Ministero delle Politiche Agricole Alimentari e Forestali: Spending review works technology wonders


BT IP Connect service enables VoIP cost savings for MIPAAF while faster intranet and internet bandwidths improve employee productivity

Protecting public health, helping improve the quality of life in rural communities, wildfire prevention, and ecosystem restoration are just some of the vital tasks handled by the Italian Ministero delle Politiche Agricole Alimentari e Forestali (MIPAAF).

With all central government bodies being committed to cut spending, Domenico Mancusi achieved the perfect double: guaranteeing the same level of service to MIPAAF stakeholders, while cutting its communication budget by 60 per cent. Another advantage of the BT IP Connect service adopted by Domenico is that it enables a collaboration toolset that is helping employees to carry out their daily tasks more productively.

As both an end user and a taxpayer, I am very happy that BT has helped us save public money with innovative telecommunications services.”
- Domenico Mancusi, CIO, Ministero delle Politiche Agricole Alimentari e Forestali


The Italian Government repeatedly suggested as long ago as 2008 that all central public administration bodies should migrate to voice over IP (VoIP) technologies to save costs. For the Ministero delle Politiche Agricole Alimentari e Forestali (MIPAAF) voice communications at the time was handled through a multitude of different switching systems, while internet access was mainly delivered over ISDN.

Responsible for agriculture, food and forestry policies in Italy, MIPAAF naturally has a significant presence in Rome along with local offices distributed all over the country. “While willing to save costs, we wanted at the same time to improve the level of service available to all our employees,” says Domenico Mancusi, CIO at MIPAAF.


BT is among the leading certified suppliers to the Sistema Pubblico di Connettività, the Italian public administration network. This offers a range of advanced services to all Italian public administration bodies within predefined service level agreements and prices. In 2006, to promote the use of the best ICT technologies available, the government department Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale (formerly DigitPA), established a framework agreement to support the migration of legacy communications services to more cost effective advanced technologies.

As an early adopter of VoIP among government departments, MIPAAF linked all its main offices in Rome and more than 30 remote locations using BT IP Connect. “BT quickly deployed the new connectivity and helped us replace all our old switching systems and analogue phones with VoIP equipment,” says Domenico Mancusi. Now MIPAAF has about 2,000 VoIP users all over the country. “As a result, we’ve been able to handle internal voice communications effectively for free,” Domenico adds.

The BT IP Connect network has also enabled MIPAAF to upgrade all its internet access lines to higher speeds. “In the past users were always complaining that their internet access was clogged,” recalls Domenico Mancusi. However, the department now uses BT IP Connect data connectivity not only to exchange messages and access applications over its intranet, but also to access internet-based applications. “Now nobody complains about speed anymore,” says Domenico.

MIPAAF had historically used ISDN-based video conferencing, but it had not proved popular, with most employees reporting that they used it perhaps once a month. Now, daily IP-based video conferences enabled by the BT IP Connect network are commonplace, both to deliver remote training and to support internal meetings. “High quality video conferencing is becoming much more appreciated by our employees,” says Domenico Mancusi, “and best of all it’s free of any connection charges.”


The biggest cost savings have come from eliminating maintenance and support costs associated with the legacy switching systems, most of which were suffering reliability problems due to their age. “Just the yearly maintenance bill alone of our old main PABX in Rome was almost as big as the operating cost of the current VoIP service for our entire organisation,” testifies Mancusi.

The department’s primary goal was to save cost without jeopardising the level of service it offered and, over the last four years, its communications budget has plummeted from about €3 million down to just €1.2 million. That reduction includes savings on both maintenance costs and voice call and datacoms line costs.

Ordinary citizens, companies, and other institutions interacting with MIPAAF may have not yet have noticed any difference, but thanks to BT IP Connect, the department’s employees are spending less public money. They are also able to work more quickly and collaboratively using better IT tools.

“The whole project’s been a great success and has demonstrated that innovative technologies can help deliver better and more cost effective services,” concludes Domenico Mancusi. “We’re now experimenting with other new ideas like unified communication and better integration with other government bodies to further enhance our productivity.”

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