As a leader in public sector IT, London Borough of Newham wanted to improve its service delivery and digital engagement with citizens, while reducing costs. By sharing services with the neighbouring local authority of Havering, Newham is pioneering a transformation in both councils using Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, and Microsoft BizTalk Server 2010. Its online portal service, which is available to every resident, will encourage more people to conduct transactions online rather than at council offices. With reusable technology, the platform will contribute to Newham and Havering’s target of more than £11 million cashable savings between them, without cutting front-line services. Potential exists for other authorities—including the London Borough of Waltham Forest—to join them, further improving efficiency and providing high-quality customer service.Situation
London Borough of Newham is a unitary authority led by a directly elected Mayor serving a population of around 250,000 east of the City of London, in the United Kingdom (U.K.). High-quality public services and innovative approaches to their delivery to citizens are central to Newham Council, and nowhere are they more evident than in the IT team under the leadership of Chief Information Officer Geoff Connell.
In 2011, Newham embarked on a ground- breaking project to share technology and support services with the neighbouring London Borough of Havering, which will result in £11 million of cashable savings for the two councils. A new team drawn from both boroughs under the leadership of Connell will support systems and drive a programme of standardisation.
|Our first objective is to hit our cashable savings targets for 2011–12. The second is to deliver challenging technology-driven change programmes in Newham and Havering—in particular, those in customer services.|
Chief Information Officer
London Borough of Newham
Connell says: “Our first objective is to hit our cashable savings targets for 2011–12. The second is to deliver challenging technology-driven change programmes in Newham and Havering—in particular, those in customer services.”
Newham and Havering councils—to be followed by the London Borough of Waltham Forest, which hopes to join the consortium later in 2011—have made it a priority to launch new customer services technologies for 470,000 residents, making it easier for them to contact their councils. With Waltham Forest included, the total would reach 693,000 people. Connell says: “Critically, these are the same products, deployed in the same way and sharing design process, code, and support arrangements. This could be a first in local and regional government.”
The Newham solution for citizen delivery and digital engagement is considered by many in government to be a good example of how to achieve lean government. It meets the challenge of delivering high-quality services with fewer resources, given the U.K.’s tight fiscal policies for local and regional government.
As part of its strategy, Newham wants to encourage as many people as possible to go online following the lead set by the U.K. Digital Champion Martha Lane Fox. She argues that as well as delivering better services for citizens, shifting 30 per cent of government service delivery contacts to digital channels has the potential to deliver gross annual savings of more than £1.3 billion. This rises to £2.2 billion if 50 per cent of contacts were shifted to digital.Solution
Newham and Havering are standardising on Microsoft technology for the desktop. The new customer access information and communications technology (ICT), which went live in Newham in the second quarter of 2011, is based on Microsoft Dynamics 2011. This technology gives the council a record of everything its customers do with the authority, and is the first such implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 by a U.K. council. It replaces an in-house developed customer relationship management (CRM) system called LA CRM, which was reaching the end of its life cycle.
The other core element of the solution is SharePoint Server 2010 for the web portal called My Newham—a single site for citizens to access all council services. The third integrated product is Microsoft BizTalk Server 2010 for the integration hub and master data management. This includes citizen authentication and a citizen index. The latter shows all services in one place and matches people up across its systems.
Also included in the architecture is MultiVue Identification Server from Microsoft Gold Certified Partner VisionWare, for consistency, and sharing licensing discounts and implementation skills. Newham took advantage of its Microsoft Enterprise Agreement for low-cost volume licensing of the system, which will have 800 users.
Microsoft Gold Certified Partner 2e2 assisted with customisation of the core Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 product to make it more suitable for local government. Lubin Hoque, Client Manager, 2e2, says: “Our Local and Regional Government Dynamics CRM Toolkit helps ensure that a faster delivery timescale is met and therefore a quicker return on investment is achieved. It helps customers collaborate by providing a common approach to delivering council services. It also has core elements that drive channel shifting—for example, encouraging customers to switch from telephone to email, and increased self-service.”
Wherever possible, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 native features have been used in the citizen delivery and digital engagement programme, with all customisations validated against the Microsoft Dynamics CRM support model. Hoque says: “The toolkit is underpinning the transition of service delivery from the back office to customer-facing staff. A note-worthy improvement we’ve introduced is 2e2 Search.”
2e2 designed its search function with the primary objective of making it quicker and easier for the 60 agents at the Newham contact centre—or the 140 staff at its eight neighbourhood service centres—to authenticate the identity of citizens. Shane Mills, Customer Access ICT Programme Manager, London Borough of Newham, says: “Previously, agents found it difficult to find customers’ details on the system, so they tended to create duplicates. The four possible entry points—people, property, reference, and service—are now all cross-referenced and it’s easy to find customers and link enquiries to them.
|Staff were creating duplicates at a rate of around 10 per cent per month in the existing CRM system. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, they’re only creating 0.1 per cent. The improved data quality is a huge benefit to services across the council.|
Customer Access ICT Programme Manager
London Borough of Newham
“As a result, the creation of duplicate customers, which was previously a major issue, has been improved by a factor of 100. Staff were creating duplicates at a rate of around 10 per cent per month in the existing CRM system. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, they’re only creating 0.1 per cent. The improved data quality is a huge benefit to services across the council."Benefits
With Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, Newham Council is achieving transformation of customer services with an integrated solution for citizen service delivery and digital engagement. Its online portal for every resident of the borough to use will encourage more people to conduct transactions through email or the web rather than queuing at council offices. By reusing solution architectures and sharing support costs, Newham and its neighbour Havering are on target to make £11 million cashable savings, with the prospect of other authorities joining them. Connell says: “Word of the success of Newham and Havering in shared services and digital engagement with citizens is spreading, and discussions with others are ongoing.”
Channel Shifting Helps Automate Business Processes and Reduce Costs
The council is starting with its most used citizen services in initiating greater digital engagement with residents. These include service requests for waste bins and recycling, parking enforcement, and revenues and benefits.
Mills says: “Channel shifting is about showing people that it’s much faster to do things online. There’s less information to provide because some data is pre-populated—the site does it for you if you’re logged on. A major benefit is that citizens can do their business with the council 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and don’t have to wait for office opening hours.”
Channel shifting also saves money for local authorities. Mills says: “The cost to the council of managing a citizen service transaction is estimated at around £16 to £18 if a person comes to council offices. Over the telephone it’s around £4.60, but over the web or on email it drops to around £0.60.”
Technology Integrates with Other Line-of-Business Applications
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 makes service delivery more agile through easy integration with other local authority line-of-business applications. Its flexibility means that with customisation by 2e2, there was no need to buy a separate master data management system. Mills says: “It is particularly valuable to have master data feeds into the CRM system from the revenues and benefits department, housing, electoral registration, and social care.”
Potential to Reuse Workflow Solutions from Other Councils
With more than 60 local authorities in the U.K. using Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the potential exists for innovative applications to be moved into the Newham CRM system at low cost.
Connell’s joint team already offers support to other authorities, including the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham’s business rates unit. Newham applications can be shared with other authorities, and, at Havering, 2e2 has replaced the previous CRM system with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Connell says: “You can see that regional working is rapidly becoming business as usual.”
Search Tool Helps Cut Waiting to a Tenth of the Time for Citizens
2e2 designed its search tool with the specific needs of Newham staff in mind. Mills recalls: “Whether on the phone or in person, it often took several minutes for an agent to identify a citizen correctly because he or she had to search up to four separate database fields independently. This process now takes just a tenth of the time it took previously, which means queuing time has halved and service requests are dealt with more quickly.”
Users Gain Familiar and Easy-to-Use Toolset
Given the familiarity of Newham Council staff with other Microsoft products such as Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Office Communicator, the adoption of Microsoft Dynamics CRM has been relatively straightforward. 2e2 helped with knowledge transfer by agreeing design principles and then working on collaboration and shadowing where appropriate. Mills says: “The familiarisation process has involved classroom training for contact centre staff and computer-based tuition for other employees. By involving staff in the early stages of the project we’ve ensured buy-in and rapid user adoption.”Microsoft Dynamics
Microsoft Dynamics is a line of integrated, adaptable business management solutions that enables you and your people to make business decisions with greater confidence. Microsoft Dynamics works like familiar Microsoft software such as Microsoft Office, which means less of a learning curve for your people, so they can get up and running quickly and focus on what’s most important. And because it is from Microsoft, it easily works with the systems that your company already has implemented. By automating and streamlining financial, customer relationship, and supply chain processes, Microsoft Dynamics brings together people, processes, and technologies, increasing the productivity and effectiveness of your business, and helping you drive business success.
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