Municipality of Monza
In 2014, the Municipality of Monza began to develop its IT services with an investment plan of several million euros suggested and launched by the Mayor of Monza, Roberto Scanagatti, and Councillor Egidio Longoni. The plan involved a complete network upgrading with a new server farm, Cloud-based services for citizens and efficient collaboration tools for the city’s administration staff. As regards the technology to be used, the Municipality of Monza decided not to resort to open source systems, since the benefits in terms of cost-effectiveness, operativeness, security and solidity of the Microsoft platform had proven evident already in the short and medium term.
Ferdinando Abate, who is in charge of implementing the digital agenda of the Municipality of Monza, explained how the Cloud-based services of Microsoft Office 365 fully meet the requirements of the municipal administration. “The proprietary messaging system that had been used until then did not meet the current minimum requirements, and communication between the staff and citizens was proving ineffective,” says Abate. “The inadequacy of the mail platform, our users’ requests and the availability of affordable technology services convinced us that it was indeed time to invest in technology. We therefore immediately took action with the transition from 200 to 800 workstations equipped with personal mailboxes.”
The Municipality of Monza endorsed the Microsoft Office 365 services by implementing, with the support of the Microsoft Gold Partner SoftJam, the Exchange On-Line features for all users. The IT department informed the Microsoft Corporation laboratories of a critical Cloud platform issue in the management of attachments to Certified E-mails. Italy was the only European country affected by this issue, which was fixed with a patch. A second critical issue concerned the way users, who were already familiar with the old mail client, would approach the dynamic interface of the new collaboration tools. “With the widespread availability of Cloud platforms, users will simply have to get used to feature updates and unplanned interfaces.” comments Abate. “But, in most cases, the new features can be learnt quite quickly.”
SoftJam, first, trained the IT staff in order to ensure that it could be autonomous in supplying the new services. Then, it held some workshops in which were investigated – along with users, technicians and executives – all the possible scenarios that could occur when using the new applications. The Municipality of Monza, with the acquisition of Office Web App, SharePoint On-Line, Lync On-Line and Office Professional Plus services, has started running tests for its intranet – once again in partnership with SoftJam – predicting a release in the next few months. In the meantime, the application virtualisation of 400 workstations on Microsoft Hyper-V technology has begun, integrated with other vendor systems such as the Veeam backup. Moreover, the IT department is now evaluating migrating the database platform from Oracle to Microsoft SQL Server, since the system currently produced has shown technical and licensing issues in the transition to a virtual environment.
By endorsing the Microsoft Office 365 services, the reduced system activity, customisation and number of technical support contracts has ensured savings and less use of IT resources for application management. The municipal employees and executives are highly pleased with the new communication features and are well aware of the potential of the new collaboration tools. Municipal executives can now use a smartphone or tablet outside of the office, whereas the 40 municipal offices located in the area of Monza have managed to improve procedures and the circulation of information, documents and official acts thanks to the new Microsoft Office 365 platform.
Tests on Lync video conferencing and citizen communication through the Yammer social platform will soon be launched. “The development process of our IT platform is becoming more and more defined, and this project covers all modes of interaction between municipal staff and citizens, in addition to carrying out a major migration of mailboxes.” concludes Ferdinando Abate.