The Regional Social Service Baden uses a service from the startup Bontrebo for its communication with clients. The service runs on the Microsoft Cloud in Swiss data centers.
In the past, if a client needed to submit a document for social assistance, it was either by mail or email, recalls Eva Bühler, co-Head of the Baden Regional Social Services. “If someone had a question, reaching for the phone was almost essential,” Bühler says. But now, Social Services Baden are using a solution from Baden-based startup Bontrebo to facilitate that very communication.
“Almost everyone now has a smartphone, which is why an application is more accessible and intuitive for many than an email or a phone call,” says Bühler. That’s because the built-in translation function also breaks down language barriers. For example, clients can ask questions in their own language – and counselors can answer in that language as well. “So the advantage is clearly low-threshold communication without communication breaks.”
In addition, advisors can also deal with pending issues more easily and quickly, explains Bühler: “For example, they can assign a client the task of sending in the rental agreement and then, if necessary, send a reminder. This can now be done without having to send long e-mail histories or letters back and forth.” The documents and chat histories are also stored centrally in Swiss data centers and can be accessed by social services at any time.
When storing such sensitive personal data, special attention is paid to data protection in order to meet the high requirements. “Our clientele ask about data protection themselves, it is important to them. For this reason, it was crucial for us that the data remain in Switzerland,” emphasizes Bühler.
This is the case: Since Bontrebo is part of the “Microsoft for Startups” program, it can count not only on the exchange with Microsoft experts but also on the local availability of the Microsoft Azure Cloud – and operate their service for Baden Regional Social Services via Microsoft’s Swiss data centers. “But we don’t rely on Azure just because of the local data storage,” says Thierry Rietsch, CEO and co-founder of Bontrebo. “Thanks to the combination of Microsoft’s data centers in Switzerland and access to functions of a hyperscale cloud, we can further unleash our innovative power through cognitive services in language translation, for example.”
Currently, the solution is being successfully applied in the area of social assistance, with an additional expansion to asylum support to be completed later this year. In this way, the Baden Regional Social Services are consolidating its position as a progressive and needs-oriented institution that reliably advises and supports the residents of Baden, Turgi, Bergdietikon and Birmenstorf with financial, personal and family problems.