Colombia’s government digitizes citizen-facing services with Red Hat OpenShift
Colombia’s Superintendence of Industry and Commerce (SIC) sought to digitize citizen-facing processes and services for tens of thousands of consumer protection and market control cases. By adopting a container-based IT infrastructure with Red Hat OpenShift, supported by Red Hat’s expert consulting and support, SIC created an electronic case file (ECF) system and citizen-facing mobile application. Now, citizens can more easily submit and track requests and rulings, as well as related information. SIC can develop and deliver more transparent solutions, building citizen confidence in public administration.
- Improved efficiency to process 51,000 submitted cases and issue more than 24,000 rulings in just one year
- Reduced service development time with agile approaches
- Enhanced citizen experience with transparent, easy-to-access services, including a mobile app
Accelerating plans for digital consumer protection services
Created in 1968, Colombia’s Superintendence of Industry and Commerce (SIC) upholds the rights of the country’s consumers and manages the National System of Industrial Property. Maintaining this registry includes trademark and slogan applications and deposits, invention and utility model patents, industrial design applications, and more.
SIC handles tens of thousands of cases and rulings each year under its statutory responsibilities for consumer protection and market control. The organization sought to digitize all of the related processes, procedures, and services to simplify operations and improve access for citizens. The COVID-19 pandemic made this work critical, with lockdowns preventing citizens from submitting claims in person.
“The challenges to traditional approaches during the pandemic emphasized the need to digitize our services,” said Francisco Rodríguez Eraso, Engineer and Head of the Technology and IT Office, SIC. “We needed to transform our service delivery and expand digital access to create a more transparent public administration.”
Building a container-based service environment with Red Hat
Having used Red Hat Application Services (formerly Red Hat Middleware) solutions for several years, SIC decided to use Red Hat OpenShift to build the foundation of its new digital services environment.
Red Hat OpenShift is an enterprise Kubernetes container platform with comprehensive automation capabilities to manage hybrid cloud, multicloud, and edge deployments. It includes multiple layers of security, manageability, and automation for consistent operations across infrastructures. SIC also adopted Red Hat Process Automation Manager, a platform for developing containerized microservices and applications that automate business decisions and processes. This solution is optimized for application development with Red Hat OpenShift.
"Our Red Hat infrastructure has helped us build a robust, service-oriented architecture," said Rodríguez Eraso. "We can better manage a wide range of legacy systems, administrative processes and records, and links to external systems while supporting new projects."
SIC’s teams worked remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic with Red Hat Consulting and Red Hat Premium Support—including specialists from several countries—to plan and deliver the new architecture. This responsive container-based environment now supports a range of digital, citizen-facing services, including a consolidated digital justice system.
Delivering modern services and information to citizens
Improved efficiency by digitizing manual, paper-based processes
With the comprehensive automation and management capabilities included in its new Red Hat environment, SIC has successfully digitized manual processes, such as protection case filing.
Previously, all case files were paper-based and completed by hand. To modernize this process, SIC needed to meet regulations for electronic case files, such as the use of electronic signatures and robust security requirements. Deployed on Red Hat OpenShift, SIC’s new electronic case file (ECF) system provides templates for all documents, then uses flow control provided by Process Automation Manager to coordinate with other services to label documents, complete electronic signatures, convert the files to PDF/A—a standardized archival format—and store them on the organization’s document management platform.
As a result, case filing is more efficient, helping SIC deliver rulings to citizens and companies faster. In just one year, SIC was able to process more than 51,000 submitted cases and issue more than 24,000 rulings by moving from a manual to digital system.
"There has been a radical change in our speed and service. Before, it could take months for the magistrate to analyze a file and then move it through the system," said Rodríguez Eraso. "Now, everything can be responded to and reviewed remotely and very quickly, in a controlled and secure way."
Adopted agile approaches to speed service development
SIC has used its implementation of Red Hat technology to also introduce new, agile work approaches that make collaboration easier between teams.
“With continuous integration and continuous delivery [CI/CD], our teams now can develop more features and products and deploy them almost in real time, without the need for major changes to the ecosystem,” said Rodríguez Eraso. “We started out by creating small, specialized DevOps groups that were given intensive training. Their success has inspired our wider team to embrace these changes.”
Enhanced citizen experience with transparent, easy-to-access services
After early digitalization efforts, Colombia’s citizens could complete up to 30 SIC-related tasks online.
Now, SIC has used its responsive Red Hat infrastructure to continue modernizing its citizen-facing services, including launching a mobile application, SIC A LA MANO, for submitting requests, cases, and feedback. With this solution, citizens no longer need to travel to complete in-person case consultations or deal with a variety of paper documents. Another new solution, SIC FACILITA, lets consumers chat online with suppliers to resolve issues without time-consuming, costly court disputes.
Additionally, SIC was one of the few Colombian public sector entities that maintained 24/7 operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to the high stability and availability of its Red Hat infrastructure.
By improving information access and visibility, SIC can work with the public to continue enhancing its services based on feedback and build trust in Colombia’s public administration.
Software and services
Red Hat® OpenShift®, Red Hat Process Automation Manager, Red Hat Consulting, Red Hat Premium Support
Existing Red Hat solutions
Red Hat Decision Manager, Red Hat Fuse
Red Hat has provided modern tools, excellent support, and a wealth of knowledge, from helping us with technical decisions to supplier-related issues. Their guidance has been essential to the results we’ve achieved.
Our teams can now develop more features and products and deploy them almost in real time, without the need for major changes to the ecosystem.
Preparing for the cloud with a trusted vendor
After success using Red Hat OpenShift on-site, SIC is now planning to transition its infrastructure to a hybrid cloud model to increase scalability and achieve greater vendor flexibility for support and maintenance.
SIC is now working with other official government bodies in Colombia on secure access to transactional information.
“We know our cloud journey will be easier working with Red Hat, because they have always been there for us when we innovate and overcome transformation challenges,” said Rodríguez Eraso. “Red Hat has provided modern tools, excellent support, and a wealth of knowledge, from helping us with technical decisions to supplier-related issues. Their guidance has been essential to the results we’ve achieved.”
About Colombia’s Superintendence of Industry and Commerce (SIC)
The Superintendence of Industry and Commerce (SIC) is a public body under the Ministry of Economic Development of Colombia. It is responsible for ensuring the correct operation of markets through monitoring and protecting free economic competition, consumer rights, compliance in the area of legal metrology and technical regulations. https://www.sic.gov.co/
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