Thursday, June 23 2022

For public sector companies, the transition to the new era of unified communications and digital transformation can be complex. This is especially true for groups with years of investment in legacy technology and processes.

Accessing the best possible results often means working with a partner who can adapt to your needs. Fortunately, companies like Microsoft not only offer a flexible ecosystem of unified communication and collaboration tools, but also a wide variety of certified partners. Companies such as Information Leadership, Microsoft Gold Partners, and IT experts can work with Microsoft to provide unique solutions to specific public sector problems.

For the Tasman District Council (TDC), the versatile solutions of the Microsoft ecosystem, combined with the advice offered by Information Leadership, led to a fast and effective digital transformation. here’s how Microsoft, TDC and CIO worked together.

Create a strategy to go digital

Although small compared to some countries, New Zealand is diverse, with over 75 appointed councils across the country. Each council plays a crucial role in overseeing the resources, people and infrastructure in its region. These district councils are large, complex, and full of staff to manage and stringent regulatory requirements.

The Tasman District Council is one such crucial council group charged with performing the functions of both a city council and a regional council. This means that the group is responsible for managing various businesses ranging from sewage systems to dog licenses. Each field of work requires large datasets governed by specific regulations.

Unfortunately, for some time TDC has struggled with outdated processes, including paper-based data management, which makes it harder to keep track of important information. Even digitally executed workflows were based on an aging system, which made consulting slow, unproductive and often frustrated.

According to CIO of TDC, Steve Mannersin some respects, the band describes itself as 15 or 20 years behind other organizations.

Tasman District Council finally decided it was time for a change in 2020 and reached out to Microsoft Partner Information Leadership for help replacing an aging environment. However, right at the start of the project, the country suddenly found itself stuck at Tier 4, presenting a significant hurdle.

Only about 1 in 5 TDC employees had the tools to work from home, making it extremely difficult to continue operations. However, rather than put the digital transformation process on hold, the TDC decided to move even faster towards its goal.

Rapid implementation of a new solution

According to the managing director of TDC, there was a great temptation to say that the time was not right for the start of the pandemic. However, the band believed this would have led to a considerable loss of momentum. Instead, the team decided to take the plunge and go all-in.

Information Leadership worked with TDC to develop four key solutions to streamline business processes built through the Microsoft 365 stack. The first challenge was to consolidate information in a way that increases productivity and ensures compliance in a flexible workplace. The result was a new, modern information system (known as DORIS) equipped to handle over 750,000 documents.

Once documents were moved into the Microsoft stack, employees could find the information they needed faster and in one place. For example, a digital property search in the new system allowed the group to locate all content related to a single property, from animal control issues to building permits, in a single view. Staff now access 4,500 documents a day instead of sorting through paper files.

The second step in TDC’s digital transformation roadmap was the introduction of Microsoft Teams, which was introduced at the start of the lockdown. The information leadership team created a clear framework for organizing all information in Teams, so staff could quickly find all the information they needed and the people they needed to deal with.

Teams is now a vital part of how TDC staff members communicate, with more than 300 public meetings held on Teams, giving staff live updates from management.

The third part of the solution was change management, implemented to ensure that the project was not just focused on changing IT systems, but also changing the way TDC staff could work and to behave. The Information Leadership group provided training to get teams up to speed quickly. Additionally, over 300 staff members attended an Expo event and mentors were used to accelerate the deployment of containment teams with video training sessions.

The technology is still used for training today, saving the board money and giving staff access to an important resource they can regularly refer to.

Unlock Powerful Results

The final aspect of the Microsoft-led solution designed for TDC used Microsoft’s Power Platform to enable TDC business analysts to solve problems and share important information with residents in an easy-to-digest format. This has been very useful in the area of ​​water management, where a system using Power BI can display real-time water levels and water restriction levels. Being able to see this information in an organized and graphical way has been very important to users.

Power Automate also helped streamline the onboarding process for internal contractors. Prior to Microsoft, the Information Services team had to constantly follow up with individuals to see if contracts had been signed. Now the new system means contractors can automatically generate forms on a website which can then be delivered to the right person.

The project with Microsoft and Information Leadership provided TDC with access to massive gains in efficiency and productivity and significant reductions in organizational risk.

According to Steve, the transition to this new digital landscape will ensure that TDC’s systems and processes can remain up-to-date in the future, no matter what. By eliminating decades of on-premises legacy systems, the company took a “decade” leap forward in digital transformation results. The organization plans to continue using the Microsoft 365 environment to stay ahead in the future.


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