The Moray Council

Local authority realises labour and materials efficiencies with digital transformation


As part of a review to identify potential service improvements and financial efficiencies, The Moray Council recently set up a central customer contact centre. The programme then involved different services transferring initial customer contact to this one central point. One of the first services to migrate was its Housing Repairs service and, at the same time, it implemented mobile working for its housing repairs operatives. By using Digitise and Automate, NDL’s RPA and front-end interface products, it has now integrated both its front-office CRM and three back-office systems to support the new way of working. As a result, it has realised significant efficiencies and cost-savings.

The Challenge

In common with 29 other councils in Scotland, The Moray Council carried out a review called ‘Designing Better Services’. This was aimed at identifying opportunities to simplify, standardise or share processes which would deliver service improvements and financial efficiencies.

The key finding of the review was the need to remove multiple contact points for different services by centralising as much customer contact as possible in one contact centre. To support this, it implemented a new Lagan ECM CRM system. Moray then identified which service areas would benefit most from restructuring.

One key area highlighted was the Housing Repairs service. Customers previously called the Housing Service direct; admin staff then followed a manual, paper-based process to book repairs into the central iWorld housing system, with no appointment or work scheduling system in place. This process required a significant amount of resource and inevitably created high levels of abortive visits, as a result of no access. Moray realised this process could be much more efficient.

The Solution

Moray decided it needed to implement mobile working for its response repair operatives and then to integrate this with its three back-office systems and the front-office Lagan CRM. To do this, it combined the capabilities of Digitise and Automate to create an end-to-end process. Digitise enables existing back-office applications to be mobilised through quick in-house development. Automate, NDL’s RPA toolkit is a cost-effective, flexible and versatile alternative for integration which avoids the need to use individual vendor APIs or adaptors. It links to and from the front office or joins back-office applications together, thus dramatically improving business processes and workflows.

Now, a customer needing a repair visit calls the central contact centre, where the details are captured and a job request for the specific trade is created. This is then sent through to Opti-time, which identifies the best available operative to carry out the job and offers the customer a range of four-hour appointment slots before scheduling the appointment.

Using their HTC HD2 mobile devices, the operatives access their work schedules at the start of each day, receiving one job at a time. Once each job is completed, they fill in the details including materials used; Digitise Apps then update Opti-time in real-time while the jobs are also updated in Servitor, iWorld and the Lagan CRM using Automate.

The Benefits

Operatives have taken to the new mobile working processes very well. They were nervous at first, particularly over any difficulties if they were in an area with a poor signal. This worry was unfounded as Digitise works on an ‘always on, sometimes connected’ basis, synchronising when next in signal. In addition, details of the current job are held on a database on the mobile device itself, which enables it to be accessed and updated at any time irrespective of signal quality.

As a result of implementing mobile working, seven fewer operatives are now needed to carry out the repairs service, which has freed up labour resources to be deployed elsewhere.

According to Mike Rollo, Building Services Manager at The Moray Council, “Using NDL’s Evolve Digital Transformation Platform has saved a considerable amount of time and money as a result of the labour and materials efficiencies that we are now realising.”

Previously, as Moray is a very large rural area, more time was wasted when a householder missed an appointment, or if the right parts were not on the van. Rearranged appointments can now be transmitted direct to the relevant operative, while the integration with Servitor ensures that stocks on each van are updated regularly and cost-effectively.

What's Next?

Having recently ported the Windows mobile 6.5 application onto the Android platform, Moray is now looking at other possible uses for Digitise. In particular, it is trialling an application using Windows 7 tablets to monitor bin collection routes, supporting the drive to encourage people to recycle correctly.

"I’m very impressed with it as a platform for developing mobile apps, and for maintaining and monitoring mobile devices in use. We’re now actively exploring other service areas where we can drive similar efficiencies to those achieved in Housing Repairs."

Roy Poulsen ICT Project Leader, The Moray Council


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"Digitise was an obvious route for us as it did exactly what we needed. But using SX as well provided a huge saving as we didn’t have to invest in very expensive and inflexible connectors"

Roy Poulsen, ICT Project Leader The Moray Council