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27th July 2018

The quest for digital transformation: challenges and opportunities

Public sector decision makers are snared between shrinking budgets and citizen expectations that government services will be as engaging and convenient as the likes of Gmail, Dropbox and Facebook. 

But in the quest for digital transformation, executives may also be constrained by heritage technology environments that absorb spending and cultural inertia that limit their ability to innovate, serve citizens and transform ageing tools and processes. 

A leader must also weigh the risk of whether a potentially complex and long-running transformation program will deliver expected benefits.
These organisations have a clear ‘burning platform’: continue along the same road of declining satisfaction and rising maintenance, or slash run costs to reinvest savings into digital transformation that supports a ‘citizen and customer first’ culture of service delivery. 

Clear on the direction but unsure where to start, many organisations engage Civica as their trusted adviser and technology partner. As one of Australia’s leading suppliers of critical software applications, digital solutions and managed services to transform how organisations work, Civica has a global workforce of 4300, many of whom are deeply knowledgeable of Australian public sector requirements and practice. 

Civica works with around half of the councils in Australia and New Zealand and it is best known for its Authority solution, which turns 25 in July 2018. But it also has a portfolio of solutions in areas such as: 

  • Health & care 
  • Education & libraries 
  • Community protection 
  • State and central government 
  • Travel and transport 
  • Financial services 
  • Utilities 

Civica’s consultants collaborate with Civica Digital’s 1000 subject-matter experts in Britain to provide world’s best practice for deployments in complex and heavily constrained environments.

Cost-effective digital transformation solutions 

Civica specialises in public sector software and services, and that’s why it knows government needs and constraints. And through its recent acquisitions, Civica has built a powerful base of technology experts including its team of 1000 Civica Digital specialists who have a proven track record in end-to-end transformation.

For instance, when the Rockingham City Council in Western Australia needed an online self-service function, Civica provided the technology for the council’s ‘Rock Port’ web-based portal. While providing a valuable resource for ratepayers to pay bills and request information online, Rock Port also measures the temperature of citizens’ satisfaction with council through its Happiness Index (see case study). 

Off-the-shelf technology co-designed with agencies 

Civica develops technologies for public sector clients around the world every day and turns this knowledge into intellectual property and products. So when it comes to an integrated enterprise system with billing, payroll and asset management, an education platform or a health and care solution, Civica has the core solution ready to go. 

For instance, when the UK Government needed a centralised Planning Portal, Civica built the core technology that provides a web planning register for the public to comment on applications. Loaded with national standards and templated processes, individual jurisdictions adapted it swiftly to their local needs so citizens could get straight to the information they needed and spend less time in front of council planners. 

Agile platforms manage project risk to avert failure 

The risk of failure from bespoke systems is too great for most public sector organisations. So Civica deploys its core systems built on trusted and proven solutions overlaid with consulting services and customised interfaces to meet the unique needs of organisations. 

An Agile methodology welded to a strict delivery process keeps projects on track so benefits are realised inside expected timeframes and budget constraints. So when the UK Government needed a voting platform to support its EU Referendum, it turned to Civica. 

Spurred on by a legislative requirement, Civica and the client rapidly iterated using a ‘DevOps’ methodology with a continuous feedback loop, and automated deployment through Docker and Microsoft Azure Cloud to launch the voting website in just 12 weeks. 

True-blue Aussie innovation exported to the world 

Australia is Civica’s biggest and fastest-growing market outside of Britain and a centre of innovation excellence. Civica employs some 4300 employees (including 720 in A/NZ), many developing the next generation of tools and platforms for global use. These include the Spydus library solution developed in Melbourne that is installed at thousands of libraries including in Singapore, US and Britain, and Civica’s Education Suite purpose-built in Perth for Australian schools. 

This follows Civica’s tradition of locating core development resources close to major customers to ensure products iterate in sync. Civica’s flagship, Authority, was also developed in Australia for the specific needs and operating environments of A/NZ local government authorities. 

With its strong global and financial position, Civica is committed to developing innovative solutions for clients in the Australia and New Zealand markets. Civica’s experience working with international public sector agencies and governments means it brings the latest global best practices to our customers. And with a significant and flourishing A/NZ business building on a pedigree of successful outcomes, Civica is uniquely placed to leverage local and international capabilities to help clients deliver superior service to citizens. 

CASE STUDY: How Rock Port brought Rockingham Council and its 130,000 residents closer 

A single, digital port of call has transformed how residents in the WA coastal suburb of Rockingham engage with their council and contribute to community debate.  

Rock Port was conceived as a secure web portal to increase engagement with residents and offer 24/7 self-service into council’s information systems over any PC, tablet or smartphone. And while residents can pay their rates, provide feedback on council projects and manage other services through their unique citizen profile around the clock, Rock Port also measures community wellbeing. 

Rock Port’s Happiness Index – similar to the Net Promoter Score (NPS) used in private enterprise – measures citizens’ satisfaction with Rockingham by how willing they are to recommend living there to another person. In the most recent survey, Rock Port users gave the city a score of 27, which compares to Apple (47), Google (11), and Facebook (-21). Prior to the banking Royal Commission, Australia’s big-4 banks had an NPS of -9. 

An important contributor to residents’ successful acceptance of the portal was how well it suited their needs. While building on Civica’s proven Authority platform, Rock Port was the result of collaboration between council and the community, a process known as ’co-design’. Council and Rockingham residents identified needed services and how to efficiently exploit them, a research topic Civica conducted with University of Technology Sydney’s Centre for Local Government (UTS:CLG).

BY THE NUMBERS: 

  • 4300 employees (a quarter in Civica Digital)
  • 900 government organisations
  • 400 health & care providers
  • 400 managed & outsourced customers
  • 6000 schools, colleges & libraries
  • 100m citizens serving
  • 2m professionals supporting

This article was published by The Mandarin. Click here to read it on the website.