Centric Public Report 2020
As a partner to the public sector, for many years now Centric has been supplying the software and technical environments that municipal authorities, water boards and other local government bodies need to perform their tasks. Although they currently still mainly use their own on-premise IT infrastructure, there is a rapid shift in this sector to working with services hosted in the (Dutch) cloud. Centric takes care of all the maintenance, implementation, consultancy, support and training needed to guarantee the use of the applications.
Continuity of service In a year that was almost entirely dominated by the coronavirus pandemic, Centric Public Sector Solutions continued to provide services without any problems. Behind the scenes, we are working hard at adapting our applications for use in the cloud and migrating customers to – what is for them – a new environment. In addition, an increasing number of new solutions are being developed basically as SaaS solutions, like Centric’s Leefomgeving solution that helps public bodies align their processes with the new Dutch Environment and Planning Act. This has led to a stream of orders for this solution based on tenders won.
Customers are increasingly getting involved in the development of solutions by way of co-creation, and they are doing this at an earlier stage in the process too. This has a positive effect on customer satisfaction. These development activities take place partly in the Netherlands and partly in Romania. In 2020, we also started to collaborate more intensively with our colleagues in Lithuania.
In accordance with the standards set for secure software development, Centric Public Sector Solutions ensures that the software that our customers use is always secure, whether these are on-premise or SaaS solutions. Penetration tests are performed periodically. In addition, ensuring the security of the SaaS services is a 24/7 activity, which means that any cyberattacks can be averted and data breaches prevented.
With the development of online eServices for civil registration, tax and social affairs, Centric has been able to boost digitisation of the public services provided. Take the eService tax solution for example: this made requesting a tax payment deferral easy for individuals and businesses alike. With the collective eService for applying for the temporary self-employment income support and loan scheme (a service which we provided free of charge), from the end of March 2020 social services were able to quickly help self-employed persons apply for this support.
Common Ground A key development in local government is Common Ground, a government initiative aimed at shaping a new, future-proof municipal IT infrastructure. As one of the key market parties, Centric has taken up a position as regards the ambitions of Common Ground. More specifically, Centric participated in a number of initiatives in 2020, including a municipal personal records database API (‘Haal Centraal’, implemented in the Centric Burgerzaken solution) and case management APIs (implemented in the Centric Leefomgeving solution).
In addition to taking part in these projects, Centric is the initiator of and active in the design of the Blauwe Knop API (giving citizens access to their data), market-wide roll-out of the case management APIs, development of the standard for privacy logging, and development of APIs and portals relating to the Dutch Civic Integration Act. Lastly, Centric is preparing its application landscape for the implementation of future APIs on the API Management platform (Centric HUB).
Successful projects In 2020, many local government organisations once again opted for Centric solutions. By far the majority of orders related to the new SaaS solution Centric Leefomgeving and the eServices for various domains. In addition, a large number of organisations extended their contract with Centric and for a longer period, demonstrating once again their trust in Centric and our strategy.
This fits in with Centric’s aim to retain customers by providing modern software solutions combined with the best possible support. In our pursuit of driving customer satisfaction even higher, we continuously carry out research in this area: we monitor satisfaction in all aspects of the service and measure customer loyalty.
'We have designed our product policy for 2021 together with the Centric Users' Association'
In the near future, the emphasis will be on rejuvenating and expanding our current portfolio further, on the one hand by migrating more and more applications to the cloud, this way taking management and maintenance concerns off customers’ hands completely, and on the other hand by adding new solutions, like in the area of ‘data-driven working’, privacy and security. In these developments, we often get customers involved early in the process. We have further expanded existing partnerships and entered into new ones so that we can offer our customers the best solution. All this has had a positive effect on customer satisfaction.
The relationship with the Centric Users’ Association has been strengthened further. We not only designed the product policy for 2021 together with them – as we have for years – we also ‘published’ it in a series of joint webinars. Lastly, a lot of energy has been invested in making the organisation even more professional, on the one hand by allowing specific entities to work together better in the interest of the customer (both in the Netherlands and internationally), and on the other hand by investing heavily in the development of our people. With the aim of promoting innovative capacity, a team of young specialists is being given the opportunity to test ideas from and with the market and then bring to fruition those ideas for which there is demand.