Customer Spotlight: Keeping councils in the loop: how a new solution will help LGAQ keep its members happy

All 77 local governments in Queensland are currently members of the Local Government Association of Queensland. Given membership is voluntary, LGAQ is proud of its coverage and determined to preserve it. New information technology, including CRM technology and a comprehensive document management, are part of the value proposition.

“Maintaining that 100 per cent membership is critical for us,” says Jake Boyle, LGAQ’s manager of internal business development.

“When we go to consult with the State government, if we have 77 members behind us, well that is a lot more powerful than if we had, say, 60. As the old saying has is, you are better off coming to the party with a choir than a soloist.”

When it comes to proving its value to its local government members, LGAQ’s long corporate memory is key. The organisation has subject matter experts with an extraordinary recall of the twists and turns in various policy debates through the years but when it came time for a technology refresh, LGAQ wanted to make it easier for all to tap into the organisation’s vast quantity of documents. Another goal was to co-ordinate its dealings with members so everyone at LGAQ knows who their colleagues are in contact with and why.

The new solution using Microsoft SharePoint 2013, CRM Online and Microsoft Azure will be rolled out in the next few months. LGAQ’s implementation partner, OBS recommended LGAQ use SharePoint 2013 on its existing Telstra Private Cloud for document management and integrate this with CRMOL 2013, using Microsoft Azure for authentication, identity and integration.

Native SharePoint functionality gave LGAQ the records management capability it needed without having to deploy additional software, while CRM Online captures details about organisations that LGAQ works with including suppliers, members, vendors, other government organisations, service

providers, subject matter experts and more. It includes information about each contact’s role and previous interactions.

“Our day to day business is providing advice and information to our members,” Mr Boyle said.

“Some of the topics we cover are perpetual issues within local government – roads, rates and rubbish – and some are more cyclical such as council amalgamation or de-amalgamation; issues that pop up, fade, and then pop up again.

“So having access to historical as well as current information is critical for us. We store all of the documents we have about a particular issue along with records of conversations, decisions, meetings and political background so when we get to the next wave of a particular issue we can quickly review what has gone on before. Most of our members will have a very good memory of their experience and we need to make sure we can keep up with them,” Mr Boyle said.

The organisation’s existing document management system is no longer supported and frustration had led many LGAQ staff to work out ways of not using the old technology.

“The older system is now so cumbersome and its search functionality so unreliable that people are less likely to use than they will a shared drive. In addition, the system’s response times are slow and getting slower,” Mr Boyle said.

“Our workarounds have become more efficient than the actual system which is always a sign you are in trouble and, more importantly, we had fallen back into old habit of siloing information.

“So in recent years, our ability to search, share and collaborate has eroded,” he said.

The new solution is designed to both reverse that slide and bring a new slew of benefits as LGAQ’s CRM and document management systems will do a much better job of talking to each other.

“We have a lot of history with particular councils and understanding those relationships from an historical point of view is really important because when you get the political and policy landscapes, we’re not always concentrating on transactional relationships, we are often focused on the long term,” Mr Boyle said.

“So we need to not only understand those relationships and the relevant documents but also understand how those relationships relate to those documents. It’s that level of complexity that’s driven this project with OBS.”

Everyone in LGAQ will eventually be using the new solution. Further down the track, there is the possibility LGAQ will provide access to some of its subsidiary companies. Choosing a platform that could be extended was therefore essential. LGAQ is taking a long term view and it wanted a technology supplier that could do the same.

“We wanted something we know is going to be around for a long time,” Mr Boyle said. “We know what it’s like to be stuck with an un-supported product and we didn’t want that to happen again.

“We have gone through this process knowing that what we launch on day one will only be part of the puzzle. We needed a solution that will grow with us and potentially offer enhancements to the way we do business in the future.”


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