As consumers become increasingly accustomed to accessing goods and services online, government bodies like the Regional Government of Castilla-La Mancha are also keen to offer the benefits of e-governance to its citizens. "Castilla-La Mancha is a large territory in central Spain with a population of 2 million across an area of almost 80,000 square kilometers. Some of our citizens have to travel up to an hour in order to reach the region's administrative centers," says Alipio García, General Manager at the General Directorate of Telecommunications and Information Technologies of the Regional Government of Castilla-La Mancha. "Enabling them to perform tasks online, such as paying a bill or applying for a permit, is central to the provision of a modern and efficient service."
The e-revolution in local governance relies on two key factors: infrastructure and e-literacy. "We are investing in our digital infrastructure to provide businesses and citizens with faster access to the internet, but we have many citizens who do not own computers or have the skills to operate them, especially as we have an aging population. Part of the challenge is training them to make the most of digital tools, especially in the use of e-administration," says Alipio. "In order to enable access to services, we have created an online portal and currently manage a network of 470 tech corners providing 3,900 computer access points across the region. Now, our citizens can remotely access records, pay a bill, or carry out other bureaucratic and administrative tasks."
However, maintaining its network of desktop computers installed at the tech corners was proving time consuming and costly. The Directorate of Communications and IT looked for a way to improve the performance of its computers, simplify machine maintenance, and make network administration more efficient. Switching to Chromebooks was the perfect fit.
"Ours is a global digital strategy encompassing infrastructure improvements and e-literacy, as well as the transformation of the municipality's administration itself to simplify procedures and be more efficient," says Alipio. "The overall aim is to democratize digital services and to expand their usage, making them accessible to all. This action is supported and financed by the European Union through European Regional Development Fund."
Simplifying network maintenance
For public service providers, implementing a hardware network to improve access is only half the task. Without proper maintenance, machines can begin to malfunction, which can then lead to a backlog of user complaints. "With our previous machines and operating system, we had to physically send out an operative to install updates and carry out maintenance," explains Alipio. "This was really inefficient, as our region is so large. Also, a physical card had to be used to wipe data between user sessions, leading to system malfunctions and login delays." The Directorate looked for a way to centralize control of the network, to be able to carry out maintenance tasks remotely, and reduce downtimes, while upholding its commitment to data security.