Making a Move To The Cloud? Start With Your Communications [Blog]

Moving communications to the cloud will help local governments better serve their citizens for less

By now, most of us are aware of the myriad benefits that cloud can bring to diverse local government organisations, but if it is all so simple, we’d have all made the move already?

The reality is that cloud adoption is still slow. A 2018 report from Eduserv and Socitm identified that only 40% of respondents had a cloud strategy in place and that the rate of cloud adoption had only increased 10% in the two preceding years – and on the whole, it’s been for very valid reasons.

Making the move from legacy infrastructure is not without its implications. Like most things, cloud adoption isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution and what works for one organisation, probably won’t work for another. And that’s even before we go on to mention cost implications – which are at the forefront of any new local government initiative.

So as much as a shift to a secure and more agile solution is necessary in order to better serve the UK’s citizens, perhaps what is needed instead is a more staged approach; dipping toes in the water to actually experience some of those benefits and address some of the fears around moving to the cloud in order to provide the confidence and reassurance to continue on with transformation journeys.

A great starting point, which will immediately benefit both internal teams and local residents, would be to consolidate communications systems into the cloud. Or, for those not quite ready to move over entirely from legacy on-premise infrastructures, overlaying a cloud solution to get the best of both worlds.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of a cloud-hosted unified communications (UC) solution.

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Do more with less. Now more than ever, the public sector is expected to achieve more with less. Budgets are limited and resources are strained, yet organisations need to connect with the general public across every channel available. A cloud-hosted UC solution enables employees to be mobile, work remotely from any location and react swiftly to public needs — all with an increased eye on security and reliability — and in a manner that helps you optimise your communications and your budget.

Boost team productivity. Increasing productivity is a top priority for local government in the face of budgetary pressures and constraints. To be truly productive, there must first be a culture of collaboration, which means enabling voice conference calls, video conferencing and web conferencing where teams can share information readily, regardless of location. Employees will become more productive when their communications and collaborations tools allow them to work more effectively. And greater collaboration means better services for local residents, increasing the chances of being able to provide a first-time resolution of issues and enhancing their overall customer service experience.

Initiate flexible digital workplaces. Government workers don’t sit behind desks all day. Employees in local government offices spend much of their day on the road and in the field. Meetings with constituents, environmental or outdoor work and special programs make up a large portion of their day. This means staff need access to communications wherever their duties take them. The move to the cloud takes care of this remote connectivity.

The right communication and collaboration tools can help employees work smarter in order to better serve your citizens – making it possible for employees to work remotely, connect with colleagues and citizens, access the data and resources they need and share information ‘in the moment’ with others, all in one place.

Provide PSN-compliant security. By choosing a solution with no single point of failure and built-in PSN-accredited security, organisations can reduce risks and ensure the privacy and protection of both employees’ and residents’ confidential information and data. A solution that is architected, designed and structurally implemented around CESG Cloud Security Principles to fully comply with government security and information assurance obligations is the ideal.

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With increasing pressure to adopt a cloud-first approach from both central government and from the citizens that government organisations serve – many of whom expect the same digital experience they get when online shopping – relieving some of that pressure lies in finding more effective ways to deliver better services at a lower cost. The question is not should you move to cloud platforms but how, and when?

Daisy’s OnlineUC Unify solution could be the answer.

By overlaying existing productivity tools, local governments can continue to leverage their existing assets while embracing a wealth of additional business capabilities and services. Our solution means the requirements of your organisation, not technology constraints, dictate the pace of your migration and enable added value and a choice of smart service packages up to and including a managed service option. Additionally, PSN-compliant security is built-in, not bolted-on later, which means there is no need to retrospectively apply security controls as a separate task as is often the case with cloud solutions from other vendors.

Adopting cloud-based UC allows local governments to transform its service delivery for both employees and citizens alike. Different parts of the organisation are no longer kept in silos and a steady flow of information between departments is not only possible, but promoted.

Employees in the field or in citizen-facing roles can stay connected, safely accessing data and case documents from mobile devices. For citizens, this means efficient service and queries resolved quickly, and means they can engage with council services when it suits them, anytime, anywhere.

Daisy’s OnlineUC Unify is the secure, scalable option for taking that first step on the road to a more flexible, efficient local government infrastructure.

Lee Hunwick is Head of UC & Communications at Daisy Corporate Services