Hobsons Bay City Council hosts a variety of system in order to deliver customer service excellence, and maintain the demanding needs of today’s system and process requirements.
These systems, have over time, accumulated, and continue to accumulate a wealth of data and information which can only be extracted and reported on, by the respective systems’ own reporting capabilities. With the limitations of various systems quickly becoming more apparent, the need for an organization wide, flexible reporting dashboard was born.
HBCC opted to use a well established platform to deliver this project. Although Cystal Reports was an initial experimentation, it was later decided that Microsoft’s own Reporting Services could do the trick, with minimal changes to existing infrastructure.
A variety of systems have since been incorporated into the dash board – producing various reports, including live data, and historical analysis.
Various challenges were encountered early on with this project. Aside from mapping the databases of various intricate systems, a lot of the data silos are held externally – particularly with cloud vendors.
In the case of Greenlight (an external planning, building permit and assets application), the vendor initially suggested that they host a copy of the data on an Amazon server, which we could then report directly from. However, this method does add unnecessary costs, and it was later agreed that a simple weekly FTP transfer of data would be sufficient. Further automations allow the local database copy to be created without any human invervention.
At present, the report dashboard hosts reports for a variety of systems, departments and applications – including:
- Car Bookings
- Confirm (assets)
- Customer Service
Phone Call analysis (duration/wait time/staff stats)
Front Counter statistics.
- ABR Data
- Cambron (performance management)
- Heritage Assets
- Maternal Child Health
With such reporting capabilities, flexibility is of utmost importance to keep the sheer number of reports to a minimum. Flexibility can be achieved by providing parameterized user inputs, so that the user controls data sets for viewing without the need of having multiple reports built.
Projects such as this enable organisations to better understand the needs and requirements of customers, and therefore to more accurately invest in areas of need, and save on areas that are over-invested. This is where business intelligence is of utmost importance – because the nature of business is always evolving. To have the “finger on the pulse” allows us to more accurately engage the community.
It is hoped that the consolidation of data in this way, with minimal cost, minimal investment, - simply requiring the software, and some basic SQL skills, - will inspire other councils to engage in similar endeavours.