Kristiansund Municipality – on the Digital Forefront

Digitization, Municipalities, Debt Collection, Credit Management,

Norway's Kristiansund Municipality are making ground-breaking digitizations for its municipal health & human services, backed by solutions from Banqsoft Credit Management. Get an insider look from Municipal Director, Arne Ingebrigtsen, on their journey from manual to digitized processes.

Few municipalities have such a digital mindset and ability to implement digitizations as Kristiansund municipality. And, rarely found are those that have a director like Arne Ingebrigtsen, whom willingly shares his award-winning municipality's experiences and learnings to the many municipalities in Norway.

Kristiansund municipality has not been on an easy road. From the start, its former business leader first had to get the municipality's finances in order, before a strategy document was drawn up with plans to be put into action. Then came the necessary choice between dealing with time-consuming change processes and pilot tests, or taking swift, pervasive measures in the infrastructure. The solution has thus been to ensure that Plan A has been so well prepared and with minimal risk that Plan B has not been relevant.


Easier to watch one vault than 5,000 treasure chests

"We moved the professional systems and other solutions up into the cloud, got rid of all unnecessary security mechanisms, but protected the services themselves," says Ingebrigtson. "In the past it has been that you have protected the PC’s, but the PC is just a tool. It is the service that is important. So, we kind of shifted all the focus from "looking after 5,000 treasure chests to looking after one vault." Therefore, it is much easier to deliver good services to the citizens. We've built on that strategy. All you need to work with us is a web browser, which have solutions as secure as online banking.

With this infrastructure, we came second in the ranking of Europe's most innovative in the public sector. We just lost to Barcelona!

Arne Ingebrigtsen

Municipal Director of Kristiansund Municipality

700,000 people across the country are now using a digital system called C19 that monitors patients in their own homes to alleviate the doctor shortage with more efficient use of medical services. More on this further down in the article.


Biggest change for the employee in the municipality, but better services for the inhabitants are produced

“You used to have to plug the network cable into the wall, but now you can work from anywhere. Everyone can log in with their BankID and then you are in the professional systems – it’s as easy as watching Netflix from the couch.”

­“We terminated the agreement for the postage meters and started using the digital communication service "Response Out". We removed all landline phones over a weekend and left a yellow note with short instructions for using a mobile phone for work purposes. We've partnered with Microsoft to develop the necessary features in Teams and have become a global reference customer for them. The public printers require personal identification, so there is little risk that sensitive information may lie and float. Over the course of 14 days, our developers created an SMS and Web reporting solution that collected data from our 140 oxygen saturation meters installed with our users in the home care services – to digitally notify us if hospitalization was required for covid-19 intensive care. The examples in Kristiansund municipality are many.


Equipped for major changes

"When the authorities pulled the handbrake on 12th of March 2019, we had 37 school classes in digital teaching the next day. The day after that, all 142 classes had digital homeschooling. So we were ready. Large changes in society will probably be easier to manage with us than in others," he says.


New strategic plan soon ready

"The plan from 2016 was about infrastructure. The next plan is for us to capitalize on the fact that we have gathered so much data. Can we build systems to make better decision support? We will not produce reports with numbers, but bring in a culture where, from the service level, we are keen to define a result, and in order to achieve that result, we need the right activities. For example, the feature needs to look at personnel knowledge, experience and artificial intelligence to select the right activities. An example of this is the digital reporting of oxygen saturation in those with home care services to consider Covid-19 hospitalisation. Result: do not use ambulances or doctors unnecessarily, but only when they are really needed.


The in-house collection service follows the same strategy

Kristiansund wants to give its citizens the services they deserve. It is important to have the collection service automated on the same read as elsewhere in the municipality.

Arne Ingebrigtsen

Municipal Director of Kristiansund Municipality

“One thing is to ensure the municipality's income and predictability, but on the other hand, there is openness to the inhabitant who owes money. Access to a service like Banqsoft Credit Management’s My Page solution is very important.”


Advice to other municipalities

“It's worth it (... to digitize the "Kristiansund way"). It is otherwise important to have an overall perspective for the entire administration, the entire department or the entire municipality. If everyone is in the same boat it is easier to get everyone to row.”


Less to do in the IT department with cloud-based services?

“On the contrary, we provide more IT services with the same number of employees. Neighboring municipalities buy IT services from Kristiansund, so they deliver to around 50,000 inhabitants. The population in Kristiansund is about 24,000.”

“We've almost stopped looking after the PC’s, but instead making sure the network is up and running. We are now ready to manage the integrations between the professional systems and the management of data. Our suppliers have to play well together, but we also have to develop what a supplier wouldn’t be able to give us.

Kristiansund municipality is now in a process where they move IT staff from operation to development. “Building knowledge is an important chapter in our new plan. We will be less supplier dependent - mostly to see how far we can go with this," concludes Arne Ingebretsen.