Parkes Shire Council
The council has improved workplace efficiency and the quality of its service delivery with TechnologyOne's integrated enterprise solution
Faced with a state government review against the backdrop of proposed forced amalgamations, Parkes Shire Council began a process to become more agile and re-invent its business processes to prove it was ‘fit for the future’.
While successfully avoiding amalgamation, Council realised there was more work to be done to increase efficiency, reduce information silos and overcome incompatibility between various databases and legacy processes.
IT Manager, Anthony McGrath, said: “The patchwork of ‘best of breed’ IT solutions adopted over the past 15 years no longer provided the outcomes required of a modern organisation.
“The need for quality data for decision making - necessary for any organisational health assessment - was difficult, if not impossible, to obtain.
“It soon became apparent that data collection was becoming a job of its own. Extracting data from one data source and transforming and combining it with another was a very manual task.
“Simply tracking the status of a process was difficult, as a request, application or project moved in and out of disjointed software systems.
“On top of this, highly manual processes that were fine for an organisation of 50 employees were still being conducted for a size of more than 150.
“For instance, paper timesheets were written by the staff member, signed by the supervisor and signed again by the director before being manually replicated into the payroll system - every single week.
“Each business unit was slowly accumulating its own tech solutions to individual problems, which increased cost, created silos of ‘techsperts’ and exacerbated the issue of data management.”
By replacing its multiple existing systems with TechnologyOne’s enterprise solution built for local government, Council has streamlined its entire business operations.
The solution has brought benefits such as a 90 per cent reduction in paper matching of invoices for fleet management and a one week improvement on payment times to suppliers.
Mr McGrath said the implementation spurred a total business overhaul, as it involved every department and all workflows, prompting the redesign of job roles and restructuring to make the most of resources and meet customer expectations.
“Jobs that have been made more efficient by the implementation of the software will enable redeployment of staff to improve quality or value in service delivery,” he said.
“As Parkes Shire Council continues to review and improve its processes and delivery, we expect the software to evolve with us.”
The council implemented TechnologyOne’s OneCouncil solution to replace a jumble of outdated legacy systems, resulting in greater flexibility and an improved ability to leverage data.
By implementing TechnologyOne’s enterprise solution designed specifically for local government, Council now has an integrated, end-to-end solution suited for a digital future.
Jobs that have been made more efficient by the implementation of the software will enable redeployment of employees to improve quality or value in service delivery.
Parkes Shire Council knew it required more effective operating systems to shape the economic, cultural and environmental future of the region, despite the challenges posed by such a transformation.
Parkes Shire Council appointed Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to each key department, enabling Council to build internal capacity to embrace the new systems.
“Given the highly-integrated nature of the software solution, the SMEs found themselves breaking down silos and working incredibly effectively across functions,” said Mr McGrath.
Parkes Shire Council went live with the OneCouncil solution in July 2017 to coincide with the end of the financial year, after an intense year-long implementation and change management process.
Mr McGrath said the successful and on-time delivery of TechnologyOne’s solution was the result of a “truly collaborative effort”.
“The timing of go live meant the team had to contend with carry-over projects, outstanding purchase orders raised in the old system, new budgets and assets awaiting close-out of previous year’s books,” Mr McGrath said.
“On top of this, Parkes received a cold-snap over the weekend, causing dozens of water meters to break and resulting in an influx of customer requests, call-outs and overtime claims - a trial by fire for new systems, processes and data-management.
“While frantic, the first week was a rousing success with overwhelming positivity directed back at the project team.”
In particular, Council was delighted with changes to the high-risk and high-volume process of payroll. Around 170 timesheets plus overtime hours were successfully lodged during the first week and completed by 12pm the following Monday: a previously unheard-of feat.
The apprehension widely held by day-labour staff was largely overcome by this positive experience with many staff reporting a much easier user experience.
While complex, ageing systems necessitated a change, Parkes Shire Council sought to future-proof its organisation through a shift to a modern, integrated, end-to-end software solution.
“The largest inefficiencies found in internal auditing pointed to siloing of departments and incompatibility of various databases and legacy processes,” said Mr McGrath.
“Factor this with a need for greater transparency and an organisational challenge to improve responsiveness to customers, and it was decided to move towards an integrated corporate system and develop Council into an information technology-based business.”
Being able to access an intuitive interface via a browser or mobile devices, and rapidly scale to meet current and future user demand, made TechnologyOne’s enterprise software solution an obvious choice.
More accessible information has given Council more opportunities to automate, analyse and produce accurate reporting.
Mr McGrath said lack of integration had been a particular problem in financial asset management: “The complications of end-of-financial-year processing and valuation were enormously time-consuming, and error proofing became something of a nightmare.”
Now, the asset register and books are linked through one system, ensuring Council can accurately valuate assets and attribute costs for capital works at the end of the year.
“Parkes Shire Council has committed to further stages of this change journey, now with a focus on improved customer experience and enhanced data-driven decision making,” Mr McGrath said.
“If this partnership can be maintained, and Council commits to avoiding duplication of systems, there should not be a need to undertake such an enormous business-systems change ever again.”
About Parkes Shire Council
Parkes Shire Council is the local government organisation for the Parkes region in New South Wales, within five hours of Sydney and three hours of Canberra. Council employs more than 150 employees and represents a community of more than 15,000 people. Situated along the Newell Highway, Australia’s major inland touring route, and intersecting with essential rail corridors, Parkes is an accessible and appealing destination for tourism, lifestyle and business.
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