This article first appeared in the Autumn 2016 issue of The Record.
For the past 25 years, public housing agencies in the US have faced government funding cuts, forcing them to find more creative ways to help staff deliver a good customer experience to their clients and tenants.
To empower employees to work more effectively in the community while reducing the costs associated with its aging hardware infrastructure, Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority (LMHA) opted to migrate IT operations from its on-premise data centre to the cloud.
“The goal for LMHA was to get more employees out in the community, and to enable more clients to submit applications without physically coming into an office,” says Craig Patterson, acting CIO at LMHA. “This goal required mobility and the cloud, along with the confidence that personal information required when completing federal and state forms would remain secure.”
The Toldeo, Ohio-based housing association implemented the Citrix Cloud built on Microsoft Azure Government and now benefits from continuously updated mobile-as-a-service technologies, and the ability to deploy virtual apps and desktops.
Staff can use any mobile device to securely access LMHA’s and tenants’ data, regardless of their location. They no longer need to complete physical paperwork, which enables them to carry out tasks more efficiently and serve tenants more quickly. The solution also ensures all IT operations remain secure, allowing LMHA to remain compliant with federal regulations.
Meanwhile, clients and tenants can remotely access LMHA’s systems via their own devices, enabling them to make secure payments and schedule inspections online. This means they no longer need to visit an LMHA office, which is particularly beneficial to elderly and disabled tenants.
“In the short time since we’ve adopted Citrix Cloud, our analytics have already shown change is happening,” remarks Patterson. “For example, though conventional wisdom said that lack of access to the internet would keep our demographic from using online applications, we’ve seen that a majority of seniors and young people favour accessing LMHA services via mobile devices regularly. Change can happen if you put your mind to it, especially with partners like Citrix and Microsoft.”
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