Despite all the disruptive changes we faced in 2019 and 2020, particularly with weather extremes and bushfires then the pandemic, the response from the community and our public services shows just how adaptable and resilient we are in Australia. The one sector the most on the frontline through all of this has been our local councils. In the face of ongoing budget pressures and maintaining service levels to their communities, local governments need to ensure they have the secure, resilient, flexible and cost-effective systems in place to continue pivoting and adapting to new ways of working.
A move to the cloud communications is one key step that every council can take. Dated communications infrastructure forms both a significant capital investment and an ongoing cost ad resource drain for support and maintenance. These costs are significant when you consider that the estimated declines in GDP are up to 23% in local government areas as a result of the impact of bushfires and COVID-19 restrictions. Also, separate, disconnected platforms for communications is no longer meeting the expectations of council staff and the communities they serve.
A single, integrated cloud-based communications platform provides a seamless experience for staff across multiple devices, and further integration connects the council’s data and departments, leading to quicker and improved decision-making.
That integrated, connected digital platform means that councils can achieve a single view of the customer, so that instead of just responding to individual service requests, council staff can understand how to better serve customers to meet and even exceed their expectations. It also ensures that councils can communicate and engage with members of their community using that customer’s preferred channels.
Australian government agencies at all levels have recognised the benefits of the cloud, and have adopted investment strategies and policies to make the move. A Deloitte Access Economics study found that government sector decision makers identified the main benefits as being improved agility in terms of being able to better scale operations as needed (71%), improved productivity (71%) and improved services, reliability and data security (61%). The Australian Government’s Secure Cloud Strategy, released by the Digital Transformation Agency in 2017, makes it easier for governments at all levels to invest in cloud technology.
To find out more about the benefits of the cloud for local government, and how to make the move to cloud communications, it’s well worth reading our newly published report, ‘The modern council: cloud benefits for Australian local councils’.