Local Councils: Unlock the Value of Your Technology Investments

May 11, 2020
Andrew Zeon
Local Councils: Unlock the Value of Your Technology Investments

It’s not easy being a local Australian council these days. Meeting the increased demand for better, faster citizen services while holding down costs is an all day, everyday challenge. And, in this effort, technology can sometimes be part of the problem —instead of the solution.

That’s why Boomi launched its five-part local council webinar series. Five webinars aimed at helping Australian councils make the best technology choices for right now and for the future. And while designed for an Australian audience, these lessons apply equally to most local governments around the world.

Check out our Local Council webinar series:

Since most Australian councils are reliant on one of three ERP systems — TechnologyOne, Infor Pathway, or Civica — it is critical to understand the integration needs of these business management platforms.

Integrating TechnologyOne With Other Best-of-Breed Applications

In Australia, we’ve worked extensively with about a dozen councils and the majority use TechOne as their core ERP platform. It’s a critical system that essentially runs a council’s business. And virtually all the councils face the same problem — integrating TechOne with other platforms and applications.

As the demands placed on councils grow, they need deeper insights into the data residing in TechOne to get a clearer understanding of how customers are engaging with council services. And to augment TechOne capabilities, councils have turned to best-of-breed SaaS applications, which also need access to TechOne data.

If a council introduces a new service or upgrades an existing one, the business processes that support the service will span multiple systems and personas. Fast, reliable, and accurate data exchange between systems becomes vital.

Best-of-Breed Applications Multiply IT Complexity

Best-of-breed applications have been designed to do one thing well. Manage customer relationships. Streamline a supply chain. Orchestrate the functions of human resources. But they haven't been designed to talk to each other. The result? Data silos.

To overcome this, a lot of manual processing is needed. But manual processing leads to errors, delays in accessing trusted data, and a host of other problems.

The Integration Quick Fix: Point-to-Point Connections

A quick fix for councils, and for many other organizations as well, is the point-to-point approach. You write code connecting the applications that need to communicate. This works — for a while. But the point-to-point approach has inherent flaws that only get worse as your application portfolio grows.

For one thing, the integrations are brittle. Every time an application releases a new version, the code needs to be changed. Otherwise, the integration will fail. And every time you add a system or application, the number of connections increases exponentially. If you have five systems that need to be integrated that’s 10 connections (N(N-1)/2).

And organizations often have far more than five systems that require integration. If you have to manually code these connections, your total cost of ownership (TCO) will soon be through the roof.

Watch our TechnologyOne webinar on-demand for an example of how costs quickly escalate using point-to-point integration

Solving Point-to-Point Complexity With the Boomi Platform

An integration platform uses a hub and spoke model to speed connectivity, thereby saving both manual effort and cost. Each application requiring integration connects to the platform. Five applications, five connections. Six applications, six connections. Costs increase in a linear fashion rather than exponentially.

Boomi uses a graphical, drag-and-drop interface to map connections between systems and there are many pre-built connectors for commonly used applications such as Salesforce, making it fast and easy to build new integrations. There’s a one-time setup cost Boomi and a cost per connection lower than the equivalent cost of a manually coded connection.

Beyond cost benefits, the Boomi Platform also offers architectural benefits. It allows seamless integration between on-premises instances of TechOne, TechOne's cloud platform Ci Anywhere, and any other SaaS or on-premises systems. This flexibility continues to pay dividends as Councils add or retire applications as they digitally transform business operations.

Connecting to TechnologyOne

Boomi connectors provide four ways to connect with TechOne. Connectors are little widgets that encapsulate a lot of the configuration required to connect in a certain way. The connectors make integration faster and easier and virtually eliminate the need to write any code.

The Boomi connectors for TechOne include:

  • File/FTP
  • Database
  • SOAP web services
  • RESTful API services

One of our council customers used the SOAP web services API to get the latest property valuation information from a valuation management service (VNS). The TechOne Property & Rating (P&R) module calls the API, which is exposed in Boomi, and that triggers an update in property valuations. Our recorded TechnologyOne webinar goes into more details on this scenario.

Another common scenario would be updating a CRM with new contact details. For this, Boomi exposes a REST API, which can access and update the appropriate files.

Boomi: Faster, More Agile Services for All Stakeholders

All Australian councils are under pressure to digitally transform their businesses while holding down costs and extending the value of current technology investments. No matter where you are on the digital transformation adoption curve, Boomi can help.

Check out our entire Local Council webinar series for more guidance and ideas:

About the Author

Andrew Zeon is a Boomi solution consulting manager for Australia and New Zealand.