Sunday, 05 April 2020 04:03

Ballarat Council deploys Microsoft solutions for digital transformation Featured

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Victorian regional local government body Ballarat Council has undertaken a digital transformation, with the deployment of Microsoft cloud computing and implementation of Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365.

Microsoft says the digital transformation ensures the scalability and resilience required to service a burgeoning community, and to meet the needs of the population of more than 105,000 today, and growing rapidly and forecast to reach 140,000 by 2030.

Rhett Nunn, Ballarat Council manager for ICT Solution Design and Development said, “Moving to a cloud-based platform was really a big driver to remove those risks, reduce costs, and make it a lot easier for us to implement better disaster recovery and high availability”.

“Ultimately, we wanted to get our hands on modern building blocks to solve business problems.”

According to Nunn, Dynamics 365 was selected because, “it gives us broad capability to meet our immediate needs, and the agility to adapt to the future”.

“Whereas if we’d gone with one of the competitors we would be missing key pieces. We wanted a well-rounded platform and we found strength in Microsoft’s offering.”

According to Nunn, there were some gaps in Dynamics, but he says those have been plugged by light-weight solutions using the Office 365 power platform, and serverless capability in Azure.

Microsoft says Ballarat Council was supported by Olikka, for the lift and shift to Azure exercise, and DXC to help with the replacement of the financial management system with Dynamics 365.

“Ballarat has also encouraged IT users in all departments to take advantage of PowerApps and Flow to create low-code or no-code applications. The IT team has created some governance guardrails and maintains control of Ballarat’s data – but is reaping the reward of user-led innovation across the organisation.

“Applications have been developed that automate and streamline Council’s gift register obligations, manage rostering for council swimming pools, libraries animal and shelter, and simplify the collection of data from school crossing inspections.”

According to Nunn, “if you can use Excel and PowerPoint, then you can make a Power App”.

Lee Hickin, National Technology Officer, Microsoft Australia said, “It is Microsoft’s ultimate goal to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to do more”.

“Ballarat Council serves as a beacon to show other local government organisations how simple–to–use applications like Power Apps and Flow can unleash employee innovation and create new services and solutions.

“Adopting our three clouds – Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365 also ensures that Ballarat Council is able to scale services as the local population grows, have access to all its data to help develop innovative services that new residents crave, and also fully engage its firstline workers.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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