Canadian Public Sector Jobs and Innovation

Enabling quick Covid grants

This Canadian public sector entity needed an automated processing platform to handle all of the applications for Covid-19 business grants. Fujitsu built a Microsoft Dynamics solution which can process applications in two weeks. As a result, over CA$500M in grants were distributed in year one.

Challenge

A solution was needed that could distribute Covid grants to businesses quickly and securely. Manual processing would take months, so it turned to Fujitsu to deploy a Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform.

Solution

Fujitsu built the grants program on Microsoft Dynamics. To avoid overloading the system, Fujitsu implemented CloudFlare to regulate the number of people accessing
at any one time.

Outcomes

  • Over CA$500M in grants were distributed in year one
  • In-built fraud detection flags 30%of applications for review
  • Automation enables grants tobe approved in two weeks rather than months
In the first wave, over CA$500M worth of grants were distributed to small and medium enterprises, with zero downtime.

120K

applications in 2 weeks

0

downtime

CA$500M

grants disbursed in year one

  • Industry: Public sector
  • Location: Canada

About the customer

This provincial government of Canada is responsible for leading efforts to grow the local economy by supporting entrepreneurs and job creators, attracting investment, growing trade, strengthening key sectors and ensuring an innovative and competitive business environment. Core roles include overseeing the implementation of the area’s recovery plan and creating the conditions for growth and diversification of emerging industries.

Reacting quickly to a global pandemic

This provincial government of Canada is responsible for supporting businesses across the province, which meant that, when the Covid-19 pandemic struck, it was at the frontline of ensuring business continuity. With no time to spare, the public sector entity had to design an ef ficient and secure method for disbursing emergency grants.

It launched a grant program aimed at small and medium sized enterprises, which of fers financial assistance to local businesses, cooperatives and non-profits that were
ordered to close or curtail operations because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The objective was to provide financial assistance in the form of payments that businesses can use for any purpose, including assisting them to cover fixed costs or reopen the business once the pandemic is over.

This program needed a trusted IT partner to build a robust and reliable grant platform in a matter of weeks rather than months. Fujitsu has a longstanding relationship with the wider provincial government, including application support and maintenance, so it was the ideal choice to get this ambitious program up and running in a hurry.

Self-service grant portal in just three weeks

Fujitsu marshalled a ten-strong team, which included a dedicated account team, local resources from other accounts, the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) in Quebec and a CRM specialist from India.

This team worked around the clock through multiple phases to deliver technology to support the new grants program.

Microsoft Dynamics forms the basis of the on-premise platform and the team were able to develop a customized version with the functionality, security and control required in just three weeks. Fujitsu also integrated the system with SAP 1GX for payment processing and, when that didn’t work, pivoted to a local bank to get payments out electronically. To avoid overloading the solution, Fujitsu implemented CloudFlare to regulate the number of people accessing at any one time.

During those early weeks, Fujitsu worked day and night to implement changes and new rules, updating and modifying the look and feel of the portal. Thanks to this careful attention, hundreds of thousands of people were able to access and secure their grant. Moreover, as Covid-19 waned and then spiked in the coming year, Fujitsu rolled out three new iterations of the platform.

Fast, reliable, automated

In the first wave, over CA$500M worth of grants were distributed while the grants
program experienced zero downtime. Over 120,000 applications, which could never
have been manually approved in time, were processed, with an average approval time of two weeks. That meant desperate businesses got a vital lifeline to keep them going.

At the same time, Fujitsu built audit capability and fraud protection into the platform to detect any suspicious or duplicate claims. Manually handling this would have taken months – automation made it instantaneous and provided daily reports for total visibility of money.

Such was the success of the grants program that it received an award for service
delivery innovation. Meanwhile, the platform remains ready to handle any further
unforeseen outbreaks in the future.

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