City of Kansas City empowers employees, provides better services with Office 365

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Today’s post was written by Mary J. Miller, deputy director and CIO, City of Kansas City.

city-of-kansas-city-pro-pixI love living in Kansas City because it gives me the best of both worlds: a friendly, small-town feel with big city benefits. As deputy director and CIO at the City of Kansas City, I make sure our 4,300 employees get the same multifaceted benefits from their technology as they do from their city: applications that are powerful yet easy to use, cost-effective yet leading-edge. Today, our unique needs as a municipality are being met with Microsoft Office 365 and we are in a better position to provide the digital capabilities and responsive service that our citizens deserve.

What I like best about the Office 365 E5 suite is the peace of mind I get. Ours is a strictly controlled environment and our challenge as a government is to provide employees with the technology they are used to using in their everyday lives, while still maintaining our high standards of security. Office 365 helps us walk this fine line. We use Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection as another layer of security, helping to make employees’ inboxes more secure. The ease of deploying Safe Links and the added protection we now enjoy means we are no longer worrying about employees clicking on unsafe links: this is great business value. With the most comprehensive Office 365 offering, the E5 suite, we can expand our Data Loss Protection and multi-factor authentication capabilities, making our payroll and employee portals more secure than ever.

Increased mobility has been another huge benefit for us. In the past, our field employees would have to drive to a nearby fire station to get on the city network if they wanted to access their documents or email messages. Today, with Office 365 and OneDrive for Business, they access the information they need on any device, anywhere. For example, our field inspectors tasked with ensuring that any remodeling or electrical work complies with our building codes, no longer have to carry paper documents or check in periodically at the office to read email, make appointments or upload photos. This is a great example of the digital transformation that we can achieve with Office 365: now staff can stay out in the field all day, providing more efficient services than ever before.

From my perspective, it’s great that we can provide better business and analytics tools, such as Power BI for Office 365, to empower our employees. We used to create charts and graphs manually, but today we are optimizing operations with ease—everything from rate of employee turnover, to how long we take to fill a pothole, to ambulance response times—so we can better understand how to improve our services to citizens. Best of all, Power BI comes included with the newest suite. Outsourcing a business analytics application was prohibitively expensive, but with Office 365, we get all the applications we want, bundled together.

We are also looking forward to reducing costs and increasing functionality with the latest capabilities of Skype for Business Online. PSTN Conferencing will eliminate our need for a separate conferencing provider and save us an estimated $50,000 annually. Our procurement division can’t wait to use this feature to broadcast RFPs to make it easier to receive bids from more people through enhanced dial-in capabilities.

When I started working for the City of Kansas City nearly thirty years ago, Microsoft products were a part of our environment. It’s no different today: our needs may be changing, but Office 365 proves that we can continue to optimize our operations and provide better services with innovative Microsoft business productivity tools.

—Mary J. Miller

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