Council wins Best Digital Transformation Award

Published on 08 November 2019

ALGIM Digital Transformation Award 2019

A project to modernise and improve its customer services area and processes has netted Whanganui District Council an award for Best Digital Transformation at the Association of Local Government Information Management (ALGIM) Annual Conference ICT Awards.

The award was presented at the conference in Wellington on Tuesday, 5 November, 2019 and collected on behalf of the Council by Information Services team members, Ari Houshangi (Solutions Delivery Lead) and Jay Paterson (Business Improvements Lead).

ALGIM provides professional development and thought leadership across a range of local government professions, encompassing IT roles and infrastructure, web and digital, information and records management, customer service, and GIS. Its annual ICT Awards recognise the best in local government ICT.

ALGIM Chief Executive, Mike Manson, says, “Our winner [Whanganui District Council] put the customer at the centre of their digital transformation, taking their customer service functions from a transactional to an interactive environment. They have shown how technology can provide for a much better customer experience.”

Council Chief Executive, Kym Fell, says Whanganui District Council is committed to delivering service excellence. “We wanted to remove outdated procedural barriers and use technology to enhance our customers’ experience and enable them to interact with us in ways that suited their needs, providing multiple channels to access our services.”

“In December 2018 we initiated a project to move our customer services function from a transactional to an interactive customer-centric environment. Digital innovation was identified at the time as an important principle in this transformation.

“Ensuring we had digital-savvy leaders shaping our customer journey from a digital perspective was critical,” Mr Fell says.

Ari Houshangi says, “Based on a clearly-outlined vision, we were able to evaluate and design how best to deliver the technologies needed for the transformation. This national industry award by ALGIM recognises both the vision and the execution of this transformation through technology.”

The project included digitising property plans and introducing new online services, implementing an innovative electronic visitor management system and upgrading security technology, creating a digital room-booking system and introducing interactive digital kiosks and public ‘pods’ to enable customers to complete transactions online.  

Mr Fell says the benefits are now evident. “We’ve established a paperless environment which contributes to our social and environmental well-being, on-site and cash-handling security has improved, waiting times have been reduced and, importantly, our customers have been empowered with self-service options and a more respectful and dignified environment in which to address their requirements.”