The digital world presents an abundance of opportunities for local councils. Like most enterprise level organisations, councils have increased their focus on using online tools and resources to innovate their day to day operations. One of the easiest, yet varies in definition and meaning, is the typical council website. This powerful and often underused platform can enable the formation of meaningful connection to your local community, this includes internally for your staff.
The terminology and meaning applied to the humble website has changed greatly, and therefore causes issues. It no longer refers to the aesthetic placement of words on a screen. A website is a cloud-based tool, like any other modern digital tool, that is device friendly (anyone with a browser can access it). It can do what modern software does, but takes things to a new ‘future of digital’ level. This change in perspective and approach to the standard website has been a growing trend with both cost saving and service activating benefits.
However before simply rebuilding or modernising a website can take place, a more insightful conversation and plan needs to happen, outlining the role a website in an organisation against other technology and processes taking place.
Building a truly integrated digital ecosystem is one of the biggest challenges the team at Dapth have been finding solutions to. At the forefront of any web related project should be a well thought our digital strategy that includes reviewing all the digital tools and resources in use across all departments. The objective is to discover what tools are frustrating, inefficient, or simply aren’t doing what they should be anymore and assessing how digital technology can be leveraged. After that, a plan can be made as to how a website could address some of the identified issues or future organisational objectives.
Local councils are now identifying within their long term strategy, what role their website plays to centralise data, offer new services, and in turn gain tangible information on how to best serve their local community. This new modernised approach of a website facilitating more than just words on a screen, now as part of a bigger digital strategy, has both cost saving benefits and most importantly enables modern touch points with local residents,businesses and the community as a whole.
This digital age provides an abundance of opportunities, but change is difficult as you dig deep there are crossovers between departments or legacy systems implemented long ago that are too frustrating to shift. That is why Dapth have focussed on offering a service that put consultation, investigation, strategy and road mapping ahead of any development or implementation project they undertake. The team have refined the process for local government departments building a new website to ensure that when conducting a review of a council’s digital landscape it is important to identify all areas that can be digitised, amalgamated, or connected with the goal of driving efficiencies across multiple departments. This challenges the trend of reactive, quickly implemented and poorly planned solutions with no clear direction on the role it plays in the long term.
As WALGA’s digital partner for the last 4 years, Dapth has worked across multiple digital projects. One of those was to amalgamate multiple websites into one main website. The Kentico Xperience solution implemented, provided a permission-based web platform that enabled council user types access to specific information or features depending on their subscription level, such as governance or employee information, or events and other membership based content. Councils can access services that they subscribe to and can manage their own users and access permissions. The WALGA website administrators were provided with a dashboard for simple management of the council member data, with a complex notification system to ensure any requests for access to services or systems was received by the right person within the business.
This change in the traditional website model becoming a centralised digital platform, that leverages automated functions and other technology, not only saved staff administration time but helped to reduce long-term operational costs.
The City of Canning is a future-focused council, committed to sustainable living, working and learning. They partnered with Dapth to activate their digital strategy and rebuild their website using Kentico Xperience. Their goal was to highlight all that the council has to offer residents besides just finding their bin day. They wanted to showcase all the resources the city has to offer such as events taking place and facilities that can be used. They also encourage residents to shift from paper-based rates to digital with vouchers accessible via QR codes for use across their community. The new website not only benefitted residents, but also their staff, who using the same platform have access to features that streamlined internal processes such as a ranger’s portal that makes it easy to report lost animals quickly without needing to be in the office.
The City of Canning is a future-focussed council who leverage Kentico Xperience as the foundation their website.
“Digital adoption and transformation is not just about providing ways to make tasks easier, it is also about staying ahead of the game, and if your systems and data are not connected, then this becomes increasingly harder. Disparate systems lead to an inevitable increase in ongoing and operational costs, reduced employee efficiency and productivity, which in turn can result in resident’s becoming frustrated and less trusting.” Phil Allen, Director of Dapth
The City of Belmont recently launched their new website with various integrations, leveraging Kentico Xperience as a foundation. A key highlight is their GIS IntraMaps application allowing residents to easily navigate an interactive map and view specific assets such as parks, playgrounds, leisure centres and features such as parking and kitchen facilities.
The council also used their website to streamline operational processes with residents making payments through BPOINT, by integrating with TechnologyOne, meaning the most current versions of documents were synchronised and available to end users with no manual intervention. Most importantly the website does not use plugins, meaning maximum uptime and security.
“Working with Dapth has greatly enhanced the City of Belmont’s website. The newly launched website has not only improved our resident’s online experience but also their ability to search and access information quickly and intuitively. Their hybrid solution is technically sound, aesthetically appealing and meets our security requirements.” - Rajan Sharma, A/Manager Information Technology at the City of Belmont
It is important to leverage your local council website and understand the role it plays across multiple departments, and your community. To find out how the team at Dapth can help through the use of Kentico Xperience visit xperience.io/local-council to make an appointment.