Penrith transforming CRM to support rapid growth
Western Sydney’s Penrith City Council is deploying a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution from Microsoft to support its goal of attracting up to 55,000 new jobs to the area by 2031.
The council is conducting a staged deployment of Microsoft Dynamics 365 as part of its digital transformation program, and has engaged Australian business management consultant Velrada to assist in the implementation.
The council is projecting rapid growth as a result of the opening of the nearby Western Sydney Airport in 2026, with Penrith’s population expected to reach more than 260,000 by 2031 — up from around 207,000 today.
As part of its strategy for dealing with the population boom, the council — which has to date been operating without a CRM system — plans to adopt a new customer-centric approach to the delivery of council services.
Penrith is deploying Dynamics 365 Customer Service initially to support interactions with customers regarding waste management services. This will allow the council to replace the tens of thousands of calls the council’s waste management contractor Suez receives per year, with online queries delivered via the My.Penrith.City portal.
According to the council’s ICT operations manager, Jane Howard, the new system is already seeing significant uptake.
“Since we went live in July, we registered 16,000 requests from our customers,” she said. “The majority are still received by our customer experience team by phone, but we’ve undergone a recent campaign trying to channel-shift customers from the traditional ‘phone-up council’ to registering them online. This channel is now growing since starting the campaign and is becoming very, very effective.”
Howard said using Dynamics 365 allows the council to automatically send an email to a resident once a request has been fulfilled or addressed by the waste contractor.
“We’re the first council in NSW to have this level of integration and sophistication with our waste service provider to enable this,” she said.
The council has now commenced a new project to adopt Dynamics 365 Field Service to provide its field service crews with access to data and information systems.
The project, which is currently at the user acceptance testing stage, will provide a system to support council crews working on community services including tackling graffiti and fallen trees, as well as conducting maintenance for fencing, public buildings, parks and roads.
“We’re integrating regular maintenance data from our assets system for scheduling and work order management. We also receive the requests coming in directly from customers, either via the portal or our customer experience team,” Howard commented.
“These requests, along with the regular maintenance activities, are assigned to our field crews for completion. This is all electronic and online — no more paper and when the request is from a customer they will be advised when the job is complete, even with a photo attached of the finished job.”
Penrith City Council is also exploring expanding the use of Dynamics 365 to cover other operational areas, and is already using Office 365 as its office productivity platform as part of its integrated approach to digital transformation.
“The most important thing is to be able to deliver new functionality quickly with minimal impact,” Howard said.
“Ultimately, we want all of our business processes to be integrated end to end. The experiences we’ve had with our waste program, the experience we’re having with our field services mobility projects, is how we want to streamline processes and applications across all of our functions in council.”
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