Tablelands Regional Council
Moving to a faster, more reliable Software as a Service ERP solution has enabled the council to eliminate many manual processes and open further online services to the community
Tablelands Regional Council (TRC) services a community of around 26,000 people across eleven tight-knit towns in Far North Queensland.
Covering 11,000 square kilometres to the west of Cairns, TRC faces unique challenges in delivering services across a vast area with low population density (0.01 people per hectare).
Council had been using TechnologyOne’s OneCouncil solution on-premise, but it wanted a more modern and mobile system.
TRC’s Senior Business Services Officer, Sarelle Sinclair, said transitioning its OneCouncil solution to Software as a Service (SaaS) was a vital step on Council’s digital transformation journey.
“We wanted to modernise our systems and overcome limitations such as ageing infrastructure, and the risks of operating in a remote, cyclone-prone area,” Sinclair said.
“We were basically unable to operate our critical corporate systems off-premise. Some of our software was being supported through microwave links and the speed was incredibly slow for end users.
“Our executive team also made it clear they wanted all our legacy business processes to be reviewed. We realised there were so many unnecessary steps being taken that could be improved with the software.
“The only way we could evolve our systems was to upgrade, and it became obvious to us that it was best to upgrade our infrastructure first and then advance the software further from there.”
During the COVID-19 lockdown in May 2020, Tablelands Regional Council transitioned its OneCouncil solution from on-premise to SaaS, enabling it to more easily adopt TechnologyOne’s Ci Anywhere platform.
With system improvement a key priority in TRC’s corporate plan, it wanted a scalable solution that would support its long-term strategic roadmap.
“Our plan was to go to the cloud, undertake a software upgrade, and then continue to modernise our business processes using the Ci Anywhere platform,” Sinclair said.
“The purpose of all of that was improved stability, mobility, speed and service.
“We felt that not only would TechnologyOne’s solution improve service delivery for our end users, it would also deliver overall improvements. Everything works faster, which gives employees more capacity, so they can provide a better service to our community.”
“We have seen a massive improvement in speed and connectivity,” Sinclair said.
Council immediately reaped the benefits of anytime, anywhere, and any device access, as it launched its SaaS ERP solution right in the middle of the national COVID-19 lockdown and state border closures.
“Connectivity improvements have limited employees’ frustrations and improved morale at our remote sites previously reliant on VPN. The ability to work from any device has been a hit.”
This also enabled TRC to continue with the completion of end of financial year processes, payroll, regulatory services, with these activities mostly undertaken by staff working from home.
TRC’s seamless move to SaaS allowed it to harness more advanced software features available on the Ci Anywhere platform including automation and self-service.
“That means we can eliminate a lot of manual processes that take up so much time. It’s an efficiency gain for the community: we can deliver services faster.
“SaaS also put us in a position to open up further online services to the community. In a digitised world, people want to be interacting with Council at any time of the day, including after hours.”
Everything works faster, which gives employees more capacity, so they can provide a better service to our community.
Tablelands Regional Council’s evolution to SaaS was underpinned by a clear digital transformation vision that dovetailed with Council’s overarching plan.
“Reviewing the move to SaaS in light of our future plan meant we had to consider the size of the investment and make a bigger decision about putting further dependencies on the core TechnologyOne system,” Sinclair said.
“Could it hold up to that? Our review showed it could. Deciding that the TechnologyOne platform was our future opened up so many other possibilities.
“For a council of our size, eliminating disparate systems and having one centralised platform was an opportunity to reduce our infrastructure costs, reduce our maintenance costs, improve end user experience, and community service delivery. The improvements were beyond what I could even describe really.
“It all made sense, and when you have that plan all lined out, you understand what your part is in the bigger picture.”
Engaging employees helped to ensure the move went smoothly.
“We interviewed people in Council and what kept coming up was speed and mobility. We said ‘Our future is your wish list, but we can only get there if you play a part in this’.
“We got everybody excited about where we are going and had a project launch and a big cake-cutting ceremony. TechnologyOne came up and supported us through everything: it was actually a partnership and we showed a united presence.”
Sinclair said TechnologyOne’s deep industry expertise made Council’s transformation easier, helping to lay the groundwork for ongoing improvement.
“Being exposed to very skilled TechnologyOne consultants provided us with a hands-on education that was amazing.
“You have to put in the work, but we would not change it. We are now where others want to be and it will continue to get better.”
System stability combined with agility were key reasons Tablelands Regional Council chose TechnologyOne’s SaaS platform.
TechnologyOne’s continued management of the SaaS environment means Council now has a more resilient system with dependable support and back-ups.
“Requesting a cloud service has been nice—having the experts apply package updates and maintenance,” Sinclair said.
SaaS offers a range of distinct advantages over maintaining an on-premise solution, including improved accessibility, reliability, scalability and security.
"We've spent hundreds of millions of dollars building the world's most trusted SaaS ERP solution that's secure, reliable and efficient. Due to our multi-tenant approach, every dollar spent on the Platform benefits every customer using it,” said Daniel Sultana, Director of TechnologyOne’s SaaS Platform.
“Through our partnership with AWS, we are delivering to Tablelands Regional Council an extremely high security and compliance posture, the ability to rapidly scale, and a level of service that you just cannot deliver in an on-premise environment."
Implementing SaaS also allowed Council to quickly embrace remote working with minimal disruption during the coronavirus pandemic.
“With COVID-19 social distancing rules it has allowed us to continue to work business as usual from remote locations,” Sinclair said.
“Our staff were able to work from any location with even the poorest internet connections. Not having to rely on VPN’s or microwave links to access our corporate suites proved to be priceless.”
About Tablelands Regional Council
Tablelands Regional Council is a forward thinking, progressive and inclusive organisation, delivering a range of services and programs for the community.
Located in Far North Queensland, about 100 kilometres west of Cairns International Airport, the Tablelands region has good road networks with endless opportunities to explore, year-round great climate, rich history and new world-class infrastructure.Tablelands Regional Council website
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Local Government ArticleScrambling to meet ‘business unusual’ demands has escalated plans for SaaS transition in local government.Read timePublish date 12 Aug 2020
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