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Microsoft Office System Customer Solution Case Study

Sudbury Saves by Choosing the 2007 Microsoft® Office System over Alternatives

Overview Country or Region: Canada Industry: Government Customer Profile The City of Greater Sudbury is a vibrant economic hub in northeastern Ontario with universities, a strong tourist business, and a rich history as one of Canada’s major mining centres. Business Situation Reviewing its technology strategy, the municipality decided it needed to standardize on a single desktop application suite to simplify operations and help staff members work more efficiently. Solution Sudbury chose the 2007 Microsoft® Office system, including Microsoft Office Word 2007 for word processing, Microsoft Office Excel® 2007 for data analysis, and Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 for pre Benefits  Time savings  Improved integration  Lower costs  Better processes

“We used to get calls from users asking IT to help them access their ERP reports through Quattro Pro, OpenOffice and Lotus 1-2-3. Those calls have virtually been eliminated.” Bruno Mangiardi, CIO, City of Greater Sudbury

When the City of Greater Sudbury in northeastern Ontario decided to review its technology roadmap, the municipality realized it was time to replace the office applications it had deployed over the years with a single, standard suite of productivity tools. The City considered Corel WordPerfect Office and OpenOffice, but decided to invest in the 2007 Microsoft® Office information productivity toolset, including Microsoft Office Word 2007 for word processing, Microsoft Office Excel® 2007 for data analysis, and Microsoft Office PowerPoint® 2007 for presentations. Now with nearly 1,000 employees using the new software, the City of Greater Sudbury is saving time on routine tasks, working more efficiently on complex undertakings such as financial analyses, and saving money. The City is also improving its business processes, which lays the groundwork for better municipal services.

Situation When the City of Sudbury in northeastern Ontario amalgamated with the regional government and six surrounding municipalities in 2001 to become the City of Greater Sudbury, it was one of many watershed moments in its history. Sudbury began as a small railroad outpost in the late19th century, intended only to serve as a temporary work camp for transient railway workers. But the discovery of rich minerals such as nickel and platinum embedded in the geological formation known as the Sudbury Basin would serve as the impetus of a sustained period of growth. Today Greater Sudbury is a vibrant regional service hub for northeastern Ontario, comprising an estimated 550,000 people, with three postsecondary education institutions, a cancer treatment centre, and Science North, an interactive science centre that anchors the vigorous tourist trade. To help further strengthen its economy, Greater Sudbury has also invested in technologies such as high-speed data networks and the “311” phone service, which gives residents and businesses quick connections to municipal services. The City has also undertaken land reclamation and lake rehabilitation projects, winning worldwide recognition for its environmental initiatives. In 2005 the City of Greater Sudbury organized a steering committee to review its technology roadmap and ensure the City’s IT projects supported the overall goal of providing cost-effective municipal services. The City also implemented a CIO office to bring strategic direction to the technology portfolio. One of the items that came under the committee’s and the CIO’s examination was City’s desktop software. For years the City employed Corel office productivity software, but it had limitations and did not meet the municipality’s requirements for

efficiency and the evolving workforce. Staff members encountered challenges when working with documents sent from external partners such as neighbouring municipal governments, provincial agencies and business development organizations. Most documents arrived in Microsoft®-based formats, and although the Corel software could convert the information, this often resulted in formatting errors, and municipal workers wasted time recreating the original formats manually. To help solve this, the City offered some employees OpenOffice, a free downloadable application suite, in an attempt to make it easier for the workers to open and edit certain documents. But the organization was not convinced it was the right solution. “By that point we had Corel and OpenOffice, and neither addressed all of our technology needs,” said Bruno Mangiardi, CIO, City of Greater Sudbury. “We found that OpenOffice didn’t integrate with our Enterprise Resource Planning software, so we turned to Microsoft for a solution.” The City’s financial and human resources departments were requesting copies of Microsoft Office Excel®, because the spreadsheet software integrated in a near seamless fashion with the municipality’s back-end Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software system, giving them simplified access to the accounting and HR data and helping them ensure the City was operating efficiently. The City of Greater Sudbury issued a number of Office Excel copies to employees over the years for this reason, slowly supplanting other spreadsheet programs such as Corel Quattro Pro and IBM Lotus 1-23. “About 400 staff members were using the Microsoft software, but we had OpenOffice, Corel and IBM software in various departments as well,” Mangiardi said. “We knew it would be simpler for us to

standardize on one platform, in terms of management and future planning, but we needed to choose the right solution for document conversions, and ERP access as well. And of course, we needed to keep costs in mind.”

Solution Mangiardi considered the options in terms of functionality and future planning, and concluded that the 2007 Microsoft Office system would be the best solution because of the proven, scalable and integrated capabilities. The most complete information productivity toolset, the 2007 Office system would help the City save valuable time, manage data and collaborate with its external partners. Microsoft Office Word 2007, the word processing program in the 2007 Office system, would streamline the process of opening and editing documents from business organizations and other government agencies that already used Word as their main authoring tool. That would help employees save time and work more efficiently. Office Excel 2007 would help the HR and finance staff easily access the rich data contained in the ERP system and enable better data analysis. “We found that compared to the 2007 Office system, OpenOffice required some extra steps to work with the ERP system – it wasn’t efficient,” Mangiardi said. “The 2007 Office system was clearly the best choice for us in the HR and finance departments, but it also offered productivity enhancements for other staff members.” The new Office Fluent user interface made it easy for employees to find the features they needed in the Office applications, because the tools are arranged in a Ribbon of tabs grouping commands that are most relevant for each task area. Inserting pictures into briefing documents, working with references like footnotes, and reviewing memos for

spelling and style were simplified through this new presentation layer. “It was clear that our external partners were standardizing on Microsoft-based software – if we wanted to operate efficiently, we needed to use the software that would help us open and edit documents quickly, without formatting issues,” Mangiardi said. Greater Sudbury city council approved the funds for the new software and user training in the summer of 2007. The municipality began installing the productivity applications on municipal PCs in the fall. The rollout included one-day training courses to teach employees about the Microsoft applications as quickly as possible. The City also had a handful of “super users” in each department trained to use the software’s advanced features – the super users helped other people in their departments understand how to get the most out of the 2007 Office applications. “Many of our people were already familiar with the software from the versions they used at work or home, so we focused on teaching the differences between the 2007 Office applications and earlier versions,” Mangiardi said. “Once people started using the Office Fluent interface, they found it easier to access the features they needed to create professional-looking reports and forms. They saw the 2007 Office system as an enhancement of the intuitive software they already used.”

Benefits User feedback has been positive – City of Greater Sudbury employees are saving time they used to spend converting documents from one format to another, and workers are also accessing rich data from the ERP system more efficiently. With power users teaching their colleagues about the advanced features in the 2007 Office system, the City’s IT

department is receiving fewer requests for help, which spells lower operational costs. The municipality is taking the 2007 Office system implementation as an opportunity to improve its business processes, with an eye towards enhancing operations and ultimately increasing the effectiveness of government for citizens. Time savings With Office Word 2007, users no longer have to convert documents when information arrives in Microsoft-based formats. This saves time, and gives employees more of an opportunity to work on other tasks, such as fostering new relationships with business organizations to further develop the municipal economy, following up on citizen requests for municipal services, or reviewing economic development data to help plan for future growth. “Even when you’re talking minutes a day, a few minutes spread over 1,000 users is a significant amount of time,” Mangiardi said. “Our operations are more efficient with the help of Office 2007.” Improved integration It’s also easier for the HR and finance departments to use the ERP system. With Office Excel 2007, employees now have quick access to the formulas and commands they need in order to analyze operations, and the workers can organize large amounts of data for intensive reviews. With a powerful charting engine, Office Excel 2007 helps staff members develop professional graphical representations of data, enhanced with 3D and transparency effects. This helps them convey the trends they see in the ERP data in a way that everyone can understand. “Now our finance department works much more efficiently, and our HR staff members have the tools they need to ensure our

human resources are at the right levels,” Mangiardi said. The improved ERP access has had an ancillary positive effect on the City’s IT department. “We used to get calls from users asking IT to help them access their ERP reports through Quattro Pro, OpenOffice and Lotus 1-2-3,” Mangiardi said. “Those calls have virtually been eliminated.” Lower costs The users trained to teach other people how get the most out of their 2007 Office applications also helped reduce the number of calls the desktop technicians in IT receive. And with fewer calls of this type, the City’s technology department can spend its resources on other issues, such as network enhancements and addressing hardware performance issues. “We receive thousands of work orders,” Mangiardi said. “Any time we can get back is worthwhile to us.” In the long term, the City of Greater Sudbury will continue to benefit from the reliable software architecture that ensures maximum uptime of the 2007 Office applications. This helps lay the foundation of the City’s strategic direction regarding technology investments. “We see the IT department becoming a strategic partner for the organization, instead of a necessary cost centre,” Mangiardi said. “Nonetheless, cost reductions and improved efficiencies are very much a part of that vision. From an ongoing support point of view, our application management costs are minimal with the 2007 Office system.” Better processes By implementing the 2007 Office system, the City now has access to rich documentcreation functionality that is helping the municipality improve its business processes. For instance, the City is revising its HR and accounting forms by importing them into

Office Word 2007 and applying the word processor’s calculations function. Using this advanced table feature, the City of Greater Sudbury can develop forms that automatically calculate the data entered. That means the newly-designed forms are easier for employees to fill out, and take less time to complete. “We see this as an opportunity to review our operations when it comes to forms,” Mangiardi said. “While we’re changing the way they look and the application they reside in, what else is missing that we can add? We’re improving the way they function, and the data they capture.” The City of Greater Sudbury is also teaching staff members how to use the Microsoft Office PowerPoint® 2007 presentation program, to help City staff better connect with citizens. The SmartArt™ graphics feature lets users quickly transform bulleted lists and other text into dynamic visual representations of City projects for people to consider during public consultations. Employees are learning how to use the slide libraries, custom layout options, and slide-theme functions to efficiently develop presentations, which are becoming integral to municipal operations. “In council meetings and in meetings with our constituents, electronic presentations are becoming the norm,” Mangiardi said. “We’ve been getting a number of calls from users who want to be trained on PowerPoint because they see it as an important communication tool.” This feeds into the City’s ongoing efforts to align the IT investments with efficient operation. “It’s a question of doing more with less – how do we improve services for the public while keeping costs down?” Mangiardi said. “The 2007 Office system helps us work faster, and it helps us improve our processes, so our costs stay in check but our ability to

serve local residents and businesses gets better.”

For More Information

Microsoft Office System

For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 4269400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 5682495. Customers who are deaf or hard-ofhearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234 in the United States or (905) 568-9641 in Canada. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:

The Microsoft Office system is the business world’s chosen environment for information work, providing the programs, servers, and services that help you succeed by transforming information into impact. For more information about the Microsoft Office system, go to:

For more information about City of Greater Sudbury products and services, call (705) 671-2489 or visit the Web site at:

Software and Services Microsoft Office 2007 Microsoft Office Word 2007  Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007  

 This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Document published October 2008

City of Greater Sudbury  

The City of Greater Sudbury uses Microsoft Office to boost productivity

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