Integrated data enterprise solution for Australian Council
Adopting a complete customer-centric approach as part of an organisational objective, the Livingstone Shire Council, nestled approximately 650km north of Brisbane along the beautiful Capricorn Coast of Australia’s Queensland, is simplifying the way consumers are engaging with public utility services.
The Council serving nearly 40,000 residents across 11,776km2 offers the standard regional services, including water and wastewater services as well as hard waste, parks, jobs, pets, parking and roads.
With these services, there were a number of disparate IT systems with no single source of truth and no single customer reference. The customer was expected to interact with a number of separate council departments for individual issues often being passed between multiple staff members.
In 2019, the Council decided it wanted to change that and to increase its customer-centric service approach started a process to identify and procure a relevant system. At the time the Council accepted that it needed to think bigger than the traditional local government space and offerings.
The decision was taken to implement SMAaRT Council Oracle as an integrated business solution that places the customer as the focus with a better experience through operational efficiency and agility across all its service areas.
A large body of work mapping all systems and workflows became the basis of its requirements for approaching the open market, with the outcome that the SMAaRT Council Oracle product was identified in partnership with project management company allaboutXpert as most closely aligned to its vision.
The AUS$12 million (US$9 million) transformation project, referred to as Project Merlin, has deployed the Oracle Customer to Meter solution, while the Work and Asset Cloud Services has equipped the Council with shared data via an integrated business solution for common functions such as rate management, billing and collections, land registration, work and asset management and capital works.
“As a small council without the same resources as larger bodies, we realised we could achieve greater value and economies of scale by utilising one enterprise asset management solution across all service areas,” says Matthew Willcocks, Chief Technology Officer at Livingstone Shire Council.
“For departments with similar work processes, one true single and central view of assets, data and metrics brings greater insights to predictive maintenance, and provides enormous benefit for greater overall efficiencies and operational cost savings.”
PROJECT SOLUTIONS AND CHALLENGES
With just one solution to maintain, there is added benefit to lean IT staff. Moreover, more accessible and transparent information also makes council-wide asset reporting easier and more efficient.
Some of the specific benefits that have been enabled by Oracle’s Customer to Meter and Work and Asset Cloud Services for the Livingstone Shire Council include:
• Reduced maintenance costs via automated risk identification and asset scoring;
• Streamlined maintenance management with automated work order creation, situational maintenance and GIS integration;
• Improved asset investment planning via a single, trusted source for all relevant work and asset information;
• Streamlined processes for rate capping, billing and collections;
• Improved self-service for common Council activities. Project challenges that arose were primarily associated with the existing data and its suitability for migration.
With the many separate systems, the differing levels of customer information needed to be aligned, cleaned and collated.
Change management also proved to be a large challenge with nearly 400 staff to be retrained without the luxury of pausing the existing customer service obligations. In support, the Council also backfilled its project team of twelve staff, which resulted in the finding of new talent in the community as well as attracting new residents to the region.
The Council is focused on continual improvements in overall service delivery at an operational level to provide ratepayers with the best possible value for money; as well as the implementation of long-term plans to reinvigorate the Shire’s economy and reinforce business confidence.
To this end, the Council anticipates further unveiling of the new solution for assets, finance, works management, mobile field services, procurement and more. These further phases will deliver human resources, payroll and enabling functions such as safety and learning management systems; an online customer portal including building, plumbing and development applications to simplify Council systems for its customers in 2022; and property, rating and debtor management in 2023.
“Once all the solution configuration is complete, we will be happy to work with other organisations to accelerate their transformation journeys by leveraging our existing contracts, configurations and training, which should provide a cost-effective solution for rapid deployment and hassle-free implementation,” concludes Willcocks.
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