Want better citizen services? Spend less (yes, I said LESS)

This information provided by Smart Cities Council Global.
Thu, 2017-03-16 20:00 -- Kevin Ebi

Today's connected citizens prefer digital city services they can access by web or smartphone. And that's great news for cities, because it costs far less to provide services digitally. For instance, Britain’s 2012 Digital Efficiency Report found that the cost of a digital transaction can be 50 times lower than face-to-face and 20 times lower than phone.

That's right — as much as 50 times less expensive to make your citizens happier. The story below has an example from Holland, where the City of Haarlemmemeer slashed costs by 25% when they started switching to digital services. And then saw citizen satisfaction numbers go up.

Now hang on a second. Before you rush off to build apps for citizens, you'll want to take an integrated, holistic approach. Yes, you may still choose to start with just one or two services. But if you think things through first, you can launch those starters in a way that lets you easily extend them and easily add new apps.

You can do that at least two ways. One is to buy a suite of starter apps that's built on a platform. You can then use that platform to customize the starter apps and to build new ones.

Another is to team with a company that can pull things together, working with individual vendors to integrate their offerings. That's the route chosen by Haarlemmemeer, who worked with Council Associate Partner Huawei.

How much could your city save by adding digital city services? Isn't it time to get started? — Jesse Berst

Like many cities, Haarlemmermeer is short-staffed. The city in North Holland has about one city employee per nearly 150 residents. That gap isn’t quite that big in many other cities in the Netherlands.

But Haarlemmermeer is closing the performance gap by helping its staff to be more effective. It worked with Council Lead Partner Huawei to implement an agile government platform that’s already delivering strong results. (Huawei will talk about the work at CeBIT, March 20-24 in Hannover, Germany.)

Why common platforms work
Much of the performance boost has come from bringing multiple systems together. Huawei worked with many vendors to bring them together into one system that’s based on its Agile Government Campus Solution.

This universal platform makes it easier to manage the network and improves security by greatly reducing the number of systems that need to be protected. Further, the use of Huawei’s Software-Defined Networking technologies boosted performance more by enabling some automated management and improving overall network flexibility.

City sees strong ROI
It didn’t take long for Haarlemmermeer to see results from networking improvements. The city has already cut operational costs by 25%.

But the initiative wasn’t just about cutting costs. Citizens are getting better service from the city — and they are noticing. Citizen satisfaction surveys have already shown marked improvement as city staff spend less time on administrative tasks and more time providing visible services.