City of Greater Dandenong Council: Fast tracking results for increased resident satisfaction with Okta
residents now have seamless access to Council services for greatly improved experience with local government
login interfaces reduced to just one
implementation costs versus $2 million built from scratch option
- Service access with rate payer focus
- Residents first for a better experience
- Improved efficiencies from start to finish
- Okta cutting costs and effort
- Self service determines the future
Each of the City of Greater Dandenong Council’s 50 business units operate under different systems and processes. It needed to deliver seamless access to its services while keeping project costs to a minimum.
The introduction of Okta offered a simplified and cost effective dashboard option with a ‘resident first’ design approach. Rate payers could have as many as six usernames and passwords to interact with the Council - Okta’s Single Sign On (SSO) dropped that to just one.
Okta’s design leveraged existing systems, rather than reinventing the wheel. This resulted in a one month implementation, versus a standard comprehensive portal option which takes longer.
With the implementation of Okta, the dashboard has resulted in an immediate improvement in rate payer satisfaction at lower cost. The ‘single source of truth’ pulls data from all areas of Council into the dashboard for fast, accurate access to information.
The self-service dashboard will influence how the Council introduces new, on demand services. Being able to measure how and when residents are using it, will also lead to operational efficiencies.
Okta’s approach – to leverage what we had in place and simply streamline the interface – has saved the Council hundreds of thousands of dollars and years of effort.
James Hickmott, Senior IT Coordinator, City of Greater Dandenong
In Bunurong country, the City of Greater Dandenong is the regional capital of Victoria’s south-east. Its Council serves a vibrant community of 180,000.
Serving satisfied residents
Councils provide a complex spectrum of services that are in a constant state of change, and each is supported by specific systems and with distinctly different usage.
At the City of Greater Dandenong Council, Senior IT Coordinator, James Hickmott says: “We needed a ‘single source of truth’ to improve everyone’s experience of Council. Essentially, we were 50 separate businesses - customer service, the building department, Maternal & Child Health - each holding pieces of resident information in their own systems.
“If you ask residents, you find many don't really like Council because their interactions are often frustrating exercises. We needed to improve satisfaction levels.
The big push for us was about giving residents access to their information and creating transparency across Council. But we also didn’t have buckets of money to spend on a digital transformation.”
Introducing Okta as a solution
The Council’s initial tender called for a single sign-on portal that incorporated six cloud applications. But the introduction of Okta to the mix resulted in a simplified and more cost effective dashboard option.
Much of the success of this project came from the City of Greater Dandenong being able to benefit from contracts Okta has at the state government level. “We’ve gained so much from their understanding of how the public sector operates and exactly what we need. We could have very frank conversations, and that worked well for us,” shares Hickmott.
Designing the dashboard with UX in mind
The ‘resident first’ design was a subtle but significant shift outwards from an internal customer view. It would create more of a lifestyle place where residents could expand their experiences of living within the Council area – beyond their rates notices to the myriad services the City provides.
With Okta’s input, the Council realised it already had all the systems in place on a CRM, a place to pay rates and book facilities. All that was needed was to provide residents with a dashboard from which they could simply and quickly access information relating to their Council interactions and all transaction areas at the click of a button.
Creating a golden record
This means the priority issue was to remove the multiple log in points and their access requirements. A resident could have as many as six usernames and passwords to interact with Council, so the first step was to activate Okta’s SSO.
Residents would create a profile by registering an account at the dashboard that automatically matches all their information from the disparate Council systems.
This single truth aspect of the dashboard would save residents’ time and reduce errors by automatically populating information into online forms.
Zero touch implementation to rapid returns
Hickmott says, “Normally, the set up of a customer portal is a lengthy exercise. But the Okta approach simplified everything, and saved us from having to reinvent the wheel. All the information is drawn from Council’s disparate but very adequate, working systems. We didn’t have to rebuild our apps or put them in one place.”
“The key was the SSO - it's amazing how that made it so easy and fast to set up. Okta migrated the bulk of users without any disruptions. The dashboard was completed in a month.
The design and implementation were managed by Okta Professional Services, without much effort required from me at all,” he adds.
The application priorities for enrolment into Okta were Property & Rating, Online Forms and the venue booking solution. The next services for inclusion were leisure centre membership, the library, and the Maternal & Child Health system. The City of Greater Dandenong Council is currently updating its customer request software which will also be brought into Okta.
“We can also build on our platform over time. It doesn’t matter if Council ends up with an extra 10 or 20 business units, residents will retain access via the dashboard’s SSO,” says Hickmott.
Saving dollars and years of effort
Okta’s approach – to leverage what Council had in place and purely streamline the interface – has saved the City hundreds of thousands of dollars and years of effort.
According to Hickmott “We had initially tendered for a full blown, start from scratch solution. Responses came in from $400,000 to $2 million.
“With the support of Okta, the dashboard has delivered a low cost solution with the project coming in at about $150,000.”
The simplified access to Council was so intuitive, additional time and money was saved in not having to run a communications campaign to residents explaining what was happening and how to use the new look system.
Putting Greater Dandenong ahead of the curve
Hickmott says the Okta project was about making the City’s services more visible to residents, which has now improved by tenfold.
“From rates to swimming lessons, baby clinics and library books, all the information people need for their Greater Dandenong lifestyle will be easily accessible at their fingertips, thanks to Okta. This seamless experience has put us ahead of the curve when it comes to resident satisfaction, changing the perception of the City of Greater Dandenong Council.”
With people more actively using the dashboard and exploring Council services, James sees opportunities to continue leveraging Okta. “We’re monitoring how the dashboard impacts the uptake of self service. That will influence how we introduce new apps in response to demand. It’ll also allow us to better personalise information on Council activities and events ‘near you’. The positives will keep coming.”
Greater Dandenong sees enormous potential in linking to Service Victoria, to leverage state based services from a local perspective.
“The dashboard is self service. Plus, being able to see how and when residents are using it, will lead to better operational efficiencies. That money can be repurposed to provide more resident-focussed services,” he concludes.