprise Strategy Program
  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2
  • Microsoft System Center
  • Windows 7
  • Microsoft Office 2010 Suites

Vertical Industries
National Government Agencies

South Africa

Business Need
Support and Services

IT Issue
Software + Services


Microsoft Services