Government digital

Considerations for local councils looking to make changes in 2016

By: John Munro, ICT Service Manager, Clackmannanshire Council
Published: Friday, January 15, 2016 - 09:00 GMT Jump to Comments

Clackmannanshire Council simplified its finance architecture in 2015, replacing its ageing technology and re-engineering the way staff and systems work together.

2015 was a big year for this small council. We were driven, as always, by the needs of those we serve - our 50,000 citizens. We were becoming frustrated by the knowledge that we could be integrating our processes and departments far more effectively, which would result in faster, more satisfactory interactions for citizens.

In particular, I couldn’t rid myself of the concerns regarding the internal knowledge management of our technology – some solutions were so old that nobody could remember who originally installed them. We knew that our existing financial technology wasn’t going to support our plans. It was time to match our ambition with our capability.

In the summer of 2015, we chose to say goodbye to our old systems and replace with a single enterprise solution, delivered as a service, by TechnologyOne. Together, we’re in the midst of the design and change management workshops now, with a go-live deadline of April 2016. The tender and scoping process, the procedure of trying to communicate our ‘vision’ with a vendor partner, and the planning of such a big project have already given me a few learning points, which I feel are worth sharing.

Take the team with you – help them understand your vision

I always like to try and do things differently. When it came to such a big change and a potentially huge project, I have been unswervingly focused on building something really different. I’m lucky to have a project team that supports my approach.

We are all excited to make the jump to Software as a Service (SaaS), and we have put considerable effort into ensuring that every team member who will have contact with the new solution has been consulted on and that they understand what we’re trying to achieve.

Gain a deep understanding of every job roles’ quirks

To understand how the new system will make positive change, you need to get a total immersion into what each and every user needs to be able to complete their job. Many of these conversations will be baffling, and you might get frustrated at what you see as current inefficiencies, and you may encounter some very quirky workarounds. However, try as much as possible to understand these and reassure those who may have been doing the same job on the same system for a long time, that the new system will be positive.

Assume the role of marketing supremo

Talking of positive – it’s worth noting that much of your time - and therefore your consideration - should be given over to cheerleading the new system. We are using TechnologyOne’s OneCouncil solution principally to eliminate paper-based processes and streamline supplier transactions. It can, however, do so much more.

There are many features that are going to make a huge difference to our team, and, more importantly, really improve services for citizens. When you begin to explore these avenues with your new solution it is a good idea to note them down and use them. Telling stories with happy endings always results in them more memorable.

Focus on the ‘never again’

By identifying the real pain points and marking them as things you’d ‘never again’ like to have to deal with, you can show your vendor partner where your bottom line is, and give them something to work with creatively. We knew, for example, that updating software caused us significant problems that I did not want team members facing again. As a result, TechnologyOne was able to reassure us that software and infrastructure updates are part of their service.

To truly change the way we work at Clackmannanshire Council, we don’t want bespoke system with endless customisations to fit our quirks. I wanted our team to re-design the way we function to fit a proven system, such as OneCouncil. So far, it’s working really well and I wish you luck if you’re embarking on the same.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Information Daily, its parent company or any associated businesses.

Comments

Latest

Outdated infrastructure and an increasingly fragmented market threaten the future of technology-enabled integrated care.

County Durham voters back devolution in the North-East, Sir Digby Jones considers run for West Midlands mayor…

The recent launch of The Mayoral Tech Manifesto 2016 on London’s digital future, sets out a clear agenda…

The manufacturing industry is currently facing scrutiny from parties concerned for its survival. Far from facing…

Almost a year ago, I made some predictions for what would take place in government and public sector customer…

Sheffield, Warrington and Doncaster announce cuts, Lincolnshire is held to data ransom, fight begins for West…

Working for an education charity delivering numeracy and literacy programmes in primary schools, I’m only…

Northamptonshire County Council recently received the maximum four star rating from Better connected after putting…

Historically, the entrance of new generations into the workplace has caused varying levels of disruption. The…

Following another commendation for digital services, Surrey County Council's Web and Digital Services Manager,…

We cannot carry on spinning the roulette wheel that is cyber security, knowing that the “castle and moat”…

This week David Cameron wades into row over £69m of cuts planned by Oxfordshire CC; Stoke on Trent plans…