The Shire of Dardanup

Transformation and growth of a community calls for an innovative approach

About the Shire of Dardanup

The Shire of Dardanup (“the Shire”) is a medium-sized local government based in the south west of Western Australia, 185km south of Perth and covering 518sq km.

Plans were underway to transform the local landscape into WA’s newest city. The south west of WA had been experiencing population growth for some time, predominantly due to people retiring to the South West, the increase in “holiday homes”, and the establishment of a major commercial district. This posed problems for the Shire, due to the aging demographic being unable to supply employee services back to the community, and those that were in the employment market being targeted by commercial organisations.

“An EDMS is nothing new but until now there hasn’t been a system developed with such a strong Local Government framework.”

Peter Stampoultzis
Manager, Information Services, Shire of Dardanup

The challenges

Growing pressure was being placed on both the Shire and its personnel to cope with the higher volumes of work caused by the increasing population and commercial developments.  While not strictly an organisation in a competitive environment, the negative operational aspects had the ability to cause unwanted publicity. Given the regional location of the Shire, the options to improve productivity through increasing headcount were limited and the workloads for existing staff were climbing. A continual deterioration of the level of service provided to the community was revealing an inability to support future plans for the region.

From a technology perspective, the Shire was using a very out-dated local government ERP and CRM solution that was also being used to manage information and documents. The other significant technological limitations included total non-compliance with state legislature and regulations when managing and retaining corporate information, zero integration between business applications, and no support for mobility or ability to move towards cloud-based offerings. Further separation from modern technology would have placed the Shire in a position that would have required a costly overhaul and disruption at a future date.

All of these factors highlighted the critical need for the implementation of tools to increase the efficiency and effectiveness capabilities of the Shire’s current staff.

“Empired helped us apply technology to the problem. The result? An EDMS engineered specifically for Local Government.”

Peter Stampoultzis
Manager, Information Services, Shire of Dardanup

The solution

In the wake of these mounting pressures, the Shire decided to make a strategic investment to improve through technological advancement. At the core of the initiative was the desire to implement an Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) solution specifically engineered and tailored to meet the demands of local government and their unique business processes.

With an understanding of the business climate and requirements of the Shire, Empired developed a solution that heavily integrated the Shire’s business processes and classification taxonomies, while ensuring the design provided the flexibility and scalability to grow with the organisation. To ensure maximum staff uptake of the new system, a strong user experience and productivity focus was adopted and all design decisions considered the impact to the end user.

The technology

At the time of developing the EDMS proposal, the Shire of Dardanup had already selected SharePoint as a strategic delivery platform. As a result, the Shire’s preference was for all proposed solutions to leverage the investment already made in SharePoint and the Microsoft Technology Stack.

As a RecordPoint and Nintex Partner, Empired was well positioned to leverage these third party applications for SharePoint and develop a tailored solution that would specifically address the Shire’s business requirements.

In addition to its vendor partners, Empired also included best of breed applications that had been previously used in other solutions. These included OnePlace Solutions for e-mail management and Lightning Tools to provide content aggregation flexibility. Finally, Empired developed a bespoke integration with the existing ERP and CRM system, SynergySoft. By developing a customised solution using these various components, Empired provided the Shire with a tailored, flexible, scalable and easily supportable solution that meets all core business requirements.

Peter Stampoultzis, Manager Information Services, Shire of Dardanup said “An EDMS is nothing new but until now there hasn’t been a system developed with such a strong Local Government framework. Empired built a customised solution that created new standards and efficiencies in the face of extraordinary pressures associated with growth.”

While the Empired offering was generally viewed as a unique and somewhat risky proposition, this was offset by the solution’s delivery of greater design flexibility, rapid scalability, cloud adoption, mobility services and a strong partner network for third party applications and services. Successful implementation of the solution was achieved by Empired through a detailed analysis of business and technical requirements, significant involvement from the business for testing, training and piloting the solution, and a high level of post launch support.

“Empired built a customised solution that created new standards and efficiencies in the face of extraordinary pressures associated with growth.”

Peter Stampoultzis
Manager, Information Services, Shire of Dardanup

The results

The Shire has experienced significant productivity and cost benefits from Empired’s solution. The most immediate cost benefit observed was a reduction in records management staff, as well as reduced costs associated with staff growth. On average, the time to save and find records has reduced from an average of four minutes to approximately one minute. This has been achieved through a greatly improved information architecture, automated metadata inheritance and integration with a range of familiar and widely used authoring applications, resulting in an estimated staff productivity saving of over $300,000 over 4 years.

In addition to the above savings, it is expected the Shire will experience positive returns owing to:

  • More productive use of floor space as hardcopy records storage reduces;
  • Staff productivity increases, due to improved collaboration and document co-authoring capabilities;
  • Improved client satisfaction due to quicker response and processing times;
  • Attracting staff with modern and familiar technologies.

Externally, the solution has influenced a number of benefits to the broader community, including easy public access to information and processes, improved service delivery as a result of workflow efficiencies, the cost to industry of transacting business with the Shire is reduced and the human resource savings allow greater flow of funds to other projects, benefiting ratepayers. Peter Stampoultzis said, “Empired helped us apply technology to the problem. The result? An EDMS engineered specifically for Local Government.”

The benefits

  • Highly flexible - allowing the solution to evolve as the organisation changes.
  • Highly scalable - ensuring the solution can satisfy the significant growth rates of the Shire.
  • Transparent Records Management - users no longer have to have an awareness that they are ‘managing records’ or being asked to provide compliance information that they don’t have an understanding of.
  • Integration Services – SharePoint as a platform is designed to integrate with a range of industry standard and bespoke systems and provide users with a single interface for reporting, analysis and interrogation.
  • Supportability – The Shire now has a solution that is highly supported and has a clear roadmap. They also have a much wider pool of vendors that can actively support and enhance the platform.
  • Familiarity – Users are familiar with the Microsoft Suite, which has increased adoption while reduced training and change overheads.

The solution was designed with the intention of providing as much reusable intellectual property as possible. In general, the WA Government (State and Local) work collaboratively to ensure all organisations can share the quality solutions developed. The Shire of Dardanup now fully support this model and their solution maximises the opportunities for cooperation.


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