A shift away from legacy
Situated between Brisbane City and the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Moreton Bay Local Council is one of the largest local government areas in Australia by population, with a total of 479,638 inhabitants.
Prior to engaging the Telstra Purple team, the council used an ageing, on-premises deployment of Skype for Business Enterprise for general telephony across 37 sites, which was hampering productivity and their ability to collaborate.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the push to get the council workforce working remote, Moreton Bay seized the opportunity to modernise their telephony services, engaging Telstra Purple as a trusted partner to spearhead the move to MS Teams, powered by Telstra Calling for Office 365 (TCO365).
Addressing the need for collaboration whilst working remotely
Moreton Bay’s legacy Skype for Business technology platform was built primarily for calling, with limited meeting functionality and a lack of integration with their other technology platforms.
As the organisation became more digitally focused towards the end of 2019, they needed a platform that enabled collaboration and teamwork, so they could seamlessly connect with fellow staff and take resident inquiries no matter where they were physically located.
This requirement became even more pronounced after the COVID-19 pandemic, as they needed their people to feel as connected and work as productively at home as they would in the office, with an ethos that their remote workers remained ‘first-class citizens’.
Moreton Bay were already on a roadmap to reduce their dependency on on-prem infrastructure and people, as any system failures had the potential for a substantial downtime and loss of man hours. If they experienced application errors, they were reliant on a third-party expertise to troubleshoot and fix them, which was often a lengthy process that impacted uptime.
They were also spending a lot of time on system maintenance, with hours of work dedicated to simply ‘keeping the lights on’.
Building a tailored Teams solution that addressed key challenges
Telstra Purple worked closely with Moreton Bay Regional Council to understand their strategic priorities and technical profile, using a repeatable framework to map out constraints and dependencies while assessing infrastructure and network readiness for MS Teams.
Phones and other devices requiring firmware upgrade or complete hardware replacement were identified and bandwidth modelling was performed across all 37 sites to ensure anticipated usage levels were supported by the current Telstra network.
Alongside the end-user facing migration of Teams, Purple also executed a migration of Moreton Bay’s back-office phone number ranges from on-prem trunks to the cloud. Number range migration constraints were carefully analysed to ensure that all general telephony (Skype for Business) and contact centre interactions – which operated on the Genesys call centre platform - would remain uninterrupted throughout the migration process.
To ensure that the entire organisation could execute a seamless transition to the new platform, Telstra Purple also created a range of end-user personas to highlight how the change would specifically impact certain user groups, telling them what they needed to know to get started. This meant that, from leadership to non-technical frontline workers, everyone thoroughly understood their requirements and how their day-to-day was set to change.
Moreton Bay also ran the Skype for Business system in parallel as they started to switch on Teams, ensuring a seamless transition to the new platform.
Fostering better outcomes for citizens
The new solution has empowered Moreton Bay Regional Council to work remotely – while remaining connected as a team - during a time of immense uncertainty. Microsoft Teams, powered by TCO365, has enabled the council to build a program around flexible working, allowing them to fulfill the needs of their residents despite not being physically present within office buildings.
“The COVID environment certainly threw people in the deep end and there was a lot of concern around how we were going to stay in touch with our workforce.
With Teams, we’re able to do our daily stand-up meetings remotely and get our team members together on a regular basis to have a chat and a personal conversation while sharing information, which is far more engaging than a video conference.”
Tim Gepp, Moreton Bay Regional Council's Information and Communication Technology Manager
It’s also led to a sharp reduction in time and money spent monitoring, maintaining, and patching on-premises infrastructure, as they could shut down the legacy servers that hosted the Skype for Business and Call Centre solutions. This provides an opportunity for the council to shift their focus to monitoring and improving the performance of their services, whilst refining end-user experience on an ongoing basis.
One tangible impact has been the creation of new community forums through Teams live events, facilitating a whole new way for the council to engage with hundreds of residents at once. It also allows Moreton Bay to be more agile, as they’re able to instantly take advantage of the constant innovation and new functionality offered by Microsoft and the Teams platform.
With a cloud-based delivery model that’s managed externally, Moreton Bay have shifted to a human-centric approach to service management, as the priority is no longer about ‘keeping the lights on’, but how the service is fulfilling the needs of staff and residents.
That means time and budget can be spent on improving resident outcomes, catering to any new or emerging use cases by amending their infrastructure or adding new technology, with a focus on improving their services and streamlining employee experiences.