Councils take up Tech One’s new, integrated solution *

Penrith City Council in New South Wales and the City of Boroondarra in Victoria are the first Local Government authorities to go live with Technology One’s new integrated Finance One and Proclaim One software solution.

The two large Councils, currently implementing the eBusiness enabled financial management and property systems, believe the solution will provide increased productivity and cost efficiencies. Both Councils say the new solution will leap frog their accounting and property systems to the forefront of leading edge technology, providing major benefits for their ratepayers.

Technology One is one of Australia’s largest publicly listed software companies. Its focus is the design, development, implementation and support of powerful, enterprise wide software applications using client server, internet and eBusiness technologies for the corporate and government sectors.

The integrated Local Government solution is a result of Technology One’s acquisition late last year of Proclaim Software, a company which specialised in a property, rating and licensing system. The new system is an integration of the separate Finance One and Proclaim One systems currently being used by more than 50 local authorities across Australia.

Councils also have the option to use the systems separately, mixing and matching them with their existing software products.

Chief Executive Officer of Technology One, Adrian Di Marco, said the company recognised the pitfalls of Councils dealing with multiple suppliers and the subsequent difficulties of integrating software.

“The internal resources required for project managing systems that don’t easily integrate are a significant cost for Councils,” he said. “The trend now is to select a prime contractor who can provide a streamlined software solution, particularly for financials and property systems.”

He said this would provide Councils with major advantages including streamlining operations, greater flexibility, increased productivity and cost efficiencies.

At the rapidly growing Penrith City Council which currently has 60,000 rateable properties, Brian Jenkins, Chief Financial Officer, said system flexibility and integration are the biggest IT issues facing Local Government authorities right now.

“Councils are large and diverse organisations,” he said “It’s like running up to 100 separate businesses. Each of those businesses have different system requirements and, ideally, we need them to run their business and still be able to interact with each other.”

The solution also interfaces with Penrith’s other corporate systems, such as the asset management, HR and payroll and GIS systems.

“We have a lot of assets – roads, bridges and buildings – that need maintenance,” Brian Jenkins said. “Finance One, for example, will capture data on the money we spend on assets, the cost of maintenance work and measure that against the wear and tear of those assets. The Finance One and Proclaim One solution had been selected for its functionality and flexibility as well as its integration.

“We saw eBusiness as important, particularly over the next 12-18 months. We’re already moving into this area with electronic payments, with 50 percent of creditors on line by our ‘live’ date of April 2.”

Mark Eckley, Contracts Manager at the City of Boroondara, a Council with more than 65,000 rateable properties located in the leafy eastern suburbs of Melbourne, said that working with one supplier was definitely easier.

“When Technology One acquired Proclaim, both companies were the preferred suppliers,” he said. “It was ideal for us because Technology One became the prime contractor, eliminating the need to deal with multiple suppliers.”

Like Penrith City Council, the City of Boroondara had an extensive evaluation process involving a number of Core Teams to assess the functional capabilities of numerous products through demonstrations, reference checks and site visits.

Both Brian Jenkins and Mark Eckley anticipate the solution will provide major benefits that will create efficiencies across the board. These include improving business processes, automating manual tasks and providing easier access to better quality information, allowing managers to make more informed decisions.

The GST was a case in point. “We have been doing a lot of GST manually and it took 80 person hours to do a BAS,” Brian Jenkins said. “With Finance One, this will be an automated process. This is just one of many areas where we will see gains.”

Mark Eckley said Council was also looking forward to the process and customer, internal and external, service improvements through the automation of a number of manual processes and the ability to incorporate business processes that are currently managed outside of the ‘Corporate Management Systems’. He said the web would expand the contact points with Council.

“For example, Proclaim One will provide an enquiry facility into building and planning applications for developers and residents,” he said. “It will also put our mapping system on the internet so people can call up a map and locate facilities such as their nearest libraries, parks and bike tracks.”

Penrith City Council went live on April 2 and the City of Boroondara is scheduled to go live on July 1 this year.

Further information contact Adrian Di Marco, at Technology One on (07) 3377 7300 or Adrian_Dimarco@TechnologyOneCorp.com or visit www.TechnologyOneCorp.com

* Copy supplied by Technology One