Queensland building regulator undergoes digital and cultural transformation

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission began its move to digital only two years ago, pulling the organisation out of the dark ages by focusing on its culture.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) has spent the past two years pulling itself out of what it called the dark ages, undergoing a digital transformation.

However, if you ask Bruce McGregor, executive director customer service for the QBCC, he will tell you that it has been a cultural journey, one driven by technology.

The QBCC exists to license contractors, resolve defective building work disputes, and provide insurance to protect home owners. As far as the building regulator is concerned, its strategy is to make it simpler and easier for its staff -- which McGregor calls internal customers -- to go to work and do their job every single day.

"It's got nothing to do with external customers," McGregor said. "It's not about market share or delivering a new social media channel, it's about making things simpler and easier."

The QBCC is only two years old, undergoing a rebranding after its predecessor, the Building Services Authority, faced a parliamentary inquiry. McGregor said the QBCC came back with a vengeance, a new management team, a new board, a new commissioner, and a new focus, with McGregor saying that very little was left from the old brand.

"If you go through a parliamentary inquiry, it is not a good thing," he said. "We have been on a cultural transformation. Why I'm here today is about culture -- it is not about technology.

"Our journey is culture; it is trying to get what is a typical government organisation to be customer-centric. And the way that we believe we can do that is focusing on culture to make it simpler and easier for our staff who will in turn deliver a greater customer service."

McGregor said underpinning the transformation project is a comprehensive revision of the QBCC's IT infrastructure.

"We needed to fix decades' worth of point-to-point code with unwieldy links that made adding new features and functions very difficult," he said.

Approximately 18 months ago, the QBCC employed Salesforce as its core CRM platform for all internal processes and customer service interactions. However, to achieve this aim, McGregor said its IT team needed a way to ensure that data could flow between Salesforce, the commission's existing legacy systems, and its customer engagement channels.

The QBCC is currently shutting down its legacy systems that house customer information, merging completely to a central Salesforce CRM that connects to the Mulesoft Anypoint platform, which then connects to a range of services that the organisation uses, McGregor said.

"We have over 180 disparate systems, and I'm talking about little things through to massive big boxes," he said. "Phase one of our consolidation gets us down to 120, but sitting right in the middle of that is a Mulesoft capability which for me connects the spaghetti -- but what that actually means is that I can get to market quicker."

As a result of the new process, McGregor said the QBCC has benefited from an increase of more than 165 percent in the accuracy of data received from customers. This has also resulted in reducing the time required to review cases by approximately half.

Further statistics provided by Mulesoft show that QBCC customers are interacting on digital channels three times more than traditional channels.

The QBCC has already transformed one-third of its business, and is aiming to complete its full transition by the end of the year with work currently underway on redesigning its insurance systems to take advantage of the new Salesforce platform.

Although a government body, McGregor said the QBCC is a self-funded statutory organisation that does not receive money from the state Treasury. In last year's state budget, however, the QBCC was allocated AU$4.7 million for the continued rollout of updated computer systems.

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