The Simpelveld municipality has about 11,000 inhabitants and covers an area of 1640 hectares. The South Limburg lies in the valley of the Eyserbeek with steep slopes, hills, and plateaus with panoramic views, close to the metropolitan region of Parkstad, Limburg. It is also a stone's throw from the center of the high-tech industry in Aachen. The municipality has a new center with a variety of shops, lifetime homes, and good facilities for primary education, (elderly) care, sport and recreation.
In 2013, the Municipality Simpelveld launched a European tender to renovate the entire IT infrastructure. This includes workstations, applications, servers and mobile devices. "We wanted a future-proof, secure, independent and standardized ICT infrastructure where continuity, stability, availability, manageability and scalability are key within an appropriate price/performance ratio," said Michael Wischemann, Policy Advisor of Operations at the Municipality Simpelveld.
The contract was awarded to Open Line, a Citrix Gold Solution Advisor and Citrix Service Provider. In early 2014 they made a start with the implementation of the new IT infrastructure. Open Line has chosen Citrix XenApp for workspaces, Citrix NetScaler for secure access and load balancing, and Citrix XenMobile for managing mobile devices and apps. The entire solution is administered as a cloud service and is running in multiple Open Line data centers. The Municipality Simpelveld used desktops and laptops as a thin client for the XenDesktop environment and mobile devices equipped with the Citrix Worx Mobile Apps.
The municipality has been transformed into a digital and business-oriented municipality. Employees can work flexibly anytime, anywhere and on different devices. This offers many advantages. Employees can use the centrally hosted workspaces at the office and at outdoor locations and are used by the employees in the social domain (WMO and youth) at kitchen table conversations using laptops to create digital notes. "We were using BlackBerries, but they no longer meet the requirements of users. Around thirty employees now have an iPhone to access route data. So we use WorxMail for secure email, calendaring, and document consultation," continues Wischemann. "It is possible that the 40 council and committee members who use iPads will also use the Citrix Worx Mobile Apps. This fully digital work has increased our flexibility and productivity. "
Security is paramount. The municipality must correctly handle people's data and does not want sensitive data ending up in the wrong place. Open Line keeps all the data in one place in the private cloud and all devices can get access to that data. The workstations in the municipality and the internal and external laptops are configured as thin clients and contain no locally stored information. Secure Remote Access is through the NetScaler and RSA tokens for additional authentication. Mobile devices are protected and managed with XenMobile. "Our employees have complete freedom on the iPhone to install apps, but the devices are owned by the city and managed by Citrix XenMobile," said Wischemann. "The phones require a PIN and if the PIN code is entered incorrectly several times the phone automatically wipes clean. In the future, we want to work with Citrix ShareFile to exchange files with others safely. This is to prevent the use of public cloud services like DropBox. The nice thing is that employees only need one user ID and one password and can log in anytime and anywhere. Ease of use and security go hand in hand."
ICT is vital for the municipality, but not a core business. By outsourcing IT Simpelveld is able to introduce a new high-tech workplace concept that is ready for the future. Also, it is no longer necessary to pay attention to technical and operational management of ICT. Wischemann: "We are now putting our limited IT resources to much more use: information management and direct user support."
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