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In 2015, the Province of Fryslân was one of the first provinces to start the movement to the cloud. Currently, they run around 300 applications (estimated) located within the triangle of third party SaaS applications, Microsoft Cloud and the on-premise data center. This progressive construction requires an identical approach to digital integration.
This is why the province has opted for an architecture that offers them the desired flexibility and security. They use Enable U’s Managed Integrations platform, which gives them insight into the number of connected systems and the status of these connections. In addition, the powerful 2Secure gateway is used to connect directly to the various systems and if protocol and message transformation is not required, intervention of the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) is avoided. Since the province also wants absolute guarantees that the entire chain of connections is available, monitoring is done by using functional management in Managed Services of Enable U.
Tony: “As a province, we led the way in 2015 with our cloud-first strategy, which is now commonplace in many government organizations. We have been outsourcing our technical and network management for a long time because we don’t want to worry about upgrades and services. We want to be unburdened and therefore carefully select our suppliers. Release management is an important aspect. And also, an active community of users improves the product so you get the immediate benefits yourself. Next, we look at information security and how you can access your data to analyze and report. This should always be an open structure.”
The province itself has experienced that the shift to cloud does not mean that integration is suddenly a lot easier. Tony: “Any integration problems you have simply move with you and can even become more complex because of the hybrid cloud environment. Also, there are additional legal aspects involved such as processing agreements, having an exit strategy, etc. That is why an integration specialist with knowledge of the market is a big advantage. You simply can’t do without specific technical and market knowledge for an integration process. In addition, there are also legislative processes such as the Environment and Planning Act that play a role. There is no “one size fits all” solution.”
After the transition to the Cloud and outsourcing the technical management of the data center and networks, the Province of Fryslân was looking for a supplier that was able to take the burden of developing, securing and managing their integrations. Jans: “In 2016, we started looking for a vendor that provides out-of-the-box integrations with national facilities such as the Digital Message Box for civilians. We chose Enable U because they offer the most up to date integrations with governmental systems.” Tony: “The knowledge of Enable U is a great added value. Bottlenecks of connections and experience with integration processes are things that you want a partner to take you by the hand and guide you.”
What are concrete applications of these integrations within the Managed Integrations platform and which applications specifically does the Province of Fryslân interface with? Tony: “For example, the asset management system iAsset (for roads, cycle paths, bridges, overpasses) uses the BGT, a system where all large scale topographic information is stored. This enables the province to manage large (outdoor) assets in an integrated way. Everything from object management and inspection to maintenance, notifications, malfunctions and calamity management in public space.”
Does the Province of Fryslân see a shift in the way governments work? What has changed compared to 5 years ago? Tony: “Many concepts have been around for a long time; Microservices, containers, principles from Common Ground/NLX etc. However, the question is, do you want to delve into this yourself as an organization or trust a partner to inform and guide you? We are not a software development organization and may not be close enough to the (technical) developments in the market. In addition, Enable U has a large share in the government market and already developed solutions can therefore be quickly deployed and reused at other organizations.” Jans adds: “Previously, as a functional manager, I followed various training courses to get to know the products of Enable U and to work with them. This is now outdated; it’s specialist work that requires dedicated staffing, otherwise it just costs too much time and money.”
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