Youth care in the cloud: improving and innovating services

Youth care in the Netherlands is on the verge of major change. QNH’s Bjorn Schmitz discusses how cloud computing can help

By Guest on 14 October 2014
Youth care in the cloud: improving and innovating services

This article was first published in the Autumn 2014 issue of Touch

The laws surrounding youth care in the Netherlands are undergoing significant transformation, largely because responsibility has been transferred to the municipalities. At present, youth care is the responsibility of several authorities. In practice, this leads to fragmentation and, as a result, there have been a number of reported failures in the sector.

There are a number of implications for youth care centres in this changing environment. New collaboration methods with partners are needed, along with a change of processes and, in most cases, a reduction in the number of employees and a reduction in budget. IT departments are changing their strategies and have new IT needs.

Two cloud-based solutions that can definitely help are Microsoft Office 365 and Azure. Both platforms provide flexibility in costs and in use, and deliver services to accelerate collaboration with partners. Office 365 can be paid for on a monthly or yearly basis, and offers user-based functionality. Its license model has the option to cover everyone and shrink later, or to start small and grow over time.

Office 365 costs are almost the same as the classic Office license for on premise, but now Microsoft delivers SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, Yammer, Lync Online and OneDrive for Business in the price. Because Office 365 runs in the cloud, no purchase of hardware is required and IT support is included.

The demand for improving and innovating services for youth care centres has never been greater. Themes like collaboration, productivity, people -centric IT, workplace 2.0, flexible working, mobile apps and bring your own device (BYOD) have priority in almost all centres. Is it possible to improve and innovate in a time with lower budget and organisational changes? The answer is yes, there are many opportunities. The Cloud Productivity Platform provides services for collaboration, productivity, workplace 2.0 and flexible working with products like Yammer, SharePoint, Lync, Exchange and OneDrive. Microsoft Azure provides services for people-centric IT, mobile apps and BYOD with products like Azure Virtual Machines, Azure Mobile Services, Azure Service Bus and Azure Cloud Services. The platform even offers services to migrate part of a company’s IT infrastructure to the cloud.

Mobile apps running on Microsoft Azure also extend productivity and create business value. One example is a mobile app, which makes home visits more efficient so workers have more time to deliver care. The app provides the capability to read case information while the worker is on the go. Contact information is quickly accessible, ready to use via the phone and works on several youth care cases. QNH delivers cloud services, mobile services and application development services to several youth care centres in the Netherlands. Delivering consulting services via Office 365 and Microsoft Azure gives QNH the opportunity to participate in the Microsoft Azure Advisory Board, the Cloud Accelerate Partner Group and Azure Inner Circle Partner Group.

Bjorn Schmitz is a Microsoft partner executive at QNH

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