Local councils in Australia incorporate many moving parts and a host of reliant entities such as local businesses, schools, citizens, and employees.
They all depend on the availability of council information and demand a facility that makes things easier; and as Noosa Shire Council (NSC) realised, many elements can be made easier with up-to-date technology and timely access to accurate data.
The council north of Brisbane, Queensland identified a need to update its software back in 2013, and after considering a handful of on-premises options, it turned to Australian-listed TechnologyOne and the company's cloud-based OneCouncil software-as-a-service (SaaS) enterprise solution.
According to NSC IT manager Justin Thomas, it is important for the council to keep up with the expectations of the community, as well as its staff, even more so as they become more immersed in technology in their personal lives.
That meant the council making services available on mobile devices, Thomas added.
"Noosa Council wanted to consume ICT-as-a-service ... because it removed the constraints of working with limited internal IT resources and it enabled the council to run on a leading infrastructure platform in high-quality and highly-secure datacentres," he told ZDNet.
"It was also vital to us that the software was accessible from mobile devices.
"Running our systems in-house is a much bigger distraction than we appreciated. For the ICT team, it has been a big load off and increased the pace of change."
NSC employs a number of corporate systems from TechnologyOne including financials, asset management, human resources and payroll, electronic content management, GIS mapping, supply chain, and rating.
The initial enterprise SaaS investment from NSC totalled AU$1.2 million in licensing and service fees, with ongoing costs of AU$1 million per annum thereafter.
TechnologyOne said estimates guided by a KPMG cost analysis put the capital expenditure of a similar IT solution at approximately AU$5 million, with an estimated annual operating cost of AU$3.6 million.
Although ahead of many public and private organisations when it comes to cloud adoption, technology is not the council's focus.
"The technology simply supports the delivery of council services," Thomas explained. "When investing in technology we are always doing so with the end result and the community's needs in mind."
A digital transformation is not without its challenges, with employees varying in digital literacy and some simply averse to change. Thomas told ZDNet that in attempt to make transitions easier for all involved, NSC focuses on the opportunity new technologies present, rather than implementing new systems and processes and forcing them on staff.
"We try to understand the impact of the change on our users, both inside and outside the organisation, and communicate the change," he added.
Thomas said the council expects to implement new TechnologyOne online services as they become available, and work to develop a "smarter council that is better informed with the real-time capture of information".
Earlier this month, the dispute between TechnologyOne and Brisbane City Council over the delivery of an IT systems replacement program reached a resolution.
"In good faith, both parties have now resolved their differences on a without fault basis," TechnologyOne said in a disclosure to the ASX.
The dispute concerned a AU$122 million contract to deliver the Local Government Systems Program that TechnologyOne was awarded in June 2015.
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