Putting state-of-the-art technology at the service of local councils
In partnership with POST, SIGI is now deploying the solutions and tools that it provides to local councils from a centralised infrastructure based on OpenStack technologies. This environment is increasingly becoming the standard in the IT community and allows SIGI to more easily adapt its solutions to serve local governments more efficiently and to better envisage the future.
Luxembourg’s councils offer many services to citizens. On a daily basis, they successfully perform a lot of work in very diverse areas, from infrastructure and planning to services to individuals, tourism or sustainable development. All of these processes require robust organisation and management, based not least on suitable IT tools.
IT, a resource for supporting councils
With that in mind, the inter-council IT management association (SIGI) supports elected representatives and council officials in performing their duties by making suitable IT resources available to them.
“Our association serves 101 of the country’s 102 councils”, explained Carlo Gambucci, Director of SIGI. “With our 140 employees, we do all we can to make council services and associated activities ever more efficient. IT is an essential resource for improving local government and the service to citizens. It makes it easier to keep track of the population and facilitates accounting and even water management. We also implement projects to contribute to helping councils develop into smart cities. The aim is to better address all matters relating to the operation of the council through our solutions.”
Transforming the infrastructure with POST
In addition to the 101 local councils, SIGI solutions are used by councils’ child day centres and crèches, the social welfare offices and many other council facilities. Some 800 organisations employing more than 3,000 officials use the tools provided by the association. On a daily basis, this represents more than 30,000 connections to the various different services provided and around 125,000,000 data transactions. SIGI also tracks two million invoices per year.
“To successfully achieve all of this, continuing to support all of these facilities and to allow all of these officials to perform their duties more efficiently, we needed a strong partner capable of helping us to implement and operate a robust infrastructure”, continued Carlo Gambucci. “While we were looking to renew our environment in order to better face the future, we found in POST an operator aligned with our ambitions and objectives to implement a native cloud-based infrastructure based on open source products such as Kubernetes.”
State-of-the-art technology and technical expertise
SIGI is seeking to base the future roll-out of its services on the latest technologies in order so that the business solutions can be distributed in Software as a Service (SaaS) mode and developed in a much more dynamic manner.
“OpenStack technology is used by the largest operators in the IT and software sectors. They implement it through globalised platforms. For us, as we don’t have the same resources, the challenge was to gain expertise in the technology to plan the deployment of modules of our software package from this sort of infrastructure”, explained Carlo Gambucci.
To this end, the groundwork was put in to develop the solutions and to take advantage of the opportunities which their technologies can offer us. First of all, it was necessary to understand how the different software layers of the proposed solutions were structured and the existing dependencies between their modules in order to better plan their redeployment. The other challenge was to acquire the technical expertise of the new environment to ensure that it all works reliably.
“We serve thousands of clients simultaneously. One failure could lead to the country coming to a standstill and we have to do everything to ensure continuity of service” explained the director of SIGI. “Faced with this transformation challenge, with POST, we thought that we had sufficient resources to become experts in this sort of environment, deploy it and maintain it over time.”
44 modules used
POST and SIGI have worked hand-in-hand on this infrastructure transformation project, obtaining expertise together in this new technology. The teams began working on the pilot modules to be rolled out.
“In parallel with the implementation of this new infrastructure, SIGI is in the process of launching a huge transformation programme of the software packages it provides to local councils, which currently totals 44 modules used by the various different services and businesses”, said Carlo Gambucci. “The current version of our project software went into production in 2006. Of course, the tool has evolved since then but not significantly. The aim now is to be able to develop it to better serve our public officials and to align it with current technological standards.”
This project, which began 18 months ago, will be spread over several years. SIGI wanted to plan this redesign by bringing about a fundamental change in approach, based on open source products.
“Our aim is to be closer to our clients and their needs, in order to improve the user experience”, explained the director. “One of the challenges is to develop in a more flexible way over time, taking account, for example, of regulatory changes, stated needs, the political will of elected representatives or emerging risks. To achieve this, we adopted an approach to development and roll-out which was very different from what we have been able to do in the past.”
Focussing on its core business
In terms of the partnership created, POST supports the management of the infrastructure and networks and oversees the correct alignment of available IT resources and requirements. For its part, SIGI can better concentrate its efforts on the configuration of the modules and improving the service delivered to councils.
“In order to ensure the best possible service, facilitating deployment and distribution in SaaS mode of the various different modules and developing them in the best way over time, we have to work hand in hand”, added Carlo Gambucci. “In the implementation of this new approach, we had to proceed in stages: building new modules, putting them into production, checking their operation, altering the modules, seeing how to make them scalable, and so on. This transformation required a strong commitment from both parties to achieve the adjustment in the configuration.”
Cutting-edge local government
Using this new infrastructure, SIGI has increased flexibility to allow it to provide a better service to its users, benefiting from improved cost control and positioning itself at the cutting-edge of this technology.
“In a rapidly changing world, it is crucial to be able to provide competitive solutions to local councils and facilitate their transformation. Just like other stakeholders in society, councils need to be able to access the latest technologies. It is just as important to be able to implement new methodologies. Today, we are migrating to a fully flexible approach” added Carlo Gambucci. “At a team level, this transformation into a centre of expertise has created renewed interest. By working for SIGI, in addition to a stable and local working environment, our employees also have the chance to express themselves better and to flourish by working more independently on the new technologies, serving the users.”
Two partners with the same objectives
POST, as a long-standing partner of SIGI, supports this transformation by taking responsibility for the infrastructure and its security.
“I think that POST noticed that innovative nature of an organisation like ours a long time ago and they have always been interested and involved in our projects”, revealed the director of SIGI. “It is a partner which has always taken the time to understand where we want to go, which shares our vision and which spares no efforts to support us in a long-term manner to achieve our objectives.
It is thanks to the fact that the two operators, in close cooperation, are able to align themselves on long-term common objectives that these sorts of projects can be successfully implemented in Luxembourg.
Other customer testimonials
In order to meet these needs and be able to rely on the latest digital tools, Carbon turned to POST and opted for its ConnectedOffice solution.
The Luxembourg insurance company Foyer is leading a project that will upgrade all of the computing equipment in its network of agents and is even going one step further in the digital mobility of its related intermediaries and their integration into its telephony system.