Modernizing City of Medicine Hat’s Citizen Portal with AWS
The City of Medicine Hat, Alberta, is like many small- to mid-sized cities across Canada: It’s a proud and vibrant community. Citizens have high expectations of their municipal government and close ties to it. But there was no quick and easy option for Medicine Hat residents to conveniently do business with the city online.
City leaders wanted to redesign their website and the myMH citizen portal. However, many of the city’s legacy systems relied heavily on point-to-point database level integration that didn’t lead to the reuse of information. Additionally, the existing on-site server technology needed regular provisioning and maintenance. When the servers went down, it was often quite impactful to day-to-day business processes.
As a first step, Accolite worked with city staff to set up AWS serverless computing services needed to integrate the myMH citizen portal with existing on-premises business software. Phasing out on-site servers ensured better protection from equipment breakdown or extreme weather events. Accolite also helped the team set up AWS Control Tower to oversee the system, and a VPN to connect their network to the AWS Cloud.
The transition to the AWS Cloud opened up a new world of possibility and knowledge sharing for the in-house developers at City Hall, many of whom had considerable knowledge but no development experience on the cloud. The experience with new services such as AWS API Gateway enhanced the IT team’s technical skills. They were then ready to focus on developing new applications that used real-time two-way communication to help their community.
For the City of Medicine Hat, the centerpiece of its digital strategy is the new municipal website and the myMH portal, which launched in September 2021. It offers intuitive navigation, mobile device compatibility, alignment with accessibility standards, and options to do business online. The city’s new citizen-facing digital strategy is part of a fiscal plan that expects to achieve $4.5 million CAD in cost savings and revenue generation over five years.
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