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API Journal Authors: Rishi Bhargava, John Basso, Liz McMillan, Steven Lamb, Pat Romanski

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How to Become a CIO (Chief Innovation Officer) – Part 2

Part 2 of our Cloud CIO series looks at Shared Services and Outsourcing, by focusing on an example case study of the Province of Ontario.

One of our key goals of the CCN is to showcase leading CIO pioneers of Cloud adoption in Canada, and Ontario is one example, led by visionary CIO Dave Nicoll.

Citizen Service Innovation

Furthermore this case study is very powerful because it also highlights how a shared services approach is an enabler of Part 1 of the series – Technology-enabled strategy.

For government this refers to improving citizen services through better online functionality, and in the case of Ontario they are utilizing powerful Search software (Sharepoint FAST) to enable government agencies to build Service Locator functions into their web sites.

This improves citizen access to government information, greatly improving their online experience and making agencies easier to deal with.

This is part of Ontario’s strategy to leverage Cloud Computing to improve online service delivery. As documented here Ontario is a flagship case study of the Microsoft Private Cloud platform, where CIO Dave Nicholl describes:

Cloud computing is the way of the future. This partnership was a first successful step in the direction toward a better way of using and delivering online services.

BPaaS – Business Process as a Service

This Private Cloud implementation demonstrates the relationship between new Cloud Computing architecture and the role they can play in facilitating new shared service outsourcing models.

Specifically Ontario is pioneering an approach known as BPaaS - Business Process as a Service.

They are using the software to power a ‘Service Location Finder’, a search engine capability that can match a request for ‘Drivers Licence’ to nearby offices that provide this service.

One central installation of FAST software is configured to provide multiple service finders to different departments, providing this specific business process as a shared service.

This means that each department not only avoids the hassles of IT installations and maintenance, but even further they avoid the complexities of software configurations too – Instead they simply consume service at the business process level.

No Wrong Door – Critically this helps unify information from across multiple different agencies, making online service quicker and easier for citizens.  A ‘No Wrong Door’ policy means that a citizen can search on any one of these different sites, but will always get a consistent answer then and there, not be shuttled between departments.

For example searching for Drivers Licence on any number of different sites will link them to the relevant services such as applications, renewals and related processes that are spread across multiple sites.

Conclusion

Shared services is a very well established model for consolidating the needs of multiple organizations into one service delivery unit, in a manner that saves money for all of them, and the type of activity for the more business-oriented CIO to engage in to drive cost reductions.

When key technologies like online Search are implemented this way, there is a double benefit of also increasing customer-centric innovation, a very powerful formula.


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