City of Gosnells

City of Gosnells logoiFerret measures up to real world information challenges at the City of Gosnells

Making best use of his time at the airport before boarding a Friday afternoon flight, the Chief Executive Officer of the City of Gosnells in Perth’s south-east asked his staff to action an information request from the Western Australian Ombudsman.

Just a half an hour later he received a spreadsheet detailing the documents which would satisfy that request: a year’s worth of corre- spondence related to one case which was contained in 550 documents drawn from across the spectrum of the City’s information systems.

For Kevin Barnett, the City’s Information Management Services (IMS) Coordinator who undertook the process, it was a pleasing result. To satisfy the request, he had used iFerret, the solution for undertaking structured and unstructured searches of all forms of local government information repositories.

Most modern councils deploy a variety of information systems to support business initiatives and client requirements.

“While these systems provide valuable transaction processing capability, they also create islands of information. There’s a wealth of information that is not used adequately because staff either don’t know it exists or they have trouble accessing it.

“However we had three real world examples in which iFerret delivered exactly what we wanted in minutes. It saved us days of work,” Kevin Barnett said.

In a similar way to the Ombudsman’s enquiry, the Gosnell’s CEO requested the supply of correspondence between the City and a developer from 2010 to 2012, including that which resided only in the email archive.

iFerret located 450 documents, which were exported and zipped. Included in the package was an interactive html schedule of contents which enabled someone to select one of the documents on the schedule and then be presented with the actual document as a pdf, any of the Office document types, email or image formats. With a managed set of data Mr Barnett was able to go back and check in a timely manner that each of the documents did in fact belong to the developer.

A third example of how iFerret operated came in response to a request from the City’s lawyer who in court had to table the costs associated with a development. In minutes the 45 relevant documents were located in the email archive, ECM and on network drives.

That outcome cemented the City’s decision to deploy iFerret. It became the first local government in Western Australia to select iFerret, joining users in more than 40 local governments elsewhere in Australia.

Some 17 km south-east of the Perth CBD, The City of Gosnells is one of the largest local governments in WA by population. Serving 125,000 people in an area of 127 km2, it encompasses rural zones in the east and south and some commercial and industrial developments, particularly along Albany Highway.

Fuelling the City’s high population growth are new land releases and housing developments, particularly in Canning Vale and Southern River, while redevelopment is becoming a focus in the suburbs of Maddington, Beckenham, Kenwick and Gosnells.

The City has several structured and unstructured data repositories in the form of Technology One’s Electronic Content Management System (ECM), Land Information System (LIS), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), other corporate systems, email, email archives, file shares and network drives.

In 2015 City of Gosnells Manager of Information Services, Pamela Campbell presented a business case to the City’s executive which identified that, despite effective education and improvement programs, the City’s information was sometimes not where it should be.

Ms Campbell observed that staff were devoting a lot of time and resources looking for information and even after finding it, there was no certainty that it was the latest and most accurate version.

“We asked how we could make better use of our corporate information and be assured that enquiries were returning holistic, accurate and up to date results. Equally, we needed to be sure we were looking for the information in the right places,” she explained.

IMS officers search for information through internal repositories on a daily basis and are well skilled within their specialist application area. Assuming the information exists in ECM they have a high chance of finding it. However, if the information is not within ECM they will generally not know about it. Then there are levels of access to some City information: for example, only the IMS Coordinator has across the board access to the email archive of all staff.

Administration staff look in the corporate repositories such as the LIS and CRM systems on a regular basis, according to their needs. Again, says Mr Barnett, they need a high level of familiarity and education about the systems they are using to locate information. They may need to look in multiple systems to find all the information they require or conversely they will generally not look in the unstructured systems for related or important supporting data.

Other staff or casual users will look on an “as needed” basis and this group of people will generally not have a high level of training across all systems and they may often be a specialist in a given area.

“This creates great challenges for us as we generally do not have the capability to search and discover information across the organisation, relative to a given need. If staff want to attempt a thorough search or investigation it can be time-consuming, resource hungry and costly, and at times we will not find all the information we need. This is a concern in terms of the City’s risk management,” Mr Barnett said.

A further consideration related to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests is that while possibly only a handful of documents might be relevant to an enquiry from the Ombudsman each one must nevertheless be assessed. Ms Campbell’s business case recommended that the City evaluate an appliance solution deployed out of the box. It was believed this would contribute to a rapid and easy deployment, with lower training costs than a solution built using a toolbox approach.

iFerret is a "turnkey" solution which is delivered to be fully operational with little effort required by the customer who simply needs to provide read only access to the systems to be included in the search. After iPlatinum completed the necessary scanning and indexing it trained staff on a fully operational solution sitting across all information.

Mr Barnett said “we heard anecdotally that those local governments using iFerret were achieving increased efficiency and reduced costs. Conversely, solutions using a toolbox strategy might only achieve limited success for the time and effort which went into their development.”

The City of Gosnells set very simple metrics to determine if iFerret would meet its needs: confirm that iFerret could find all relevant documents across datasets and improve efficiency in that process.

“Since the initial deployment of iFerret those using it are very happy. The word is spreading and it is creating a buzz. I see it being widely embraced across council” Mr Barnett said.

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Hornsby Shire Council

Hornsby Shire Council logoHornsby answers the question: how to manage historical data when information systems change

As a number of councils in New South Wales face the prospect of amalgamations a major question confronts many of them, namely what to do with the historical information residing in their legacy systems.

For Hornsby Shire Council on Sydney’s northern outskirts this question became more of a dilemma when the Council decided after 15 years, to move from the Councils Online Managed Service to a new solution based largely “in the cloud” as well some in-house operations.

Hornsby’s Manager Information, Communication and Technology, Craig Munns, explained that the Council’s decision to move off the service was aimed at reducing costs, as well as having a solution which more effectively met its business requirements, priorities and management needs.

“Deployment of various applications in a cloud environment –such as finance, assets, HR, payroll, performance management and library- as well as direct in-house control of Pathway, Trim, InfoCouncil and GIS are delivering major benefits,” Mr Munns said.

“These benefits include stronger management, more control and flexibility over hardware systems and greater responsibility without the need for more staff.”

But in the move to the new system Hornsby faced the question should it convert all historical information over to the new system, or archive it? In addition to archiving historical information, Hornsby faced a new online casino blackjack-strategy, which in 2017 prepared the best bonuses for its players. The newest strategy games are used on this playground.

While the first strategy implied a substantial systems conversion project, the latter raised the question of whether the Council could store and access historical data, independent of an application to support that data.

And further influencing Hornsby, as many councils are now discovering, the more applications in the cloud, the higher the financial premium for data storage.

As Hornsby embarked on its latest generation of information systems Mr Munns acknowledged the implications for archiving were far more wide-reaching than two years earlier. At that time, iFerret had been initially deployed as a corporate search tool to quickly retrieve information from across multiple data bases, including Lotus Notes, Pathway, TRIM, email, network drives and other archives.

Soon after iFerret was being rolled out the Council commissioned iPlatinum to migrate its existing iPlatinum archiving solution to allow it to query and report on data in Hornsby’s Stowe TCS, from which it had upgraded in 2004.

The success of that initial archive project at Hornsby dictated a strategy that has since seen it commission the building of archives using iFerret to access the Council’s Business Paper system, the Oracle eBusiness suite (finance, HR, payroll assets and CRM) and the Kronos Time and Attendance system.

Craig Munns is charged with leading continuous strategic improvement initiatives in corporate software, hardware and processes which impact every division of Hornsby Council.

“Our archive development project aimed to archive Council legacy systems to ensure less risk of missing data, with easy, read only access.

“Satisfaction with the first archive development project made it a straightforward decision to commission iPlatinum’s services again,” Mr Munns said.

Database backups were used to load the original data required for the development of the various new archives. iPlatinum staff then undertook a data mapping exercise, transforming the source data into an archive warehouse which provides appropriate views for reporting. Hornsby staff then tested that the reporting was accurate and identified wheth- er any required data was not available in the reporting.

The Council’s payroll application required quick access to archived data. Other less time-critical applications focused mainly on balances from the finance system and masterfile data related to assets. The need to access archives is expected to gradually reduce as data becomes available through Hornsby’s new in-house systems.

The iPlatinum iArchive solution accommodates any council historical data that no longer has a place in current transaction systems. It provides the capability to query and report on historical data in legacy systems such as GenaCIS, Stowe TCS, Practical, Fujitsu, PeopleSoft Financials, Oracle Financials, JDE Financials, Chris HR/Payroll, Business Paper systems, Asset Management systems, Time and Attendance systems, Records solutions and more, without the need for a supporting application.

The solution provides a means of handling legacy historic information and ensuring ongoing seamless access without the need to maintain or know how to navigate around redundant historical business systems.

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Ipswich Council

City of Ipswich Council logoiFerret heralds many benefits for first Queensland council

An enterprise search solution heralds many potential benefits but Queensland’s Ipswich City Council says its implementation of iFerret also highlights the importance of security, both across the enterprise and within source systems.

While Queensland’s oldest provincial city has been making a name for itself - as one of the world’s top 7 most intelligent communities for the way it is mapping out its digital future - its Council was facing more prosaic information systems challenges.

These challenges include the search of information assets across multiple corporate systems and network drives to assist with “Right to Information” (RTI) requests, identification of data quality issues (such as duplicate documents) in information assets which had to be addressed prior to introduction of a new EDRMS system and the need to provide a single view of each customer across multiple customer systems.

Cr Paul Tully, Chair of the Information and Technology Board, advised “After an extensive evaluation of solutions, including global brands, locally developed iFerret was chosen as the best option for the Council to undertake structured and unstructured searches of its various information repositories.”

Ipswich is the first Council to implement iFerret in Queensland and it joins a rapidly growing user community.

The strategy is to implement iFerret gradually, initially limiting it to a small number of people and using production data to ensure security on documents and network drives is correct.

Access to the system was limited to less than 20 people with testing continuing to ensure that unexpected outcomes would not occur as access to iFerret was broadened to other Council staff.

The pilot project required iFerret to:

  • confirm the consistency and relevance of the search results it generated
  • provide quantitative and qualitative analysis of data available in Council’s applications
  • assess the quality of data stored in key repositories
  • assess search effectiveness and efficiency
  • identify organisational impacts of implementing an enterprise search solution

Test cases were developed for completion by pilot participants with a score given to the application. These scores were entered into a pilot evaluation report which was reviewed and approved through Council’s governance framework.

iFerret is now enabling documents to be located in a matter of seconds, when previously they may not have been found or it would have taken a long time to find them.

As part of its assessment Council looked at the use of conventional search engines, only to conclude they were not as feature-rich as iFerret and that they were much more expensive.

The Council’s business case for a search solution itemised nine functions against which potential suppliers were evaluated including information search, results filtering, preview and thumbnails including contextual, autocomplete of search criteria, duplicate document identification, security controls from the native application, exporting of results sets, sorting of results sets and indexing of information repositories.

iFerret was used to identify the existence of duplicate information but not to remove it. A manual process will be used to determine which duplicates can be removed with iFerret reporting being used to confirm the reduction in duplicate records.

The project team confirmed the consistency and relevance of the search results by testing the information generated by iFerret against that held in the source repository.

iFerret is simple and straightforward to use, much like a Google search. As a result no formal training course has been needed. However hints and tips guides are being developed as reference documents for future users.

Council have found the vendor of the product, iPLATINUM, to be extremely helpful and responsive to requests for enhancements and clarification of queries experienced during the implementation.

Cr Paul Tully, Chair of the Information and Technology Board, identified that “Improved access to documents, improved information on data quality in current systems and the ability to identify duplicate documents, underscored by major time savings, already lead a list of benefits starting to flow at Ipswich.”

While the ultimate number of users of iFerret is yet to be determined the initial focus is on corporate applications. The next step is to bed down the system and consider other applications where there is deemed to be sufficient value for indexing the application, extending the contribution of iFerret in providing Council services.

Sutherland Shire

sutherland shire

Sutherland Shire streamlines the search for its information assets

Records are an asset and should be seen as such by any organisation says Ellen Whittingstall. So much is she a champion of the need for good record keeping at Sutherland Shire Council that she stages “Ellen’s Rant” as a precursor to training staff in the use of iFerret, the search engine deployed to locate even the most elusive records and data for local government.

It’s an opportunity to remind staff of their responsibilities about the importance of good record keeping says Ms Whittingstall, the executive officer, privacy and access to information, at the fifth biggest council in NSW.

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Randwick Council

randwick city council

iFerret uncovers the facts to ensure good corporate governance at Randwick Council

They are not uncommon problems reported to council call centres: the damaged footpath which results in someone falling and sustaining an injury or a tree in a public space that drops a large limb and damages private property. If such incidents are consequential enough they will set in train a search for information stored across numerous data repositories. That information may be required to satisfy insurance claims, assemble the facts for subpoenas in judicial proceedings or in some instances, respond to Government Information (Public Access) information requests. In short it’s information to help ensure good corporate governance. Not only are such searches time-consuming but in the end they may not locate all the relevant information.

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Lake Macquarie City Council

lake macquarie council

Search engine ferrets out the information for Lake Macquarie City Council

By understanding everything that Lake Macquarie City Council knows about a topic - be it a customer, a property or a Council asset - its staff have the edge in delivering great service to its customers.

So it is that the Council’s decision to implement iFerret Enterprise Search technology has been vindicated many times over. It is enabling staff to better understand a given situation, make correct and timely decisions and achieve superior outcomes.

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Liverpool Council

liverpool city council

iPLATINUM helps Liverpool tune and clean ahead of new modules

iPLATINUM was engaged to undertake database tuning and cleansing of the Liverpool Council Land and Property system data to prepare for extraction and conversion into the GEAC Pathway Land and Revenue modules.

The database load tuning exercise improved the throughput of the load processes and included the following tasks:

  • Modification of existing scripts to facilitate optimal performance
  • Creation of new scripts to enhance the process
  • Testing and tuning of the load process with revised scripting
     

North Sydney Council

north sydney council

North Sydney Council - on IPlatinum to archive full systems data

North Sydney Council wanted the archiving of full systems data as a part of a project to decommission an earlier computer system.

The project involved the following tasks:

  • Review of existing application data structures
  • Creation of an archived Oracle database environment
  • Management of data extraction, transformation and loading into archival database, including validation, integrity checking and reconciliation
  • Sealing of the archive environment
  • Help with setting up a query function using Microsoft Access
  • Provision of documentation of the archived database structure
 

Willoughby Council

willoughby council

IPlatinum partners with Willoughby for a strategic IT review

iPLATINUM was engaged  by Willoughby Council  for its independent industry expertise to undertake a review of Council's primary technology systems and specifically address the following areas:

It was also a requirement of the review that, based on the documentation provided and assuming additional information was supplied, iPLATINUM provide a recommendation as to the preferred option that should be adopted by Cairns City Council for their future Information Technology capabilities.

Effectively the review concentrated on the adequacy and completeness of the methodology that had been used to arrive at the determination as detailed in the final plan.

This assignment was completed on a fixed time/price basis and the report enabled council to move forward with its IT Strategy.

     

Warringah Council

warringah council logo

Skills shortage challenges good governance in quest for successful information systems

Councils must reconcile the demands of good governance with the challenges of integrating information systems to meet their obligations to the community. This is despite a significant shortage of IT professionals in the public sector says John Warburton.

As Warringah Council’s director, corporate services, he was commenting on the project to implement a comprehensive new information system for the Council which serves Sydney’s northern beaches.

At the start of this financial year the Council commissioned the first of three major systems from Technology One. FinanceOne will be followed by Property and Works and Assets. By the end of this year, these will be integrated with the electronic document management system Trim and the ESRI geographic information system.

Mr Warburton says Warringah residents and ratepayers will benefit in many ways from the new system.

“Our objective is to have our frontline customer service staff resolve a customer’s issue in 90 percent of cases without having to refer the customer to other areas of council.  The integration of our core systems will give customer services officers the information at their fingertips to allow them to achieve this.” 

TechOne’s Works and Assets systems will fully integrate with the financial and property systems to help deliver these efficiencies.

The Council is also enhancing its web presence and providing more opportunities to transact business online.

Mr. Warburton said “local government faces some major challenges in obtaining systems that provide maximum utility without it being held hostage to the vendor.”  

Not least of these challenges is retaining information systems skills in-house.

In mid 2005, having concluded that its then current systems were outdated and would not talk to each other, Warringah decided to replace all systems in one major project.  

“We believed there were good products in the market that would deliver the integration we were looking for,” Mr. Warburton said.

“We had no illusions that what we were trying to achieve was easy or simple. We also knew that we didn't have the experience in-house to make this complex project a reality without professional assistance for which we ultimately engaged iPlatinum.”

Since then iPlatinum has played a significant role in the Warringah project. This began with helping the Council prepare a tender, the evaluation of short-listed vendors and contract negotiations. iPlatinum’s involvement continues with the management of the implementation.

An innovative and comprehensive program to train Warringah staff is pivotal to the success of the project.

Warringah mandated that the prime vendor provide the training for all staff, including the development of teaching collateral that will be retained by council for ongoing learning and development.

A major innovation in the training program and associated materials is that these have been developed based on the staff member’s role in the organisation and identified business processes. For example, a town planner will receive a suite of training that emphasises a sophisticated understanding of the property system, general electronic document management and the GIS.

Asset management staff will receive a highly detailed understanding of the Works and Assets system and the GIS, supported by a basic understanding of the property system and the EDMS. 

The Council will retain the teaching collateral which will be controlled and developed by two full time trainers who will take on this responsibility after the ‘go live’ date. 

Warringah Council is investing $3million in the project to provide new systems which support services to a community of about 140,000 people.

“Good governance demanded that Council acquired the expertise to make good decisions in relation to such an important project,” Mr. Warburton said.

“Local government is without doubt a specialist public sector area as regards information systems and using a consultant with specialist local government knowledge is definitely valuable,” he said.

As director of corporate services he is responsible for a comprehensive range of internal support services including finance, information management and technology, procurement, records, marketing and communications, assets and property, legal, human resources, secretariat and governance.

Achieving good quality integration between key core information systems is a definite challenge and convincing vendors to integrate systems and to take responsibility for integration and performance is often difficult.

“We satisfied ourselves that iPlatinum had the appropriate skills and expertise to play a key role in overseeing the integration aspect and the overall implementation of the systems,” Mr. Warburton said.

 

Snowy River Shire Council

snowy river council logo

Project management skills help benefits flow smoothly from new applications at snowy river

It’s the high country made famous in Banjo Paterson’s poem, the Man from Snowy River. And, while the poem reflects an earlier pioneering era, the breath-taking scenery which inspired the words is now a magnet for a rapidly growing number of people attracted by a more relaxed lifestyle or a pastime in the great outdoors.

Boating, fishing, bushwalking, skiing, abseiling and the horse-riding, for which the 'Man' was acclaimed, help account for the fact that the Snowy River Shire has the fifth highest growth rate of any local government area in New South Wales and the 2nd fastest growth rate outside the Sydney area. Jindabyne is the second fastest urban growth area in NSW. More than half of its landowners are absentee and most of these live in Sydney.

In 2003 the Snowy River Shire Council took a decision that its information systems and infrastructure had to be replaced to help manage this growth.

Emulating the 'Man' of the poem, the Shire’s senior staff grasped the reins of and launched into a $2million project to select new computer hardware and a telephony/data network and to replace the applications systems which are the lifeblood of local government.

ICT manager Matthew O’Sullivan said management “is made up of experienced long term planners who identified early on the strategic possibilities for Snowy River Shire Council’s new IT systems refurbishment project.

“From site visits and interviews, we saw the opportunities being missed by other councils - small and large - with similar system implementation projects. We needed systems that were potentially flexible and feature-rich to grow as the Shire’s population grows.

“So we planned to build the optimal integrated application and data system environment, determining that the savings to Council in processing, reliability, and information management could more than justify the expenditure.

“Council can expect to generate significant returns on investment over the life span of the system through a variety of efficiencies and building a system that will provide enhanced services well into the next decade.

“This development also provides opportunities to supply services to other organisations and be recognised as a centre of excellence within the local government community,” Mr. O’Sullivan said.

While an ICT staff of just 2 people was not seen as a hurdle to the selection of new hardware and telephony/data equipment and systems, the Council decided to commission iPLATINUM’s project management services to oversee the implementation of its new applications including the Technology One products Finance One, Business One, People One, Proclaim and Works One.

iPLATINUM provided the project management services to implement these applications, as well as the configuration, documentation and training required for the TRIM electronic document management system. iPLATINUM project manager Terry Mohan also liaised with Council regarding the selection of new computer hardware and telephony/data equipment and systems.

iPLATINUM was commissioned after an extensive evaluation of more than 30 local government organisations in every state seeking their input on the use of project management services.  

“We chose iPLATINUM based on customer referrals and specific NSW local Government project management experience,” Mr. O’Sullivan said.  

iPLATINUM’s services were commissioned in late 2004 ahead of systems implementation which began in February 2005.

Mr. O’Sullivan candidly admits to identifying pitfalls during the project, especially in regard to the implementation of the finance system.

“However by having a project manager with Terry Mohan’s experience, we were able to save time and money addressing concerns before they became serious.”

He suggests any council engaging an external project manager insists on regular meetings and keeps up-to-date with the project timetable. Additionally, he advises managing risk by looking for the problems ahead of time before they hit.

Mr. O’Sullivan also credits the Council’s director, corporate services, Joe Vescio with the success of the project.

“Without his planning, experience, and commitment this project would not be in the great shape it is. His background, including 25 years implementing new systems in large metropolitan councils in Sydney, was critical to the success of this project,” Mr. O’Sullivan said.

     

Canterbury City Council

city of canterbury council logo 2

A tailor-made solution for canterbury

Upgrading to a new information system will present any local government authority with challenges on two fronts. First, there are enormous demands made on management time to prepare and issue a tender and evaluate responses. Then, perhaps not as visible, there are the challenges associated with ensuring that business processes are updated in line with the capabilities of the latest in IT systems.

Canterbury City Council in inner south western Sydney certainly met the first challenge early in 2004 before it embarked on the journey that is the upgrading of its information systems.

General Manager Jim Montague said: “We initially engaged iPLATINUM to manage the tender process for new information systems, thereby reducing the demands which might have otherwise been made on the time of our management and staff.

“We then realised we could meet the second challenge of the upgrade by taking advantage of iPLATINUM’s ability and knowledge of contemporary IT capabilities to stimulate the thinking of our management team about what we wanted in terms of future business processes.”  

This significant upgrade project is further evidence of an ongoing and positive relationship with iPLATINUM said Director of Corporate and Community Services, Lara Kirchner, whose range of responsibilities within Council made her the ideal person to manage such a major project.   It is anticipated the project will be completed in mid 2005.

“We are aiming to implement a state of the art information system which will ensure we are more responsive to community needs. Web enablement of the system will facilitate greater community interaction with the business systems and practices of the Council, while enhanced integration between the various business applications will deliver greater value to all by optimising the time of our staff.”

The new systems, based on financial applications from PeopleSoft and a Land Information System from Geac, will provide a single view of each customer.

Ms Kirchner said a practical example of the benefits of interacting with Council business systems through the Web will be the capability to book facilities and lodge development applications online.

“We are keen to enable our community to access information and interact with us more directly.  Real time information will be available not just to the community but also our staff, enabling better service provision.  We will provide our rangers and other mobile staff in the field with the ability to access information on line.”

Mr Montague said iPLATINUM brought extensive product knowledge to the development and evaluation of the Canterbury tender, as well as solid procedures, methodologies and project management skills.

“But our decision to engage iPLATINUM was equally about offsetting the demands which a project of this type would otherwise make on the Council and our daily operations.

“iPLATINUM’s independence and project management skills were additional factors in our decision to continue what is now a long standing relationship.

“We knew its consulting staff could work well with us, thereby further lowering the risk involved in such as major project.”

Ms Kirchner said iPLATINUM “did not take a ‘one size fits all’ approach to the project.
While drawing on its recent experiences in other projects, it chose to challenge us, especially in relation to facilitating the development of new business needs and processes.

“iPLATINUM’s work is characterised by good rigorous processes and documentation. We achieved quality outcomes, from the start to the final outcome of the tendering process.”

Over a three month timeframe, iPLATINUM developed system specification templates and processes to assess tender responses. The decision in favour of a solution from Jigsaw Services, comprising the PeopleSoft and Geac applications, was made in June 2004.

iPLATINUM consultant Terry Mohan, who oversaw the tender specification and evaluation, is now managing the systems implementation phase.

 

Wollongong Council

wollongong council logo

Thorough documentation and validated data ensure system credibility for wollongong council

Focus on business process not technology and recognise the complexity of data cleansing and migration to ensure the credibility of new information systems with users. That’s the advice of Peter Kofod of Wollongong Council, as he finalises the implementation of Geac’s Pathway Land Information System.

Scheduled to go live by the end of 2003, Pathway is a key information system supporting the management of Australia’s 9th largest city, located in the Illawarra region south of Sydney.

“Cleansing, migration and a methodology for archiving historical data delivers current and valid data by which users measure the success of information systems. In turn, documentation and training have helped confirm the suitability of our business processes,” Mr Kofod said.

iPLATINUM has played a major role in Wollongong’s implementation of Pathway, providing documentation, training and data services, as well being Geac’s project manager for the implementation

Data cleansing and migration is a complex process and needs a lot of expertise to be successful, says Peter Kofod.

“We recognise iPLATINUM’s skills in this area. From our research poor data conversion has created problems for councils which have elected to undertake the process by themselves.”

While Wollongong’s IT department is responsible for hardware, systems software, support and infrastructure issues, business owners are responsible for their specific information systems. As manager, design, Mr Kofod has overall responsibility for both land and geographic information systems.

“Even before we had selected Pathway as our preferred LIS, we had planned to involve iPLATINUM with the implementation. Its staff  was familiar with our Genasys legacy systems and we saw data cleansing as a high priority in preparing properly for a new system.

“So, we had no trouble endorsing Geac’s recommendation that iPLATINUM act as their project manager and undertake the data conversion and cleansing,” Mr Kofod said.

“We didn’t have the expertise or resources in house to undertake data conversion and cleansing, nor did our staff have the time to produce the training manuals and associated documentation which are essential if an information system is to be introduced successfully.”

Whilst application vendors offer generic training and documentation designed to accommodate a variety of implementations, iPLATINUM is able to provide Councils with training and documentation to suit a specific environment, methodologies and processes. This documentation reflects the way a particular council operates and individual job functions.

The production of site-specific training documentation has provided Wollongong with a way of reviewing its business processes by reflecting just what the LIS is actually doing. Peter Kofod oversees a team of people from five areas of the council – land information, rates, planning, IT and health and environment- who are reviewing business processes.

“We have designed the processes within the system and then reviewed each component part to ensure it is accommodated in the larger picture of how a whole department operates,” Mr Kofod said.

An introductory course on the LIS presented to 200 users marked the start of a month long training period before Pathway went live. A second more detailed course was focused on how the LIS is used to help employees do their specific jobs.

The feedback to the training was extremely positive said Mr Kofod.

Two and a half years ago Wollongong was among iPLATINUM’s first strategic consulting assignments when the Council decided that it was time to replace its Genasys applications with new technology.

Wollongong decided on a ‘best of breed’ approach to the selection of its systems, calling separate tenders for a finance system and a land information system.

This strategy has seen it assemble a range of applications that are popular among many local authorities: Aurion for human resource applications, TRIM for records management, ArcGIS and Finance One, as well as Pathway.

These applications are supported in an  IT environment based on SQL Server. They are available  across a wide area network and microwave links to more than 900 PCs at the Council offices and external sites such as depots and libraries.

     

 

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