It’s been a year now since Capgemini delivered a project which was the first of its kind in Belgium, when VDAB, the public employment agency of Flanders, became the first public sector organization to move to a public cloud, in a success story you can read more about here.

Like many other organizations in the public and private sectors, VDAB wanted to reduce IT costs and started to look at several quick-win scenarios. This brought it towards the migration of its email and communication services to Google Apps. So began the journey that brought VDAB to the cloud, with the goal of saving up to €500k per year. Capgemini, as its cloud integration partner, was convinced of the added value that cloud would bring. Since the initial move, VDAB has doubled its savings to €1 million annually.

How is that possible? The ROI was estimated correctly, but the move to Google Apps didn’t just replace VDAB’s current messaging services and reduce the messaging cost. It opened up many new opportunities that challenged existing ways of thinking about how IT services are provided to employees and customers.

Soon after the roll-out of the messaging functionality, VDAB saw an organic increase of more than 25% of the user base that started using collaboration services in the cloud. They felt that a great boost in productivity and positive culture change found its way into the entire organization. Now that all employees access all their data any time, anywhere and on any device, internal and external collaboration improved significantly. A lot of tasks that previously required IT-skills or IT-support could just be performed directly by end users, more efficiently and without any additional cost.

Capgemini and VDAB now began to explore the different collaboration apps to improve external collaboration with partners and all Belgian jobseekers. In no time, VDAB was able to setup a virtual job platform where employers could meet potential candidates online through video-conferencing and where job seekers could submit their CVs and apply for jobs directly, all in the most innovative, cost-efficient and user-friendly way. Appointments between VDAB and its clients are now handled differently too. Instead of the traditional “call for an appointment” approach, VDAB consultants now publish their free slots on the website so that citizens can see their availability and book appointments online.

Cloud solutions promise speed and simplicity, with little of the integration complexity one expects in more traditional client-server architectures. So what has Capgemini’s role been during this journey? To handle deployment challenges in a way that mitigates business risks. To bring change management expertise so that the organization knows what to expect from the new solution and can be productive from the moment it starts using it. But also to identify ways of maximizing the return on the investment in cloud, by extending it to new business processes and services – in this case not just email and document sharing, but online applications and interviews, job matching, coaching, and dedicated forums for young jobseekers.

These and other cloud projects realized during 2012 account for the doubling of the ROI. In the video below, CIO Paul Danneels talks more about some of them.

In 2013 Capgemini’s Belgian team is looking forward to realizing even more innovative and cost-efficient solutions in the cloud with VDAB.