Future Directions - Annual update creats support base

Article image - Future Directions - Annual update creats support base Gavin Boyd, organiser of the CouncilFirst Conference.

Written by Gavin Boyd - Manager of Professional Services

On 17–18 of February 2016, Brighton Council’s Software Company ‘MicroWise’ hosted the 2016 CouncilFirst User Conference in Brighton, Tasmania. 50 delegates from 14 different councils from the Northern Territory, Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales and of course Tasmania attended the conference, making it a truly national event.

My role, along with the conference committee, was to organise and deliver the 2016 CouncilFirst User Conference. The idea for the event formed from a desire within Brighton Council staff to provide a support forum for current CouncilFirst users with a particular focus on new program features and improvements.

Brighton-owned Software Company MicroWise provides the Property and Rating software solution ‘PropertyWise’ to 18 councils throughout Australia and the South Pacific. PropertyWise manages core local government functions including all aspects of: rates management, regulatory control, development assessment and much more. When PropertyWise is implemented with Microsoft Dynamics finance package it is delivered as a fully integrated finance and rating solution called CouncilFirst. However, PropertyWise has been successfully implemented with other finance packages such as Civica, Finance One, Xero and records management software MagiQ InfoXpert.

Delivering the conference as CouncilFirst allowed us to attract delegates from a range of professional fields including accountancy, IT, rating, regulatory, and business development. This enabled professional relationships to grow between councils, across differing fields and state jurisdictions to create a ‘user support base.’ This provides support and knowledge-sharing from within Local Government saving money and time.

The conference was delivered with a client focus, updating users on new features and procedures to enable optimal use of the software. Interactive sessions allowed users to jump in and ask questions at any time. Attendees commented that this format was engaging and promoted learning from one another. Our software developers benefitted also, recording valuable feedback, to use in the further development of the software.

On the night of the 17th of February a conference dinner was held at a local award-winning restaurant. This gave attendees a chance to relax and get to know one another over a drink and a meal prepared from fresh local produce.

We have received great feedback from the conference, with attendees particularly pleased with the opportunity to learn and network with other council officers in a relaxed and positive environment. Due to this success and the value to all participants, it is hoped that it will become an annual event.