Tuesday, 24 May 2016 07:27

Noosa gets organised

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There is a sliver of gold on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast – Noosa and its famous Hastings Street where formal dress is shorts or bathers, Gucci of course.

Noosa Council services more than 56,000 people in its local government area, has 343 full-time equivalent staff, operates an annual budget of $119 million and has $980 million worth of assets. It’s a wealthy little hamlet with some discerning ratepayers.

Increasingly, the organisation had been using ad hoc systems and procedures based on Microsoft Visio, Excel, and Word to manage processes but these lacked consistency and were difficult to access.  At the same time, there was only minor standardisation or collaboration between different council operations — too many silos — resulting in a lack of process efficiency in everything from onboarding of new staff to handling council resident issues.

“While Noosa Council has a long and proud tradition, we also recognised that we are a council that needs to continually develop new ideas and new ways of operating.  As a result, we’re now deploying new versions of financial, HR, asset management, property and rating software this year as part of our digital transformation journey.  The roll-out of these new technologies will be supported by Promapp which will assist with the mapping of procedures ensuring the successful application of new IT applications and their widespread adoption internally,” says Justin Thomas, ICT manager, corporate services, Noosa Council.

Noosa Council decided to deploy Promapp following a comprehensive market review. It was selected based on its ease of use and deployment, affordability and appealing licensing model.

“We wanted a SaaS (Software as a Service) turnkey solution delivered from the Internet and had heard of other councils that were achieving great operational results following their own Promapp deployment. It has easy to use features and can rapidly draw down documents from the Internet which meant that we did not need to invest in additional IT infrastructure. At the same time, its document outputs are really attractive.

“We were also attracted by Promapp’s Local Government Shared Process Library which will enable us to share knowledge and learn from the experience of other councils throughout Australia and New Zealand – how they’re currently operating and managing their own processes, performance and customer service,” says Thomas.

The library itself includes over 1000 processes developed by councils and uploaded to the cloud for sharing, including processes for activities such as building consents, resource consents, wastewater management, environmental health and environmental monitoring. The library also includes an extensive set of processes for dealing with land information, parking, libraries and museums, recreation and leisure, community development, animal management and compliance as well as customer service and service delivery.

A key use for Promapp will also be in supporting the documentation of public interactions and being able to clearly see how these pass through the organisation. This will enable the organisation to support a reduction in call handling times resulting in a boost to overall frontline customer service. Promapp will simultaneously reinforce the handling of internal HR issues and provide process support for a seamless approach to council meeting agenda construction and reports.

“We wanted business process documentation to assist with day-to-day processes as well as to support a cultural change in the organisation to one that would be receptive to supporting consistency and being open to change. From an IT perspective, Promapp will also support the range of policies and strategies that set the path for future Noosa Council operations.

“Promapp is a key focus for Noosa Council ultimately enabling us to maximise the use of smart ICT systems to drive both efficiencies and good governance practices. It will be progressively rolled out in the months ahead and will deliver new capabilities which will support cultural change, keep everyone on track and nurture innovation to support our overall council service offering,” says Thomas.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw [email protected]  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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