TechnologyOne CPM helps Council form strategy and comply with new laws

Queanbeyan City Council has become the first customer to use TechnologyOne's Corporate Performance Management (CPM) Solution and one of the first to submit a 10 year integrated plan to the NSW State Government, to comply with new laws.

The Local Government Amendment (Planning and Reporting) Act 2009 requires Councils to develop a 10-year Community Strategic Plan, a Resourcing Strategy, and a four-year Delivery Program.

Queanbeyan City Council had started integrated planning at the beginning of 2008 and was already ticking a lot of the boxes; it had the beginnings of a strategic workforce plan, a community vision and a long-term asset management plan.

However, to get from the very high-level, long-term strategic priorities, such as ‘Culture and Leisure Lifestyle' to a number of shorter term goals and detailed plans, budgets needed to be set, staff allocated and key performance indicators (KPIs) agreed.

All employees at every level would have to be involved, their true costs accounted for and their own targets put in place.

Although Queanbeyan City Council already used TechnologyOne Financials and Performance Planning, it was using PowerBudget for internal budgeting and manual Excel spreadsheets to do salaries - so the data needed for integrated planning was in different systems.

Queanbeyan City Council decided to implement TechnologyOne Business Intelligence and Enterprise Budgeting alongside its existing TechnologyOne Financials and Performance Planning solutions to ensure it had an integrated approach to its integrated planning needs.

The Council is now one of the first organisations in Australia to have TechnologyOne's Corporate Performance Management (CPM) Solution, which combines Enterprise Budgeting, Performance Planning and Business Intelligence. The solution was implemented by an in-house team in only two months and went live in February.

TechnologyOne CPM enables organisations to monitor and manage performance across revenue, service and operational costs and to seamlessly plan, act on, check and review their strategic and operational KPIs on a daily, quarterly or annual basis. It was designed to address the growing demand for sustainability measurement and triple or quadruple bottom line reporting.

One of the major selling points of the new solution was the Business Intelligence dashboards, which have helped simplify a complex planning and reporting system for the individual user. Queanbeyan implemented the software to fit around its own internal reporting structure, so managers only have to think about their division and their KPIs.

Budgeting is now the divisional managers' responsibility, rather than the finance team's, and the integrated system means they can allocate it budgets against projects and priorities. This means the budget is properly applied as managers can easily finetune it and it helps them justify their budget when the next financial year comes around.

Staff constitute one of the largest costs for Council and managers can now allocate a percentage of an individual full time employee's (FTE) time to a project for greater accountability and to understand the real cost of a project. Previously they had to fill in a worksheet and send to finance, which would then upload it.

The integrated solution also means all updates are made to the main ledger, rather than data being extracted and then updated in an external system.

This reduces the amount of work for everyone.

In terms of KPIs, a traffic light system lets users know if something is not going to plan, and directors and managers can take a screen shot and email it to a divisional manager to find out what's happening if a red light shows.

There is no switching between systems and no printing out pages of data; reports, such as a period analysis, can be run by just clicking on a link, and training is greatly simplified for the most basic user. The CPM solution is so well designed, it even fits the screen so there is no scrolling.

Any user can go into the system and see how a division is performing at the top level and then drill down by simply clicking on a hyperlink to a cost centre, and then into transactional detail such as purchase orders.

Paul Spyve, Executive Manager Corporate Planning, said Queanbeyan City Council had a head start because TechnologyOne Financials was already implemented.

"Many projects and programs were already in the system with staff and budgets allocated, so we just went through all cost centres and linked them to strategic priorities," Mr Spyve explained.

"The core architecture allows drill down so all stakeholders can see how the plans, programs and projects all link together, without anyone having to re-enter data.

"The performance targets can then be entered using the new CPM solution - the software is invaluable to this process now and going into the future."

Queanbeyan City Council intends to fully integrate its system with the new TechnologyOne Performance Planning solution in the next few months. Once this upgrade is complete, the Council will never have to manipulate data in another system and can present projects, priorities and results to the public in an easy to understand format.

Mr Spyve said that the council liked TechnologyOne's commitment to research and development.

"TechnologyOne's takes a true partnership approach.  It talks to its customers and continually refines its software to ensure it addresses our needs," Mr Spyve said.

"Because of this, the task of putting a strategic plan in place has been relatively easy, whereas it could have been a herculean effort. As a result, Queanbeyan City Council has become a ‘Group One' Council, placing us in a great position, ahead of the pack."