Editor’s Note:Today’s post is from C-suite duo Colin Jones, CTO, and Ben McMullen, CIO, ofService NSW, an agency that helps residents of New South Wales, Australia, connect online and in person with government services. The agency uses Google Chrome Enterprise, Chromebooks and G Suite to reduce IT administration and costs, and to give employees more work flexibility.
When you replace inefficient technology with easy-to-manage tools, you become inspired to build on your success. That’s what we found after we adopted Chrome OS to run our government customer-service kiosks. Once we saw how easy it was to manage and use our kiosks, we started to look for ways to use Chrome OS more widely. By bringing Chrome Enterprise into our offices as well as our customer storefronts, we found we could reduce IT workload, trim network costs, and most importantly, help our employees work better together.
Our journey started with a goal to improve customer service. At 130 Service NSW locations across New South Wales, people can use self-service kiosks for 1,200 types of transactions, like obtaining driver’s licenses and ordering birth certificates. The kiosks offer a much faster way for people to request these services compared to standing in line. Our customers love using them, and since Service NSW launched in 2013, we’ve completed about 70 million transactions.
Before switching to Chrome OS in 2015, our kiosks ran on a legacy OS that lacked reliable remote service features. When kiosks needed repairs or upgrades, field support agents had to visit offices and spend a couple of hours rebuilding hard drives. This meant that kiosks could be out of service for as long as two days.
Once we purchased 800 Chromebase all-in-one desktop computers, we immediately found Chrome Enterprise reduced our costs, streamlined IT management and increased security. Over a six-month period in 2015, we estimated that Chromebases required only 5 percent of the support hours we were spending on the Microsoft devices previously in use.
Because our kiosks didn’t need as much maintenance and could often be repaired or upgraded remotely, their uptime improved, giving customers more kiosks to use. And with kiosks more readily available for users, Chrome OS is helping us meet our goal of performing 70 percent of all transactions digitally by 2019. As we moved resources to the cloud, we found we no longer needed costly private WAN networks for each service location, only broadband and Wi-Fi. Eliminating private networks is an enormous savings by itself. When you add in the savings on devices and IT management, we’re targeting reducing our operational costs by 46 percent per year.
As a result of our successes with Chrome OS in our service locations, we began replacing legacy desktops and software at our head office locations with Chromebooks and G Suite. We're actively rolling out Chromebooks and G Suite to all of our staff in the next 12 months.
In our offices, we see the same reduction in cost and IT administration that we experienced with the kiosks. We also realized that we can give employees much more flexibility in the ways that they work. Their applications and files are in the cloud, so they can do their jobs from any place that has internet connectivity, instead of being tied to an office. And G Suite helps employees save the time they used to spend traveling to other offices. Collaboration has increased now that our employees can work from any device, anywhere, and be productive.
As a result of all of this, Chrome OS has become our digital platform of choice at Service NSW. We’ve recently purchased 1,200 additional Chrome OS devices to replace the remaining Windows desktops at all of our service locations. We expect that we’ll continue to see the same dramatic savings in costs and admin time that we’ve already experienced with our kiosks—and our employees will get the benefits of working in the cloud.
What started as a journey to make our customer experience faster and easier became a solution that made our employee experience faster and easier as well. As we continue on this journey, we’re expecting to see even more positive effects on costs, IT workload, and worker flexibility in the future.