The largest council in New South Wales is preparing for the wholesale replacement of its 20-year old corporate systems in one fell swoop to meet the needs of its growing number of staff and residents.
A spokesperson for Blacktown City Council told iTnews that the supplier of its current business applications cannot guarantee support beyond 2015, creating a trigger for an ICT overhaul.
"The majority of Sydney councils have replaced their corporate business systems at least once, and sometimes more than once over the past 20 years," she said.
The council has approached the market for a systems integrator to deliver a “strong, robust and contemporary solution which is fully integrated and is based on current systems technology and standards”.
The new software solution will need to cover the following functions as a minimum:
- financial management
- land information systems
- customer request management
- facilities and events management
- impound management
- enterprise asset management systems
The council wants its staff in the field to be able to access systems and the information they need from any device, and for data captured by remote users to be tagged with location information.
The council also demands that the solution that can enable it to send out alerts via social media and SMS, and allow residents to access information relating to their own property or engagement with council via the assigning of online user roles.
It further wishes for the system to be able to track and monitor the minutiae of rubbish collection and allow requests for new bins and special pick-ups to be made through the council’s website.
According to Blacktown City Council's 2013 to 2023 financial plan (PDF), the council intends to fund the overhaul from existing operating budgets and “alternative funding strategies”.
The spokesperson told iTnews that by postponing the replacement of its system, the council has squeezed its annual software costs to below that of other local government organisations and that these savings would help pay for the overhaul.
The roll-out of the new system will take place alongside a handful of other IT projects already underway. The council has contracted iCognition to implement HP TRIM for document management across the organisation, and the future of the council's Graphical Information System is also under review.
Blacktown City Council takes in one of the highest growth areas in the State. Its current population of 313,000 residents is expected to exceed 372,000 by 2023. As of 30 June 2012 the council employed 1,617 staff.
Blacktown City Council has given itself just over 18 months to complete the project. Work will begin in April 2014 and is due to be completed by December 2015.