Today’s post was written by Terra Milles, communication manager and public information officer at King County.
In King County, our customer service policy is “No wrong door.” This means that when a citizen reaches any County employee, that employee will ensure the citizen is directed promptly to someone who has the answer. . To make this happen, we need technology that connects and enables our employees—Microsoft OneDrive for Business and Microsoft SharePoint Online are key tools in our communications and collaboration portfolio.
King County has the largest population in Washington State: it’s home to the city of Seattle and nearly two million people. We have 14,000 employees working in more than 250 offices, which is a lot of people in a lot of places to connect at a moment’s notice.
Increasingly, employees are using OneDrive for Business to store project plans, schedules, videos, and any other kind of file. This helps them collaborate across departments and devices to find what they need to respond to citizens and colleagues. Information is not buried on employee’s computers; it’s in the cloud—well organized and available securely, to everyone who needs it.
Using Office 365 search capabilities, we can quickly find the information and people leading to that “right door.” We use the presence feature in Skype for Business to see if the author of a document is available online, so we can reach out to them in real-time as needed.
Cloud-based document access is especially important as our employees become more mobile, particularly field employees who often don’t work in offices or at desks. It’s important for them to be able to access documents from anywhere, using any device. With Office 365 and OneDrive for Business, they have that flexibility.
We recently used OneDrive for Business and Microsoft Dynamics CRM to build an application that helps us coordinate and respond to public information requests. The application is now used by more than 60 County staff members in various executive branch and elected agencies and it’s an example of how we can build one integrated platform for wide-ranging deployment. As a public entity, we must respond to all public disclosure requests, and this new application offers greater efficiencies than previous siloed response and collection methods. We use OneDrive for Business to store records and utilize the permissions function to coordinate across agencies.
Together, OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online serve as our information-sharing backbone. We have hundreds of SharePoint sites that teams use to organize and manage projects ranging from internal coordination to event planning to large-scale information technology initiatives.
We also use SharePoint Online as the foundation for our new intranet, which has become the gold standard in demonstrating to internal groups what they can do with the SharePoint service. Our intranet portal enables our staff to find employee news and spotlights, featured jobs, an events calendar, a photo of the week, and quick links to tools such as PeopleSoft, Healthy Incentives and training. They can also use the How Do I…, Work Tools and Employee Tools menus to access a wide range of county resources; check their department, agency, or division site (new or existing), bookmark their most frequently used intranet and SharePoint sites; and look up colleagues quickly using People Search.
As a government entity, we have limited resources, so standardizing on Office 365 services such as OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online helps us reduce complexity and costs, as well as maximize our IT resources. We can also meet government security standards for cloud based data, such as HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and CJIS (Criminal Justice Information Services Division of the FBI) using the Microsoft Azure Government cloud.