With low oil prices putting local government spending in Norway under pressure, Hamarøy kommune wanted to continue to enable its employees with data-driven services while reducing costs.
Hamarøy kommune embraced collaboration in the cloud, helping it avoid the outlay of deploying new servers, reduce operational costs and empower employees to work together more effectively.
12person-days saved every year by reducing the need for on-site IT support visits
Avoidsthe capital cost of procuring new server and storage infrastructure
Cutsoperational costs and enhances employee collaboration
Business challenge story
Cutting costs, protecting service quality
In the wake of the global economic slowdown, local government bodies around the world face the tough challenge of maintaining high-quality service delivery on leaner budgets. In Norway, where falling oil prices are adding to the pressure, municipalities are looking for innovative ways to achieve more with less.
Sverre Tor Olsen, IT Manager at Hamarøy kommune, takes up the story: “Hamarøy municipality has the same government structure as any city in Norway, but on a smaller scale. Our employees are responsible for providing a wide range of services, including childcare, education, healthcare and highways. We aim to save money on everything we do—from procuring essential supplies for schools and healthcare facilities, to operational expenditure on things like travel.
“Hamarøy is sparsely populated, and many of the 15 government services in the area are at least a half-hour drive away from one another. For that reason, IT is very important to help our 200 employees work together effectively, even when they are in different locations.
“In the past, our approach to collaboration was based mainly on email and phone calls. These methods made it difficult for groups of people to discuss issues in depth, which meant it was often necessary for them to travel for face-to-face meetings—increasing our costs.”
He continues: “Travel costs were also a challenge for the IT department. Because we relied on an on-premises email infrastructure, our team often needed to drive out to perform essential patching, maintenance and user support. We knew that the time we were spending driving around the municipality was time that we could be spending on higher-value tasks to help people living in Hamarøy, and we were keen to find a more efficient way of working.”
Migrating to collaboration in the cloud
For many years, Hamarøy kommune relied on IBM® Notes® and IBM Domino® to deliver email, calendaring and meeting room reservations. Based on its positive experiences with the platform, the organization decided to embrace IBM Connections™ Cloud for enhanced, cost-efficient collaboration.
“We see that the cloud model has reached maturity, and many other local government organizations in Norway use it as a trusted route to reduce costs while adding new functionality for their users,” Olsen explains.
“We realized that replacing our on-premises email environment with the IBM SmartCloud® Notes and IBM Verse™ services in IBM Connections Cloud would allow us to decommission a number of virtual servers. This frees up compute and storage resources in our estate, and reduces the need to purchase new physical hardware as we add new business services for the municipality.”
He adds: “Better still, IBM Connections offers enterprise-class collaboration tools such as communities, wikis, video conferencing and more, which enable groups of employees to have rich discussions without traveling long distances to meet in person. And because the entire environment is delivered from the cloud, there is less need for the IT team to travel out to our employees to provide technical support—we can do everything we need via a web browser.”
Working together with a consultant from IBM, Hamarøy kommune migrated its users from the on-premises environment to IBM Connections Cloud.
“The migration to the cloud was one of the easiest projects I have done—the entire process went very smoothly,” recalls Olsen. “All our users kept their old mailboxes, and IBM provided the support and guidance we needed every step of the way.
“Our IBM consultant was extremely helpful, and delivered the guidance we needed to get up and running quickly. We adopted the ‘train the trainer’ model, and ran a short session to train 15 superusers from across the municipality, who in turn trained their peers. IBM Connections Cloud is extremely intuitive from a user interface perspective, and we were impressed by how easy it was for our people to make the switch.”
Helping employees to deliver outstanding public services
Today, Hamarøy kommune’s 200 employees are embracing IBM Connections Cloud to communicate and collaborate, which is helping the municipality achieve its objectives of reducing costs while boosting service quality.
“Without a doubt, our new approach to working is saving us substantial time on travel,” continues Olsen. “Capabilities such as collaborative document editing make it far easier for people across the organization to work together. In the IT department alone, we estimate that we are saving 12 person-days per year simply because we no longer need to travel out on site to assist users with issues such as logging in or resetting their passwords; we can administer everything from the cloud.”
The municipality has now deactivated some of its virtual servers, making infrastructure resources available for service development.
“We deliver 25 applications to serve employees across the municipality, and we are currently planning a major upgrade of the underlying operating systems,” says Olsen. “This project will lay the foundation for new data-driven services for employees across Hamarøy. Reclaiming disk space makes this important work possible without purchasing a new physical server, which enables us to contain our costs.”
With collaboration in the cloud, the municipality is driving other cost-saving measures more efficiently—empowering it to achieve more with less.
“Our business leaders use the IBM Connections Cloud mobile app a great deal in their day-to-day work, and the response from across the organization has been extremely positive,” Olsen comments.
“Hamarøy municipality is part of a purchasing cooperative with more than 20 members. By entering into shared purchasing agreements, we gain economies of scale and secure lower prices for the materials we need to keep the municipality running smoothly.
“Today, we use an IBM Connections Cloud community to distribute the minutes of purchasing group meetings, and detailed information about new purchasing agreements. By creating a single space to manage our purchasing needs, we can spend less time on repetitive administration tasks and more time ensuring that every employee in the municipality has the resources they need to perform their role effectively.”
Olsen concludes: “Our goal is to ensure that every person living in Hamarøy has access to high-quality public services. Thanks to our IBM collaboration platform, we can enable our employees with the data-driven services they need to serve the community effectively.”
About Hamarøy kommune
Established in 1838, Hamarøy kommune is a municipal government organization in Nordland county, Norway. The municipality is responsible for the provision of primary education, outpatient health services and social services, as well as infrastructure services such as zoning and road maintenance.
- ESS: Connections Cloud S1 (SaaS)
- ESS: SmartCloud Notes (SaaS)
- ESS: IBM Verse (SaaS)
Take the next step
To learn more about IBM Connections, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/marketplace/ibm-connections
IBM Business Partner Brainworker is a leading social business consulting agency based in Norway. It specializes in providing consultancy, training, and workshops that help social enterprises realize their maximum potential and achieve optimum effectiveness with digital collaboration solutions.