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Suriname harnesses the cloud

Innovation tracker | Issue 1 | 31 Mar 2019
Cloud computing

 Cloud computing. © Jane Boyko (CC BY 2.0)

When the National Assembly of Suriname needed a new solution for sharing documents and internal communication, it turned to the cloud. Using IBM’s Connection Cloud, they have replaced traditional IT systems with a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution. The National Assembly now uses a single platform for communication, sharing and planning of parliamentary work, which includes mobile access and collaborative document editing.

By introducing the IBM platform the National Assembly has moved to a browser-based system that can be accessed from anywhere on any internet-capable device. Session papers and order papers are now only published electronically. With this digital-first approach to printing the parliament has seen an estimated 50 per cent reduction in printing costs.

According to Cheryl Pinas, ICT Manager at the National Assembly, other benefits include shared calendars and a common scheduling system, communities within the cloud where people can collaborate on projects, and standardized knowledge-management practices. Since a number of government departments use the same platform, opportunities now exist to share documents between the legislative and executive branches more easily.

First page of Presentation on Social Collaboration of the Assembly of Suriname
Image © National Assembly of Suriname​


The 2018 World e-Parliament Report shows that 51 per cent of parliaments use an Electronic document and records management system (EDRMS). While the increasing adoption of digital tools offers many opportunities and benefits, it also has drawbacks. It can be difficult to recruit or train skilled staff to run the systems, the total cost of ownership for complex systems can be high and staying up-to-date is a challenge.

Running services in the cloud can help. Cloud-based technology is maintained by the developers and upgrades are automatic. This frees up parliamentary IT staff to manage the applications on a day-to-day basis and allows parliament to dispose of outdated equipment. According to the World e-Parliament Report, 21 per cent of parliaments now provide access to documents through cloud-based storage.

Web page, working with communities
Image: Social Collaboration in the National Assembly of Suriname (© National Assembly of Suriname)


#quickfacts

  • The National Assembly of Suriname introduced a cloud-based solution for communications and document collaboration in 2015.
  • The Speaker has been a leading advocate for adoption.
  • "Power-users" within departments help support and train others.
  • It has significantly reduced printing costs and allowed for redundant IT equipment to be relinquished.

For more information contact: Cheryl Pinas [c.pinas@dna.sr], ICT Manager, National Assembly of Suriname

Source: National Assembly of Suriname; World e-Parliament Report 2018