Service NSW turfs Windows OS for Chrome

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Service NSW turfs Windows OS for Chrome

Adopts Google devices, apps across the board.

Service NSW will universally adopt Google's Chrome operating system across the agency over the next 12 months.

The central service delivery agency has revealed it will replace all its legacy desktops and software after picking Chrome OS as its “digital platform of choice”.

It is in the midst of deploying G Suite and Chromebook devices to all staff at its head office locations, having tested the Google Docs and Drive apps over the last two-and-a-half years.

The decision follows the agency’s success deploying Chrome OS at its network of 130 shopfronts state-wide.

“Once we saw how easy it was to manage and use our kiosks, we started to look for ways to use Chrome OS more widely,” chief technology officer Colin Jones and recently departed CIO Ben McMullen said in Google blog post.

The agency switched its customer self-service kiosks to Chrome OS back in 2015, deploying 800 Chromebase all-in-one desktop computers.

The kiosks allow customers to conduct 1200 different types of transactions such as ordering birth certificates.

The Chromebase computers were deployed to replace Microsoft devices that “lacked reliable remote service features”.

“When kiosks needed repairs or upgrades, field support agents had to visit offices and spend a couple of hours rebuilding hard drives,”

“This meant that kiosks could be out of service for as long as two days.”

The deployment immediately returned results, with Chrome Enterprise reducing costs, streaming IT management and increasing security for the agency.

“Over a six-month period in 2015, we estimated that Chromebases required only 5 percent of the support hours we were spending on the Microsoft devices previously in use,” it said.

“Because our kiosks didn’t need as much maintenance and could often be repaired or upgraded remotely, their uptime improved, giving customers more kiosks to use.”

The shift also allowed Service NSW to cut back on “costly private WAN networks for each service location”, and now it uses only broadband and Wi-Fi.

Taking the savings from both the devices and IT management in account, the agency said the shift has resulted in a 46 percent reduction in operational costs per year.

It has allowed the agency - as the one-stop shop for government services provided to NSW citizens - to work towards the state government’s target of conducting 70 percent of government transactions through digital channels by 2019.

This figure is understood to presently sit at around 63 percent across NSW government.

The agency recently bought another “1200 additional Chrome OS devices to replace the remaining Windows desktops at all of our service locations”.

It is also understood to have previously tested the Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

It also uses AWS for some of its workloads in addition to its private cloud environment in two NSW government data centres in Silverwater and Unanderra.

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