Streamlining city management using Citrix
Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops enables the Jordanian capital to accelerate the digital transformation of citizen services and employee flexibility
Amman is the capital of Jordan and one of the oldest cities in the Middle East. Like any modern city, Amman has to manage the day-to-day realities of urban living: healthcare, traffic, housing and education.
That task falls to the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM). “We manage everything above the ground,” says Qais Al Beni, Head of Follow-up & Development Division, GAM. “Our role is to create a healthy, functional, modern city,” says Mr. Sultan Al-Kharabsheh, IT Manager, GAM.
As with many cities worldwide, the Greater Amman Municipality is racing to transform the delivery of services to citizens. It wants citizens to be able to self-serve a range of functions online or via mobile, from paying parking tickets to checking housing permits, to reporting abandoned waste. To date, 85% of citizen services have been converted to online. This is part of a city-wide program aimed at streamlining services and saving costs. It will also make GAM more responsive to citizen’s needs.
The transformation also extends to the working lives of GAM employees. Where desirable, the goal is for all employees to be able to work from anywhere, and any device. For this to happen, GAM needs to ensure consistent, secure access to workplace applications.
“We want to virtualize as much as possible,” Al Beni explains. “We want to simplify everything: the management, the control, the user experience. From an IT perspective, we want to make IT as easy as possible.”
The Citrix solution is built on Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops. This allows GAM employees to enjoy the same secure, virtual experience across all operating systems, while Al Beni can manage it all from a single console. The municipality team worked with Scientific and Medical Supplies (SMS), a Citrix Gold Solution Advisor, to design and deploy the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops solution.
GAM is starting with 200 users but plans to scale to 1,000 through 2021. “We have two groups of users in the first wave. The first have access to applications such as Oracle and the Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) systems; the second have the full desktop experience with all the workplace apps,” Al Beni explains. Lessons learned from 2020 will fine-tune the roll-out through 2021.
“This has been an exceptional year,” Al Beni continues. “COVID-19 has tested us all. What has been most satisfying with Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops is the ease with which we’ve been able to allow staff to work from home. It’s kept staff safe, allowed them to be productive, and helped keep the city running.
“We had worried that there would be some resistance to the technology – there often is when something is new, but users have been impressed. The experience for them is the same, and there is no downtime.”
Long term, Al Beni expects the engagement to produce marked improvements to the way the city operates. When Citrix reaches scale, he expects real savings around cost, time and productivity:
“We anticipate the use of thin clients will extend the life of our hardware by two-to-three years. Power consumption costs are lower, the devices are more efficient.
“Support costs will be transformed – we’ll no longer have to send IT guys out to branch offices to fix an issue. All this can be managed centrally. Upgrades and security patches will be planned and consistent.”
The ultimate goal is a city workforce working from any device in any location. Amman wants to roll-out IoT, smart city environmental monitoring, and the ability for street teams to process and access data on the move – from parking tickets to food health certificates.
At present GAM works from one head office, twenty-two branch offices in the city, and further branches across Jordan. SMS is helping GAM develop a roll-out plan. Of its 23,000 employees, just 6,000 connect to the network. This will grow as GAM becomes more digital and more mobile.
“The advantage of the Citrix solution is that we add scale without adding complexity. It does not take five times the work to manage five times the mobile devices. Everything is controlled, secured from one place,” says Al Beni.
What has been most satisfying with Citrix Virtual Apps & Desktop is the ease with which we’ve enabled staff to work from home. It’s kept staff safe, allowed them to be productive and helped keep the city running.