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Case Study

Digitized Workflows help Council Improve Citizen Services

Digitized Workflows help Council Improve Citizen Services

SoftwareONE helped City of Lincoln to Digitally Transform and Modernize Council Operations with M365

As a council serving almost 100,000 residents and providing services from housing to building control and benefits, the City of Lincoln Council wanted to digitize its workflows to operate more efficiently and effectively. With SoftwareONE's technical consultancy and licensing advisory for procurement, the Council is now well on its way to building an even more innovative future workplace.

Citizens can now communicate via video with the Council. Employees can access data and resources when out in the community, and frequently used processes have been digitized to improve services for citizens. For example, residents can now sign a tenancy agreement once on a mobile device, when previously employees had to capture up to 14 handwritten signatures.

City of Lincoln Council Logo

Fraser Trickett

“The enthusiasm of the SoftwareONE team impressed us from the first meeting. They approached our digital transformation project not with a ‘simply another sale’ attitude, but with a desire to really help us push the boundaries of what we were trying to achieve. As we have audacious goals for our transformation, this made them the ideal partner. Plus, their deep knowledge of Microsoft and 365 means they really know how to maximize the return on our investment.”

Organizational Change Lead, City of Lincoln Council

The Project

  • Customer: City of Lincoln Council

  • Industry: Public, local government

  • Services: Migration of 650+ employees to M365 incl. implementation of Microsoft Power Platform for Business Intelligence (Power BI) and workflow automation; SoftwareONE PyraCloud to manage license transactions and cloud usage and control costs

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About the Customer

The City of Lincoln Council provides local authority services to Lincoln's 97,541 residents. It has 650 employees and engages with several contractors. The Council is supported by seven members of the IT team and one in the change management team.

Two years ago, it decided to undertake a complete digital transformation and cloud migration initiative to modernize how the Council operates, delivering better value for money while protecting citizens’ privacy and security. It also wanted to effectively meet the needs of service users in housing, business support, and answering citizen queries.

The Challenge

The Council had an almost entirely on-premises infrastructure and aging estate that ran on Citrix. Numerous legacy systems and more than seventy discrete back-end applications fragmented the environment. Data was challenging to collate across the organization, and staff collaboration was difficult.

To modernize, the Council wanted to transition to Microsoft 365 for central communications and collaboration. Its small and busy internal IT team focused on day-to-day infrastructure and lacked the deep expertise required to migrate to Microsoft 365. A neighboring local authority where SoftwareONE had delivered a similar project, and had realized significant benefits from implementing Microsoft 365, recommended SoftwareONE to the City of Lincoln Council.

To strengthen its continuity plans, the Council also wanted to move to Microsoft 365 from solely on-premises infrastructure. This would assure continuity in the event of fire, flood, or disaster. With early migration during the COVID-19 pandemic, all employees, including the 45-strong Strategic Command group, could continue operating.

The Solution

The City of Lincoln Council team chose SoftwareONE as its technology partner. As a Microsoft Gold Partner with more than 30 years’ experience working with Microsoft, SoftwareONE was well-placed to deliver consultancy and technical guidance, and software advisory and procurement.

The first step in the Council's digital transformation was to migrate its 650+ workforce to Exchange Online, alongside a roll-out of new devices. As well as email, collaboration and productivity tools, it is using Microsoft 365 to automate internal admin and business processes, and has begun using Microsoft Power Platform for Business Intelligence (Power BI) and workflow automation. It also used Microsoft Bookings to control entry to the Council buildings during the pandemic to limit numbers and ensure the safety of visitors.

The council is also using SoftwareONE’s PyraCloud, a single platform, to transact software licenses and cloud usage, understand its licensing position in real-time, and ensure its software estate is continuously cost-optimized. This helps the council identify savings and better manage costs.

The Result

  • Improved Security and Governance: SoftwareONE worked with the Council to configure Microsoft 365 Security as part of the migration to ensure policies aligned with Public Services Network (PSN) governance and strengthen identity protection, device configuration, and data loss prevention.
  • Enabled Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): Microsoft 365 improved security and mobility allowing the Council to promote a new BYOD policy. Staff gain flexibility, with greater mobility and security.
  • Digitized Workflows to Remove Risk: With SoftwareONE’s help, the council has now digitized processes such as sickness reporting, starter and leaver workflows, complaints, and internal incident management. It has also transitioned its risk management tracking from Microsoft Excel to Microsoft 365, so workers receive automatic flags and reminders of any possible problems, which resolves a ‘red risk’ for the council.
  • Encouraging Greater Innovation: SoftwareONE has helped the council boost innovation. As a ‘low code’ platform, employees can use and easily experiment with Microsoft 365 to digitize their own processes or create new workflows, encouraging non-expert developers to think innovatively.
  • Support during COVID-19: The transformation helped the council adapt during COVID-19. It rapidly mobilized a team to administrate the Government Grant Scheme on Microsoft 365. Through simple features like multi-authoring, it has been able to quickly process claims and pay out £29.8 million in grants to local businesses.
  • Becoming Data-Driven: Using Forms, Automate, and Power BI from the Microsoft Power Platform, the Council now has access to real-world data to drive decision making and identify trends. Power Platform dashboards enable a deeper dive into data points like sickness reporting; a high number of back problems among staff would indicate more training is needed in manual handling and lifting to reduce absences.
  • Better Accessibility: Using tools like the translation function in Microsoft Teams, council employees can now communicate with local residents in the language of their choice

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