The transformation of BVO Rijn and Braassem into a fully-fledged governance organisation
Since 2018, the municipalities of ‘Alphen aan den Rijn’ and ‘Kaag en Braassem’ are working together on digitisation and automation through the joint business management organisation, ‘Bedrijfsvoerings-organisatie Rijn & Braassem’ (BVO). This BVO was formed in order to standardise the service, municipal workflows and application landscape. In order to attain these objectives, a stable, safe and compliant infrastructure was needed as well as a switch towards a governance organisation.
Ambitions and challenges
- Improvement of the provision of services to the municipalities of ‘Alphen aan den Rijn’ and ‘Kaag en Braassem’
- Modernisation of the infrastructure
- Relieving strain on technical management, security and governance
- Diminishing focus on recruiting expertise within the organisation through outsourcing
- Consultancy in the change process towards a governance organisation
- A Secure by Design private cloud environment, set up in accordance with Solvinity’s strict, high-level security and compliance standards
- Gradual takeover of the operational governance of chain partners by Solvinity
- Workstation management, (W)LAN network and SOC/SIEM services by subcontractor Axians
Manageable, stable and safe municipal IT
The BVO’s mission is deceptively simple. “IT is not one of the municipality’s core tasks,” says Jos van Weers, Team Manager of Policy, Governance and Information Provision in the BVO. “Even so, IT is essential to operations. This is why the BVO was set up: to provide a single central point of contact for all of the two municipalities’ IT matters.”
The majority of the IT was managed by employees in the in-house data centres. The hefty management burden consumed so many resources that it risked endangering the actual mission: to help the municipalities of ‘Alphen aan den Rijn’ and ‘Kaag en Braassem’ to achieve their objectives. Furthermore, it proved to be a major challenge to build up sufficient technical skill within the team with the redundancy required for business continuity. Therefore, the BVO chose to outsource the management of the IT environment and workstations.
From acting to directing
Task number 1: the collective transformation of the BVO into a governance organisation. Outsourcing does not happen by itself, but requires change in working methods and business processes. It can therefore take some getting used to if you’re no longer ‘at the controls’ as an organisation because you have entrusted that to a supplier.
Before Solvinity could take over the operation governance of other suppliers in the chain, they first entered a consultancy and change process with the BVO in order to prepare the organisation itself for this change. In the initial years, the focus was on straightening out SLA contracts with suppliers, setting up its own governance structure and cultural change. Another priority was thorough documentation.
Together, the BVO and Solvinity developed a fully-fledged governance organisation with clear agreements between the different suppliers. And a solid foundation to evolve into a partnership within a shared ecosystem with added value for the BVO at the core.
Secure and reliable
Solvinity has also strengthened the BVO in technical areas by transferring the infrastructure to the Solvinity private cloud and further transformation to ensure security is better safeguarded. The segmentation is protected in accordance with the NORA methodology by protecting every infrastructure separately with firewalling, network monitoring and access control. Back-ups are made outside the client environment and comprehensive fall-back scenarios have been set up.
Solvinity has implemented further efficiency measures in the likes of lifecycle management, patching and OS management, in which Axians manages (W)LAN networks. “We don’t have to worry about the implementation as much,” says Van Weers. “In that regard, it’s great that we have a strong technological partner.”
Finally, the subcontractor Axians provides support with SOC/SIEM services and workstation management. Together, Solvinity and Axians have ensured that the reliability of the service is kept high, even during disruptions, like the coronavirus crisis. “It seems normal now, but at one time we all had to start working from home. Solvinity supported us well in doing that.”
The public cloud beckons
Following the expiry of the first license period at the start of 2023, the BVO has a secure and reliable private cloud environment, and the organisation is well suited to taking on the role of director. But the work is far from over yet. The partnership with Solvinity has been extended for another four years and will focus on innovation.
The two organisations will concentrate on Saas-ifying the application landscape, modernising the workstation proposition and office automation, improving the WAN network and the migration from private to public cloud. An ambitious challenge, though certainly attainable: “We now know that Solvinity is able to support us in this,” concludes Van Weers.
Download the case study of BVO Rijn and Braassem
BVO Rijn and Braassem
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