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Main Roads paves the path to the cloud

Main Roads Western Australia has oversight of almost $50 billion worth of assets across the State – roads, paths, bridges and associated land, property, and plant.

It’s a big job in a big State.

As part of a cloud-focused modernisation, the agency has transitioned CONNECT, its Dynamics based customer relationship management system from on premise into the Cloud.

Main Roads began its Microsoft Dynamics CRM journey in 2014 with the inclusion of customer reporting into a road maintenance management system.  The customer benefits were quickly realized leading to the development of a purpose-built CRM for Main Roads to capture all customer interactions and stakeholder engagement supporting over 1200 metropolitan and regional staff.  CONNECT has automated many repetitive tasks and reporting requirements and reduced information siloes and duplication.

Tanya Birkbeck, Customer Relationship Management System Manager, says CONNECT has been well received as; “People very quickly could see the advantage of having a centralised customer system and start building a more holistic view of our customers.”

Western Australia highway
Main Roads Western Australia has oversight of almost $50 billion worth of assets across the State – roads, paths, bridges and associated land, property, and plant. (Source: Main Roads Western Australia)

CONNECT Customer Relationship Management System Coordinator Angela Irving adds that “Currently we have 25 external contractors using CONNECT to record all their infrastructure delivery stakeholder engagement”.  She said that Main Roads “has been working to streamline the process for contractors and stresses the importance of having contractors use the system.

It gives us a real-time view of what’s going on within infrastructure delivery projects which we never had before.

The visibility and reach made CONNECT the clear candidate for the agency’s cloud migration program. Supported by ASG and WithPrecision, the project took nine months from start to finish.

Sue Muir, ICT Service Delivery Coordinator, says “the platform is being integrated with Main Roads raft of legacy software, including its Oracle-based road data application and its record-keeping systems.”

While the organisation has been able to adopt significant out-of-the-box capability, it has had to perform some customisation for its CONNECT system.

For example, to support the 24/7 Customer Information Centre, when a phone call or email is received, it can be recorded as a customer activity or converted into a case or fault report. Customisation ensures when a case is generated it is assigned to a subject matter expert for resolution or a fault report is dispatched to a maintenance crew for immediate action.  Activities, cases, or fault reports can also be linked to customised Project pages providing a centralised view of all customer interactions related to road projects across WA.

Agile approach

Adopting an Agile approach and running user acceptance testing during development made it possible to iteratively develop and test the solution with users, refining it where required or tweaking a business process. The organisation also developed a Power App that allowed people to report any bugs that they found – that information was provided to the Dev Ops team working on CONNECT, which could then tackle any problems immediately.

The team tackled the change management associated with the new platform, running open forum community sessions for all users state-wide featuring live demos and explaining how to get the most out of the new system.

Irving says users are delighted with the system and new modern interface. “They’re finding it so much easier to navigate to find stakeholders or records,” she says, adding that overall system performance has improved as well.

Plans to establish a cloud-based customer portal will allow Main Roads to sync all its customer data and transform the way it engages with stakeholders and customers. Birkbeck says, for example, currently, stakeholders and customers download PDFs from the Main Roads website, which they complete, scan and submit back to us by email. The plan is to replace that with a portal directly into the CRM, which promises; “automation, user efficiencies and transparency, delivering an improved customer experience. ”

Main Roads also plans to use the platform to enhance its Aboriginal business engagement by providing greater clarity to construction companies about which Aboriginal businesses are available to work with them and the services they can provide.

The organisation has set up a series of Power BI reports tracking issues on the road network from a regional and a state view comprising of fault reports and cases received from customers.  Birkbeck says, “Business areas can now see customer data from a network point of view.

Our Network Operation Centre uses our CRM data in combination with their intelligent transport system data to see how the network is operating from a customer view, generating valuable business intelligence.

To enhance its data and analytics capabilities, Main Roads is planning to create an Azure Data Lake to store data from different systems, such as its electrical asset data, and also make more use of Power Platform to be able to analyse and interpret that information to further enhance and accelerate decision making.

Mains Roads staff collaborating next to a laptop
Taking a major step on its cloud journey has seen Main Roads migrate it’s on-premise CRM to Dynamics 365, streamlining all customer and stakeholder interactions and processes.