Thursday, 24 October 2019

Migrating customer accounts, easy right?

Customer Account Migrations

Migrating customer accounts should be pretty straight forward right? I wish, however everything is not as it seems, we cannot just "Copy everyone across" or make everyone just reset their passwords on the new platform.
The unique issue we have is in migrating to a solution where our customers may already have an account set up on the new shared authentication platform with Norfolk County Council (Microsoft Azure AD B2C). This in itself adds a degree of complexity to the migration of the accounts as we will have 3 very clear different experiences for our customers to manage.

South Norfolk Council (SNC)
Norfolk County Council (NCC)
  1. Customer has an account on both SNC's Portal and NCC's Portal.
  2. Customer has an account on SNC's Portal but not on NCC's.
  3. Customer does not have an account on SNC's Portal but has an account on NCC's.
All 3 scenarios will require a different approach to managing customer expectation and experience as part of this transition.
Our first step will need to be to ascertain exactly what customers for each scenario we are dealing with and look to engage with these customers early on to inform them of the impending change and when it will take place to ensure that they are fully aware of what will be happening. Nothing worse than a big surprise that you were not expecting, especially when dealing with security and customer accounts, we do not want our customers thinking someone has hijacked their account!
So over the next few weeks we will be extracting and comparing account data to build up a complete picture of what needs to happen so we can plan this in with military precision.
Its going to be great for our customers to only have one account to access both County and District digital services so it is definitely worth all the effort.

Friday, 18 October 2019

Ambitious, Innovative and Exciting

What is Norfolk Citizen Identity?

A collaboration between the District Councils and the County Council in Norfolk to share a joint customer identity in order to better serve our shared residents digitally.

So how does that work?

In order to have a shared customer identity we needed to provide a mechanism for them to have a digital account that they can use to access shared services from all tiers of local government.

Azure Active Directory B2C was our preferred choice as it provided us with all of the functionality required and was supported by a trusted partner and supplier of customer identity and access management in the cloud.

All authentication requests are directed to the cloud based service to authenticate and then return the customer to the required place. Customers have a choice to either sign in with their existing social accounts (Facebook, Google+, Microsoft Accounts, LinkedIn and many others) or use their personal emails and create a new account.


What are the benefits of this?

The benefits are far reaching and the potential for future innovations based on a shared identity are huge, just a few of the benefits are listed below.
  • Reduce avoidable contacts by servicing at the point of contact first time.
  • Better customer experience having only one account to remember.
  • No need to create a new account when moving between districts.
  • Shared customer data will be more accurate and up to date.
  • Better visibility of all digital services provided with clear ownership for all councils.
  • Potential to save costs through shared technology for digital services and leveraging the economies of scale in the future.
  • Enable identity validation and shared assurance of customer identity to facilitate access to more sensitive data and services at lower cost.
With a shared identity, when a user logs into the County Council Portal we can surface data that relates to the customer from the District to present to them so they can access all available information from multiple entry points.

The same applies when accessing services from the District customer portal, we can link seamlessly to County digital services such as reporting a highways problem.

What are we doing next?

  • We are bringing Great Yarmouth on-board as part of the prototype solution for single sign on and customer portal integration in the next phase which will help us to understand the process in adding new authorities.
  • We will be engaging with Norfolk County Council data services to look at creating a shared data store for our shared customer details. This will be probably be accessible via APIs through an Azure API Gateway (still working through this).
  • We will be planning the migration of over 12,000 customer accounts into the new authentication solution ensuring that only customers who need to reset passwords are informed and guided through this process.


Want to join us?

If your organisation would like to join us and collaborate on this solution or if you would just like to learn more about what we are doing and how just email ssmith@s-norfolk.gov.uk