Stevenage Borough Council Case Study
Stevenage Borough Council (SBC) is one of ten districts in the county of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom. A medium size town with around 85,000 residents, Stevenage is located approximately 30 miles north of London and 30 miles west of Cambridge.
The Council provides a wide range of services to local residents and businesses, such as: Waste and Recycling collections; Street Cleaning and environmental maintenance; Planning; Housing; Environmental Health; Council Tax collection; Business Rates collection
The Stevenage Borough Council website is the main online gateway for residents and businesses to interact with the council.
Stevenage Borough Council was faced with the daunting challenge of deciding how to introduce a platform into their portal landscape with the ability of aggregating their online services. In the longer term, the council wished to provide its customers with access to an account online, which will facilitate self-service via its website www.stevenage.gov.uk
The aim being for customers to be able to access any information the Council holds in relation to them via the online account, including transaction history, personal details, and balance and payment information. This information, currently held in a variety of heterogeneous business applications, needed to be bridged together and served to an online space in a unified, consistent manner. A feasibility study was to be jointly conducted by both Stevenage Borough Council and Emeldi Group which outlined all the strengths and weakness of the existing website. Based on the outcome of the feasibility study, a proof of concept was designed to integrate a fully operational portal into SBC’s existing network architecture with the goal of determining the correct set of technological standards to be used to serve Stevenage Borough Council’s online presence to its customers.
The council’s in-place CRM (a running instance of MS Dynamics) is considered the authoritative data source in relation to customer information and any interactions that have taken place. The ultimate goal of the proof of concept was to create a ‘single customer view’ within their CRM.
As a key success criteria, the Council required customer information (part of the online account held within the CRM) to be propagated to and from the portal. The Council’s team and Emeldi Group’s analysts drew up a list of technical and functional requirements and graded them in accordance with how essential they were to the development of the council website.
The project was driven by Emeldi Group focusing on the following objectives:
- A value proposition that focused on simplicity and convenience to increase customer convenience and thus loyalty.
- Excellent accessibility to meet the needs of all users and standards.
- To give customers a platform to register to the Council website securely, manage their accounts, and view their services.
A range of portal options were evaluated by Emeldi Group to host the site and following a pre-study, Liferay emerged as the most suitable technology due to the following factors:
- State-of-the-art in front-end layer and rich on features.
- Easy integration with J2EE, group development standard.
- Optimal fit into landscape and total cost of ownership.
The Proof of Concept (PoC) was delivered by Emeldi Group using agile development methodologies and ultimately demonstrated the technical feasibility of integrating SBC’s CRM and downstream application to the portal via a centralised integration layer. The results of the PoC allowed SBC to conclude that adopting Liferay portal as its portal standard was the correct strategy in moving forward with its online vision, and a continuing cooperation with Emeldi Group in realising their online vision was established.
Business Value Added
The primary goal of identifying the portal technical standard for SBC’s online landscape was achieved in a matter of a few short weeks with very little investment on Stevenage’s part. With a tried-and-tested platform technology established and technical integration with their existing CRM created, SBC was now able to continue with the forward motion of the implementation of its online strategy of providing a more fluid, consistent online experience to its constituents. With Emeldi Group as its new strategic partner and experts in the online portal domain, SBC’s future vision is now becoming a reality.
The Emeldi Group is a leading provider of e-commerce solutions to the telecommunications, financial and utilities sectors. Emeldi’s mission is to help its enterprise customers achieve excellence in digital business and e-commerce through deployment of modern and flexible integrated solutions. Emeldi Commerce® is empowering companies to increase sales and create outstanding customer shopping experiences across multiple digital sales channels. Founded in 1998, Emeldi Group has offices in London, Toronto, Prague and Bratislava.
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