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George Municipality took advantage of the massive growth in the use of cellphones in South Africa and launched a groundbreaking Municipal APP in 2017. The APP allows for easy and direct communication with the municipality, increases citizen engagement to enable effective and relevant service delivery.  The App is basically platform independent and works on Web “HTML”, Android “JAVA”, IOS “Swift or objective-C” and more.

To fulfill the smooth delivery of these important civic duties, it relies on availability of the APP – software that is now easier and cheaper to support after a strategic move to Microsoft cloud swiftly carried out by a trusted Microsoft Partner, BUI.

Business Challenge / Innovation

Budget constraints are common in the public sector and finding inventive ways of provisioning tech services to help taxpayers has become a necessity for administrators.  George Council committed to transparent and accessible communication with it’s citizens. The APP provides an additional communication channel for the public to make use of and gives its citizens a real opportunity to take an active part in municipal processes.  The need and strategy to start moving certain workloads from on-premises datacenters to Azure was an obvious choice with immediate benefits. Migrating a high-performance Application to Azure with zero downtime and continually protecting customer data is of the utmost importance.

Benefits

By migrating to the Azure platform, George Municipality improved its business by exposing Azure’s development ecosystem to the larger Microsoft intelligent cloud. This resulted in immediate cost savings, improved uptime, better flexibility and integration, and superior performance. They also found the Azure platform user-friendly, and are now reaping the rewards of accessing the most secure cloud platform in the world.

“This is service delivery truly taking place in the palm of your hand,” said George ICT Manager Vicky Bridge.

This is just the start for this APP, and George intends to provide many new features that will, amongst other things, allow citizens to view and pay their municipal bill from their phone or any device they access the APP from. To manage authentication and identity, the APP requires the user to register with their phone number and password.

Microsoft Azure was chosen because it provides better integration than the other services that were considered, and because it already has a local presence, with data centres being set up in South Africa as well as previous investments with Microsoft. At this stage George is using the PaaS model, and looking to expand in the near future. Enterprise PaaS provides a self-service portal for managing computing infrastructure from centralized IT operations and the platforms that are installed on top of the hardware.

Other Customer Benefits include

  • Infrastructure as Code
  • Continuous integration / Continuous delivery
  • Test, staging, and production environments