Local authorities across the UK are having to deal with reduced budgets as part of the Coalition Government’s moves to cut the public deficit. This means that they are being asked to do more with less, because most are also targeting improved efficiency and productivity so that taxpayers’ cash goes further.
The good news is that with modern technology solutions it is possible to take on budget limitations and still create a working environment that fosters productivity in ways that could not be achieved in the past.
Remote Working and the Cloud
One of the best ways to cut costs and enhance effectiveness in local government is to increase the flexibility of the working environment so that members of staff are not limited solely to solutions which require them to be in the office.
Both private and public sector organisations are coming around to the idea that, by allowing staff to work from home or while out and about, they will be better equipped to tackle these economically challenging times.
Cloud computing can be an asset in this respect because, by running apps and storing data on remotely accessible systems, it is possible for home workers or those on the move to be just as effective as they would be at their desk.
Contemporary cloud computing platforms offer organisations a number of flexible solutions so that a private or public set-up can be harnessed, or a hybrid approach can be taken to deliver the best of both worlds when it comes to security and scalability.
Many forms of communication have migrated to the internet and making voice calls over a broadband connection rather than an analogue land line can be an inexpensive solution to the problems associated with providing adequate telecoms services in a local government setting.
Lower line rental costs, flexible capacities and cheaper internal and external calls are all key benefits of VoIP adoption.
VoIP also provides improved functionality when compared to bog standard telephone services, because it can be hosted in the cloud and thus allow for intelligent call routing. This will allow you to make members of staff accessible from a single number that points to the appropriate device depending on the situation.
As such, it is possible to take calls in the office, on a mobile phone or at home without having to hand out multiple, personal numbers in the process.
By equipping staff members with smartphones, the benefits of the cloud and VoIP are pulled together in a multifunctional package. Modern handsets allow you to send and receive e-mails and instant messages, as well as being able to access web-based services from a fully functioning browser or via dedicated applications.
Smartphones allow people to remain productive when they are out of the office and can be used to harness the cloud and even VoIP services so that there is a continuity between features available in the office and those that fit in the palm of your hand.
Security and Cost
It is worth pointing out that the expense of integrating in-house systems capable of matching the cloud blow for blow would be considerable, which makes it far easier to consider the idea of migrating services to third-party providers in the name of cost efficiency.
The economies of scale which govern the cloud when compared with internal systems also apply to security, with providers far better equipped to protect the physical and virtual integrity of precious information.
Since local governments have suffered embarrassment after serious cases of data loss or theft, looking to a more secure alternative which also saves money is therefore easy to recommend.
This article was written by Daisy Group plc a leading provider of telecommunication and connectivity solutions to small, meduim, corporate and public sector companies. Daisy has helped many organisations relaise cloud computing benefits ; and IP telephony benefits including reducing opex, increased productivity and contingency planning.