The Record - Issue 21: Summer 2021

132 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om F E ATUR E engagement New levels of Over the last 15 months, governments around the world have had to rapidly adapt their services to communities. Julia Glidden gives an insight into some of the ways that Microsoft and its partner ecosystem are enabling change P ublic sector services are many and varied, and the interfaces between service provid- ers and citizens are all different. But during the Covid-19 pandemic, crucial engagements have been possible thanks to effective technology. “Throughout the pandemic, we have seen strong civic engagement at the local city gov- ernment level, particularly when it comes to information-sharing and communications related to Covid-19 cases, vaccine distribution, school closures, and hybrid or fully remote work and education policies,” says Dr Julia Glidden, corporate vice president of worldwide public sector at Microsoft. “City governments have also focused on help- ing people who are out of work with unemploy- ment benefits and social services, in addition to workforce skilling and job placement pro- grammes. Agencies have further supported local economies through small business licensing and registration, as well as loans and grants.” A recent Harvard Business Review white paper highlighted the digital transformation impera- tive for public sector organisations to enhance their delivery of digital services. Glidden believes that the success of this digital transformation journey relies on Microsoft’s continued work with trusted partners. “Partners play an integral role in enabling pub- lic sector organisations to move quickly toward cloud, developing products and solutions that solve mission-specific needs and connecting these solutions into the broader businesses we serve,” she says. One strong example of partnership in action is the development of a best-in-class MyGovID platform that provides safe and secure online public services for Irish citizens. The system was built on the Azure Active Directory B2C plat- form in close collaboration between the Irish Government’s Department of Social Protection, Deloitte, and Microsoft Engineering teams to give Irish citizens a simple way to verify their identity and access social services. The pandemic has likewise highlighted long-standing inequities in education whilst sparking significant shifts in engagement. “Education leaders are now more engaged in procuring devices and ensuring access for their students, whilst using data insights and technology to support student success,” says Glidden. “Meanwhile, partnerships are BY E L LY YAT E S - ROB E R T S citizen