Shropshire Council is a unitary authority, combining the responsibilities of a non-metropolitan county and district council, which means that it has the widest scope of services of any type of council. The council services a diverse community of citizens of all ages and needs, across both urban and rural environments.
Shropshire Council wanted to improve customer self-service access, which in turn will improve customer satisfaction and most importantly reduce internal costs.
“Shropshire Council were undergoing a huge digital transformation and that was looking at several different areas of work”, says Andrew Boxall, Technology and Communications service manager. “One of the big ones was customer experience and we were looking for an implementation partner to support us with that journey.”
The Council had already invested in Microsoft Dynamics 365 to replace its previous, ageing on-premises CRM system. The previous system was old, inefficient, siloed and did not provide the customer services team with the insight they needed to properly support residents.
To explore ways to improve support for its most vulnerable residents, the Council decided to invest in a technology pathfinder project, to see how data from wearables and home-based sensors could be made available to council staff.
The council had explored traditional telecare offerings but found that these didn’t offer the innovation often found in consumer products such as “smartwatches” and other fitness wearables – and wanted a way to combine consumer devices with their investment in Enterprise technologies.
Working in partnership, Hitachi Solutions and Shropshire Council envisioned a solution using the council’s existing investments in customer service tools enriched by data from wearable sensors. Strategically this could not be a purchase of a siloed solution, it had to feed into the council’s wider need for a “single view of the citizen”.
Furthermore, by expanding its use of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Azure, Hitachi Solutions helped Shropshire capture and analyse data from wearable devices, in near-real-time. The intelligence gleaned from that data was then made available to front-line staff to help them in their duties.
The project combined off-the-shelf consumer devices with Microsoft Azure, Dynamics 365 and PowerBI, to help them council innovate and experiment far more quickly than it would have done previously. By configuring cloud services, rather than building custom infrastructure, devices were up and running in weeks rather than months.
When we were looking at CRM, we had a few options and realised Microsoft Dynamics 365 was a good solution for us largely because it’s with Microsoft and we knew that in 5 years’ time we weren’t going to have to do all the work again and that was something we’ve been burnt with in the past. The Hitachi Solutions team are handing over to ours and we’re really pleased with how it’s going. Our team have learnt from the best and it’s been really successful.
Technology and Communications Service Manager, Shropshire Council
The project was considered crucial by the council in proving that consumer devices could form a core component of their assisted living strategy, and that data from such devices can be combined with other valuable citizen insights to ultimately enable better care.
Hitachi Solutions continues to work with clients across Local Government and Housing Associations, to help them use data from connected devices – using IoT (the “Internet of Things”) – to transform services.