Sparks fly as Gisborne District Council saves $400k with new ICT deployment

Gisborne District Council has calculated savings of more than $400,000, through the deployment of a new ICT solution provided by Spark Digital.

Gisborne District Council has calculated savings of more than $400,000, through the deployment of a new ICT solution provided by Spark Digital.

Potentially setting the standard for local government IT, the significant cost savings follows a local disruption across the area, with a third of staff forced into temporary buildings due to previous offices being deemed earthquake-prone.

Bringing the company’s total number offices to five, with around 320 staff, Gisborne District Council’s IT Manager, Jenine Ritchie says the move results in mounting travel costs and a loss in productivity.

“The Council’s on-premise phone system was also not helping things,” Ritchie recalls.

Not only was it approaching its end of life, the system was cutting out and leaving some staff without phones requiring a technician to travel from Napier to assist.

At two other sites, the council was leasing a telephony service, which Ritchie says was only an interim solution and not a good use of the council’s budget long-term.

“Our relatively new leadership team are all pro-technology and were keen to adopt a solution that would reduce our complexity and help us collaborate despite being spread across a number of offices,” she says.

“We deemed change management as paramount to the success of the project, we couldn’t afford any significant impacts on the organisation.

“Spark Digital had the ability to design and implement a voice solution that would achieve our goals.”

Staggered over a six-week period, Ritchie says the initial pilot helped erase any teething issues, with council staff now connected across one communication interface, allowing instant messaging, shared screens and documents, and the implementation of a greater mobility policy.

According to Ritchie, new contact centre software deployed by Spark Digital, is allowing the council to produce customised, real-time reports - including statistics such as number of calls waiting and agents available as the council bids to improve its public service.

Excluding travel, the council has calculated savings of more than $400,000, which Ritchie says is just the tip of the iceberg given the recent announcement.

“We’ve just had news that two of our buildings will be demolished, meaning that staff at these sites will need to re-locate to four separate offices; this will bring our total number of locations from five to nine,” she adds.

With a range of locations and temporary offices Ritchie says containerised data centres are next on the roadmap, citing Spark Digital as the council’s ICT partner to help in this journey.

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