With around 100,000 asylum applicants each year, Greece’s government established a new Ministry of Migration and Asylum in 2020. Its aim was to streamline administrative backlogs and speed up procedures for migrants and asylum seekers.
However, its legacy, on-premises technology was curbing effective internal collaboration. The Ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Digital Governance, opted to switch to Microsoft 365 to address these challenges. Thanks to swift adoption, staff can access critical documents and collaborate securely from anywhere, clarifying workflows for everyone and accelerating the entire migration process.
Operating since January 2020, the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum works to control Greek borders and ensure migrants and asylum seekers receive the proper support to navigate the procedural process for entering the country.
“In 2020, Greece had almost 100,000 new asylum seekers, which created a massive backlog of applications,” explains Konstantinos Kostakos, Head of the Cabinet of the Minister.
"We were using legacy and open-source systems and basic on-premises capabilities. We lacked strong collaboration tools and security that could enable us to give the efficient and accurate assistance asylum seekers would require.”
The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic made remote, real-time collaboration even more necessary and urgent. The Ministry wanted to ensure the safety of its workers while preventing any delays for applicants. With 37 accommodation centers for refugees and more than 10 Regional Asylum Offices spread across the country, the Ministry’s employees needed to be far more mobile.
“We began with a Microsoft 365 trial subscription, and immediately started using Word, PowerPoint and Outlook online,” says Konstantinos Kostakos.
“All our files were instantly available online. When the COVID-19 lockdown happened, we had everything on the cloud, and were able to operate well. Some people worked from their homes, and some at the office. We particularly relied on Microsoft Teams screen sharing capabilities to keep everyone on the same page, sometimes quite literally.”
Konstantinos Kostakos, Head of the Cabinet of the Minister
“Microsoft 365 is an excellent tool for us, facilitating a democratic and clear approach to work,” says Dr Anastasios Salis, the Ministry's Director General of IT.. «“You know what's being done, and who is doing it. There are no dark corners anymore. No one can say they don’t have access to the files they need. We’ve received positive feedback from everybody, especially about the option to join meetings through Microsoft Teams, either in the office or from anywhere via their phone.”
According to an internal Ministry survey, more than 83 percent of Microsoft Teams users feel that the technology has significantly contributed to smoother collaboration and time savings. 81 percent reported that personal cloud storage OneDrive has helped make work more efficient by facilitating the storage and sharing of documents. 96 percent reported that Microsoft’s cloud-based solution made them feel more organized.
“We can now rapidly organize our employees’ data and accounts and systematize the way we register new migration and asylum seeker flows,“ highlights Notis Mitarachi, Minister of Migration and Asylum.
“In addition, we were able to provide our employees with a unified environment for accessing email and cloud-storage services. The upgrade also improved our ability to manage crises and still carry out our mandate to help migrants to the best of our ability. Basically, thanks to Microsoft technology, we experienced a swift and painless overhaul of our working practices and the ‘best of our ability’ has now significantly and positively improved.”