When Wijkracht began working in the region of Twente, Netherlands, to deliver social services, it had to build a modern IT environment that combined mobility with security, simplicity, and value. Working with Microsoft Partner Caase.com, Wijkracht adopted a Microsoft cloud infrastructure based on Windows 10, Office 365, and Enterprise Mobility Suite. Now the nonprofit can work directly in the community and deliver faster, more convenient services for clients—at significantly lower cost and with fewer IT headaches.
What social workers need in a connected world
The social workers at Wijkracht are passionate about helping people. But they are not interested in doing it from an office—they know that to deliver meaningful services, they have to get into the community. “The people that need our help are in schools, homes for elderly people, and neighborhoods,” says Esther Van Spall, Managing Director at Wijkracht. “That’s where we want to do our jobs.”
Wijkracht was formed in 2014, when the homecare provider Carintreggeland teamed up with several local nonprofit organizations to improve social work and create a new way of delivering social services to the people in the region of Twente. But before the unique startup could begin sending social workers into the community, it had to build a modern IT infrastructure to support them in today’s connected world. “What do social workers need to do their jobs today?’” asks Jos Geesken, CIO at Wijkracht. “They need the mobility to work out in the community, and to be always connected to the data and tools they use in the office, with the confidence that client information is being safeguarded.”
But Wijkracht found that few social workers in Twente even had smartphones to use in the field. Most had to take notes, go back to the office, look up more information, enter data, and then get back to their clients. It was too time-consuming for everybody, and it often delayed services.
The flexibility to serve
Wijkracht wanted to give its 150 employees and administrators mobile devices and tools such as instant messaging, webcams, chats, social media, file sharing, and application access. It wanted an open environment that provided workers the freedom to develop their own solutions for social services, but the startup didn’t want to pay for a big IT investment.
“We didn’t want to build and manage an expensive IT infrastructure ourselves,” says Geesken. “We wanted a lean, streamlined organization dedicated to serving the citizens of Twente, not managing IT.”
A total solution in a single package
After evaluating several vendors, Wijkracht outsourced all of its IT services to Caase.com, a leading Microsoft cloud partner in the Netherlands. Caase.com evaluated the company’s business needs, listened to its questions, and recommended Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite, Windows 10, and Microsoft Office 365 cloud-based services together. “Wijkracht wanted mobility, and data safeguards they could trust, but they did not want a big IT burden,” says Victor Jan Leurs, CEO at Caase.com. “We suggested a Microsoft cloud infrastructure built around Windows 10 and Office 365 for a total solution in a single package.”
Wijkracht purchased 150 Office 365 licenses for 100 HP tablets running Windows 10 and 150 Lumia phones running Windows Phone. The Microsoft Azure Active Directory Join feature in Windows 10 supports cloud-based single sign-on, and the tablets and phones are managed with Enterprise Mobility Suite. IT administrators at Wijkracht can use Microsoft Intune and other tools in Enterprise Mobility Suite to support mobile devices and manage device security from a single management console.
Social workers are able to work on either device, with access to the web, social media, and Office 365 services. They can share files in OneDrive for Business, find resources and manage workflows on SharePoint Online, and collaborate together using Outlook and Skype for Business. “Working from home, in the field, or at a residence, our social workers have the tools and information they need,” says Geesken. “They can add information to client files, help submit a form, confer with colleagues, make decisions, and deliver services on the spot.”
The confidence to work directly in the community
In the Dutch health sector, organizations must by law report all leakages of confidential data. So Wijkracht appreciates that data encryption is built into Windows 10, and that Azure Active Directory identity authentication helps control access to network resources. Wijkracht also keeps security up to date on its Lumia and HP devices by using Enterprise Mobility Suite to identify advanced persistent threats and install security upgrades remotely, without relying on end users.
No matter which device they use, Wijkracht social workers have the mobility and resources to work directly with people in the community, at neighborhood centers, in homes or other residence, or even in the streets. “With Windows 10 and Office 365, social workers can deliver services to transient and youth clients more directly, before they fall into worse situations,” says Geesken.
With a highly stable, security-enhanced Windows 10 and Office 365 environment, Wijkracht can expect fewer security problems and can send its social workers into the field with confidence. “We have not experienced a data breach, and we have definitely lowered the risk of future breaches,” says Geesken.
New technology promotes innovative community services
By using Windows 10 and Office 365 together, Wijkracht has amplified its ability to deliver social services and built a reputation for developing new ways to serve the community. This will help the company recruit and retain more passionate and enthusiastic social workers, dedicated to serving the public.
Wijkracht quickly saw interest from other local jurisdictions in the Netherlands to see if the company could replicate its innovative social services solution in their communities. “We are using Windows 10 and the Microsoft cloud to help the Dutch public and boost our reputation for innovation throughout the Netherlands,” says Geesken.
More social service, less IT
Wijkracht social workers can deliver critical services to clients—such as ordering a piece of equipment or arranging medical attention—in a single visit instead of two or more. Wijkracht estimates that its social workers are at least 20 percent more productive. And by replacing an on-premises infrastructure with a Microsoft cloud IT environment, Wijkracht can deliver social services with fewer IT headaches and at 30 percent lower cost. “By using Windows 10 and Office 365 together, our social workers are more effective and our IT costs are significantly lower,” says Geesken.
All this productivity and savings translate into better, faster, more complete services for people in Twente, ultimately making the community a better place to live. “Better technology just makes it easier to do my job,” says Lora Balci, a social worker at Wijkracht. “I can focus on what I like to do, which is helping people.”