Wanganui District Council sparks remote working trend

The Wanganui District Council is mobilising its workforce and creating a level of frontline service after partnering with Spark Digital.

The Wanganui District Council is mobilising its workforce and creating a level of frontline service after partnering with Spark Digital, making use of its smaller budget and few resources.

The council’s new mobility solution deployed by Spark Digital addresses multiple areas, including its need to store private data away from prying eyes - otherwise known as data sovereignty.

Information Services Manager, Jason Simons pinpoints remote working and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) as two areas that are key to helping the council achieve its goals.

“We can achieve massive efficiencies and improve our frontline community services by enabling our people to work on the go,” he says.

“What’s more, offering a secure environment for our people to access work applications and information on their own familiar device ultimately helps increase our productivity.

“We had tested a few solutions but none offered the kind of features we required to truly empower our frontline staff, nor the security options an organisation like ours requires to keep our data or network from being exposed.

“New technology is allowing us to fully embrace mobility and BYOD like never before – the level of security means we can give our people the tools to do their job anywhere, on any mobile device.

"Through a customised mobile application, they can view notes about dog breed, type and owner details on the spot - gone are the days of having to return to base to get information before taking action.”

Simons says the council’s drive to embrace mobile working has also paid dividends for the building services team.

In the past, building inspectors would have to print out details before visits, manually write down reports while on site and then return to their desk to process the information into the council’s system.

Now they can enter information and upload photos direct to an application on their tablet.

Simons says that over the last three years the council has moved away from standardised IT solutions and into more tailored tools to suit particular job needs.

“Not everyone is a deskbound worker - we are striving to empower business units with the secure tools and applications in hand that they need to do their specific job as best they can," he adds.

Simons says that Spark Digital is a preferred supplier who provides and manages the council’s hardware, storage, networking, switching, servers and telecommunications needs.

Citrix is the key platform the council uses to supply all of its remote access solutions, meaning the tools integrate into the wider Citrix family of products, explains Simons.

“It lowers our costs and our system engineers are already skilled in supporting Citrix solutions so there was no extra training required," he adds.

Looking forward, Simons says the council intends to implement more new technology, including expanding on some of its current cloud-based solutions.

Wanganui District Council serves a population of 43,500, with 300 staff across nine locations. At present, 70% of staff use mobility with the council the first to initiate UFB fibre-optic network rollout.

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