Organisation: London Borough Hackney
As part of its Channel Shift program LB Hackney Council was keen to find an off-the-shelf package to help them quickly develop integrated electronic forms. Seven different products were assessed, from which a shortlist of three was produced.
Daniel Mimnagh: “Rapid application development was very attractive to us, together with consistency of form design across the web site. However, the key criterion for our choice of product was how well it could handle integration with our other systems. Only when you have full integration with back office systems does citizen self-service really become efficient.
“Not surprisingly all the products could produce e-forms easily. However, the Verj.io product from Ebase was far above all the others: it incorporated the ability to full build full blown line-of-business applications within the same package and its ease of integration was far superior.”
Over the course of two months Hackney produced over six hundred electronic forms for its web site. These forms were designed to provide the Borough’s citizens with an additional means of requesting services at a time and a place that suited them.
THE EBASE CONNECTION
The e-forms are integrated with Hackney’s Microsoft-based CRM and Biztalk systems to provide a seamless process from start to finish. The process requires no manual intervention apart from the delivery of the actual service. Development of the forms and the associated integration has been made possible by the use of Ebase Technology’s software, Verj.io.
Daniel Mimnagh is e-forms project manager for the London Borough of Hackney: “We’re now in the situation where every service that the council offers is on the web site, and every service is covered by an electronic form that integrates directly into our back office systems. Each service request is be allocated a unique reference number which is recognised by Verj.io, our CRM system and the native back office systems, making it simple to track the request throughout its lifecycle.
“I already had experience of developing e-forms for another Council. It used to take three days to develop one and integrate it with a database. With Verj.io, our developers can build and integrate fifteen forms in just one day.”
HOW’S THAT WORKING OUT?
When Daniel Mimnagh arrived at Hackney, the Council already had mainly downloadable electronic forms on its web site. These required citizens to download a PDF or Word file, complete it offline and then send through the post to the Council offices, where the data was re-keyed into back office systems for processing. Not only was this time-consuming, but also failed to meet the government requirement for the delivery of 100% of all services online.
The Verj.io platform has allowed Hackney to very quickly meet the 100% target and has been key in the council’s drive to use the Web as a way to reduce costs and improve efficiency.