Background

Career development is a critical piece of Local Council’s employment policy. Highly trained and knowledgeable personnel can deliver consistently better outcomes and increase the efficiency and professionalism of the organisation. A NSW Local Council’s Executive Team embraced this strategy but felt their existing system could be improved to help staff attain their career goals and benchmark key performance indicators.

Extending the capabilities of Local Council’s SharePoint investment made commercial sense because it entailed little expenditure or extra training. Antares Solutions were contracted to undertake the system development and data migration, delivering a like-for-like operator experience. The project was completed in record time and is being reviewed by other Local Councils looking to solve similar operational challenges.

The Challenge

The Local Council’s employees undergo an annual performance evaluation that appraises their achievements and identifies areas in need of improvement. The information drawn from this process is then entered into its InfoPath forms based application but because of the repetitive nature of the task, operator input error was common.

The system offers little in the way of reporting, making data analysis and comparing business metrics difficult.

Faced with this challenge, the Local Council’s IT and Human Resource Managers engaged Antares Solutions to solve the problem. Internal stakeholders input around process workflow ensured maximum value was added to the organisation.

The Solution

Antares provided a solution that met operational goals while ensuring the privacy of Council employees. The first task was to relocate the information hosted in the Council’s InfoPath form based application to an SQL database and then validate the integrity of the data.

With the data secured, the SharePoint integration process began by establishing access controls based on employee roles and responsibilities. These steps ensured user permissions were in compliance with Council’s privacy policies and that only staff with a valid need to access any confidential data could do so.

SharePoint/Outlook seamless integration means emails, as well as documents, can be tracked, with audit trails created; providing another layer of security and oversight. SharePoint/Outlook integration aids productivity because the burden of managing document workflow is easier, with documents easily located at any stage.

Minimal user training was required with existing Microsoft Office skills meeting the needs demanded of the new procedures. Data analysis for management is created quickly using SQL’s Reporting Services or with a third party application like Crystal Reports.

The Local Council believes every investment in their employees’ career development will yield dividends in increased productivity and staff loyalty. By providing a framework that enables staff to advance their career and add greater value to their roles, the Council can deliver services more cost-effectively. This also helps identify where systems are failing to meet objectives or where internal communications can be refined.

Because all Councils work to legislative funding models that limit rate increases, the efficiency of how business is conducted must be improved. A mindset that encourages thrift and productivity should be cultivated! The Council’s decision to extend their SharePoint framework will help achieve these goals by providing ways to measure and improve processes. This will create a better workplace and show how a working environment that nurtures employees’ career goals justifies the Council’s commitment to skills improvement.

Summary

Set a baseline that measures and aligns employee goals and standards against Council policies and objectives.

Solution Technology

  • Microsoft SharePoint
  • AppRAISE
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