Case Study: ODPA

ODPA (The Office of the Data Protection Authority) fast-tracks how it connects people, data and workflows with an integrated web portal solution to deliver a one-stop service experience.

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  • Reduced registration time to under 5 minutes using integrated web portals and automation.
  • Gained data insights to refine strategy and target awareness initiatives.
  • Increased capacity to handle thousands of concurrent transactions without performance loss.
  • Tight integration between web portals and Dynamics 365 enhances productivity.
  • Highly responsive, secure, future-proofed, and scalable cloud solution.

Who are the ODPA?

The Office of the Data Protection Authority (ODPA) is an independent supervisory authority regulating data protection legislation in the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

The ODPA protects people’s rights and privacy by ensuring that organisations handle personal information responsibly and ethically. All organisations processing personal information must register with the ODPA and pay an annual data protection levy.

The Challenge

“Our website is the first port of call for members of the public who want to understand how organisations use their data, learn about their data protection rights, or report a concern,” explains Tim Loveridge, Chief Operating Officer at the ODPA.

“Similarly, it is where organisations go to access guidance on their obligations – including how to comply with the data protection legislation – to report a breach or undertake their annual registration,” he continues.

Making it easy to interact and responsively deliver information and online services in a scalable and cost-effective manner was just part of the challenge.

Rigorous enterprise-grade security and integrated backend workflows would be essential to ensure the ODPA could fulfil all its duties in a compliant and efficient way.

“Big regulatory IT platforms tend to be expensive, overly complex and not particularly agile. As a Microsoft 365 house, we wanted to take full advantage of cloud-powered technologies to deploy a website – featuring customised Internet portals and integrations with our backend systems – that would facilitate all our information-giving, reporting, and electronic registration activities in a highly adaptive, streamlined, and innovative way,” confirms Tim.

With just months to get all these required capabilities in place and a new interactive and intuitive-to-use website up and running, Tim and his team turned to The Portal Company to make their vision a reality.

“We knew what we wanted to do – but not necessarily how to do it. And that’s where The Portal Company came into play. They provided the insights and technical know-how we needed, configuring both the environment – including the registration system – and all user journeys in a manner that has enabled us to significantly improve our regulatory processes,” explains Tim.

The Solution

After defining a requirements specification, the ODPA had a clear idea of what it sought in a technology partner to deliver its operational vision.

The initial project discussions began in March 2020, and The Portal Company was tasked with building a solution containing multiple web portals to handle a variety of tasks.

“Within a matter of weeks, Covid lockdowns meant all project management and delivery had to be undertaken remotely. The commitment and professionalism of all concerned meant that we still achieved our projected January 2021 launch of a fully functional website complete with portals. There was no slippage at all,” says Tim.

All content and documentation on the website are managed via Microsoft’s Power Apps Portals Studio, which makes it easy to add and configure webpages, components, forms and lists. Meanwhile, the Microsoft Power Platform delivers deep connectivity with Dynamics 365 and other Microsoft Business Applications required to power end-to-end automation.

Dynamic site acceleration, smart traffic direction and in-built DDoS security protections are all handled via Azure Front Door ensuring that all web traffic, and underlying systems, are shielded from attack.

Because each portal and Dynamics 365 are integrated inside the cloud, whatever data is surfaced and changed in one is instantly reflected in the other – there’s no need for clunky APIs or dependency on unreliable synchronisation.

As a result, the most up-to-date information is always available to the ODPA, businesses and members of the public. Plus, storing and managing all data in one unified location both elevates security and eliminates any need to maintain multiple data systems to create a single source of truth.

“Honest and representing true value for money, The Portal Company quickly became a trusted partner who played a key role in making this project work. Their flexible approach and friendly ‘can-do’ attitude transformed what could have been a hugely stressful project into one that was a pleasure to work on.”

Tim Loveridge, Chief Operating Officer at the ODPA

ODPA Website Front End Web Portal

The Impact

“We now have a highly responsive, secure, future-proofed and scalable site that is capable of handling thousands of concurrent requests and transactions with no loss of performance for users,” says Tim.

“Integration with Dynamics 365 automates key business processes, like registrations and payments, and enhances our productivity. For example, complaint information captured on our site’s web forms is made instantly available to our case and compliance officers, who have to investigate and respond with 28 days.”

Alongside delivering a great user experience and connected processes, the ODPA is now able to draw on a rich trove of data-driven insights that enable it to continually refine its operational strategy.

“We know it takes an average of under 5 minutes for organisations to complete the online registration and payment process. By using analytics to segment all reported complaints and breaches, we’re able to identify sectors and target specific awareness initiatives and thematics – like GPs or Advertising Agencies etc. – to help them better understand their data protection obligations.”

Today, the ODPA is able to update and refresh information resources at the touch of a button, capture every interaction and transaction in Microsoft Dynamics, and promote its programme of online and in-person awareness-raising initiatives.

Why Choose The Portal Company?

“In simple terms, we needed someone to create portals that are tightly integrated with our Microsoft Dynamics CRM and SQL database at the back end. When The Portal Company responded to our initial proposal request we did our homework and discovered that they are one of the UK leaders in this space.”

Following its thorough evaluation of potential providers, the ODPA selected The Portal Company.

“The Portal Company came out top thanks to their technical expertise and deep experience of navigating the challenges surrounding complex projects and organisational structures,” explains Tim.

They were chosen not only for its expertise in customised web portals powered by Dynamics 365 and Power Platform but also for its proficiency in GDPR compliance, data privacy and data protection.

“The Portal Company demonstrated a deep understanding of our unique role and responsibilities as an independent supervisory body, including our commitment to serving the people who live and work in Guernsey,” highlights Tim.

“Throughout the project, their team proactively consulted on direction and process design. Rather than simply reacting to instructions, they helped us reassess the challenges with the aim of improving our organisational effectiveness and constantly built consensus and commitment to cooperative actions between all the teams involved.”

Tim outlines just one example of how important this approach was to achieve their project objectives.

“The Portal Company helped us design easy-to-use and digestible ‘information’ gathering online forms that minimise any risk of people being overwhelmed or confused by our registration or complaint processes. Collecting only the information that is needed and sending secure notifications to users as they proceed through the process, they also ensured the system gives users full visibility and control of their data,” he says.

“The Portal Company’s truly consultative and can-do approach meant we were able to work at speed to initiate a genuinely agile environment that evolves with us.”

Tim Loveridge, Chief Operating Officer at the ODPA

Next Steps

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