Case study: Streamlining with service oriented architecture saves £50,000
Tewkesbury Borough Council has turned to service oriented architecture (SOA) to streamline the way it deals with customer requests.
The council has been working with middleware company Software AG to integrate its bulky waste collection database with its customer relationship management (CRM) system and Government Gateway e-payment system.
As a result of the work, customer service agents can now enter data in the CRM application, which is then fed through to the other related systems.
Agents now only have to access one application - previously staff had to enter details into all three systems meaning requests took longer to process and temp workers were needed to input data.
Speaking to silicon.com, the council's IT manager Graham Quint said: "It was long-winded and time-consuming for customer services as well as the customer."
The council estimates the SOA technology has saved around £50,000 in resource costs as it has reduced the number of temporary workers needed to enter data.
Although there was little resistance to SOA from the organisation, Quint said: "The biggest challenge for us as an organisation was actually just getting our heads around it - being able to understand how to carve up your business processes into usable chunks."
"We're always looking for current technologies [and] ways of thinking, and basically trying to get the maximum out of technology we can to support the business," he added.
The council has also been able to use SOA work for the renewal of payments for garden waste collection and the ordering of rubbish bins.
Council CRM manager, Malcolm Ashdown, told silicon.com: "That's one of the benefits that we've found of the SOA - the reuse of sequences within the technology."
In the near future the council plans to use SOA to more tightly integrate its revenues and benefits systems and create a more personalised service where people can view their council tax and benefits online.