Thursday, 24 March 2016 12:24

270 local councils can’t be wrong

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And millions of rate payers need to interact with them – automation and engagement are high priorities to reduce labour costs and rates.

Civica has announced a major update to its flagship Australia & New Zealand local government software platform, Civica Authority, version 6.11. This includes the first of a series of smartphone apps created for council workers.

Called Actus, the app allows residents to be updated on the timing/status of repairs and other work in real time by linking CRM systems to council workers in the field. It also allows council employees to automatically receive task updates, job scheduling, resident information, order parts or seek further instruction without having to return to the depot.

Besides the app, the update includes a range of other new and enhanced software modules for local councils. Civica is ANZ’s biggest local government services and software supplier, with more than 270 local councils using the Authority platform.

Matt Burgess, managing director, Civica Local Government Solutions said Civica Actus would improve flexibility and responsiveness of local government workforces. “Councils throughout Australia and New Zealand are constantly looking to reduce time, improve ratepayer satisfaction and lower cost; however, that is very hard when your workforce is tethered to a desk,” said Burgess.

“Civica Authority’s new mobile CRM tools are a more effective way for local governments to communicate across the organisation and provide better service to residents. They provide greater visibility and accountability which in turn delivers a higher level of customer service. I’m also delighted to say we have our first sale, to City of Rockingham in Western Australia, following a preview of the solution,” he added.

Actus is the first in the Authority Connect series of apps being developed by Civica. The app connects remotely-based (field-workers) council workers with customer request management software. The advanced collaboration tool allows council workers to receive task updates, job scheduling and other critical information on smartphones, tablets and laptops, without having to return to the council depot. Residents can also be provided with status updates in real time.

Civica Authority solution offers more than 40 modules that deliver a single integrated solution for councils based around a single view of the customer.

According to a recent survey of 250 civic leaders conducted by the UTS Centre for Local Government in partnership with Civica, 85 per cent of councils will look to deploy mobile working solutions within the next ten years.

Enhancements to Authority

Numerous enhancements as part of Authority’s scheduled roadmap of ongoing development were also announced today including Utility Billing, Online Timesheet, Facilities Booking and BPOINT Integration.

Authority 6.11 includes enhancements across many modules including Accounts Receivable, Asset Management, CRM, Records Management and many more as detailed below:

  • Strata Plan document attachment
  • Accounts Receivable - AR receipt payment allocation
  • Assets - CVR Depreciation only posting
  • Assets - CVR Movements report
  • Customer Request Management (CRM) - My Tasks
  • Customer Request Management (CRM) - VoIP Integration
  • Customer Request Management (CRM) - GIS Integration
  • HP Records Manager to CRM Integration
  • HP Records Manager - Support and Integration Field Mapping
  • General Ledger - Finance Module attachments
  • Infringements - Automated Infringement Poster
  • Payroll - Online Leave Certificates and Work Patterns
  • Receipting - BPOINT Hosted Web Page Facility and Automated Agency Receipting Facility
  • Server Performance - Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Certification
  • Work Order Enquiry
  • MasterPlan - Integration to Authority
  • Cemetery - User Definable Fields

“The wide range of features added to Authority and its modules during the update demonstrates Civica’s ongoing commitment and support for ANZ’s most trusted local government software platform,” Burgess said.

Module enhancements released as part of the Civica Authority 6.11 update include:

Utility Billing: provides comprehensive management facilities of metered services such as water and gas to residents. The module incorporates the ability to apply separate charges to owners and/or tenants and can automatically update accounts following ownership changes. The Utility Billing module also integrates with mobile meter reading devices, including full reading route and meter location information.

Online Timesheet: replaces paper-based timesheet processes with online employee entry, manager timesheet approval and new management functions for payroll officers. By shifting timesheet entry and processing online, local governments can reduce administration time, errors and double-handling. Online Timesheet can also be used by employees such as planners and design engineers to allocate their time to specific work orders or General Ledger Accounts.

Facilities Bookings: centralises the management of facility bookings in a single online location. Councils can display details of function rooms, sporting venues, meeting rooms and other facilities online and show booking availability. Residents can book and pay for facilities via direct debit or credit card, without the need to contact the customer support centre or facility manager.

BPOINT Integration: councils can now use the Commonwealth Bank’s BPOINT payment gateway within Authority eServices, including an automated agency receipting facility. eService payment functions including shopping carts, online applications, animal registrations and online certificates can now be redirected to the BPoint Hosted Payment Page to accept payments.

eServices redesign: The new Authority eServices user interface incorporates a contemporary screen design and usability features. Each screen is now web responsive which takes the public user’s device into account when rendering the transaction. This facilitates the entering of a customer request on a device or making a payment to council.

Key features of Civica Actus include:

Real-time task update: field workers can update the progress of tasks in real time, automatically updating other council staff and customer service representatives. Checklists and commentary fields provide detailed information on task progress from their mobile device to a central server.

Auto synchronisation and offline access to data: full online and offline working enables council staff to be productive and continue working in remote/regional areas and synchronize upon reconnection.

Work scheduling: council workers can schedule a variety of tasks based on geographic location, job type, task requirement and available resources. This ensures improved mobility and better prioritisation of important jobs.

Multimedia sharing: images, videos and sound clips taken from smartphones and other devices can be automatically linked and shared from the field.

Secure access: only an authenticated Actus user can access local government data. Workers must provide a username and password to authenticate them. When authenticated, they can only access data relevant to their role.

Civica Actus is compatible with iOS, Android and Windows devices. It can be downloaded by councils from the app stores after receiving activation codes from Civica.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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