Greater Shepperton City Council in Victoria has become the first local authority in the country to implement Microsoft Great Plains.
Hansen International won the Greater Shepperton tender, with Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) strategic accounts manager, Richard Duffy, claiming it beat off competition from “all the usual suspects” including Technology One and SAP.
“One of the reasons we worked with Hansen is that they do nothing other than local government,” Duffy said. “They provided product management and implementation resources while we offered some professional services.”
The Greater Shepperton package includes an MBS Business Portal that enables the council to provide human resource, financial, project accounting, distribution, field service and supply chain management information to staff at remote sites without having to expand bandwidth.
“We required a Web-based financial software solution capable of providing online, real time management information for users irrespective of work location,” business and finance director at Greater Shepperton City Council, Tom O’Reilly, said.
“The ability of the Great Plains package to provide integration or seamless automated interfacing to other software used by the council was a major determinant.”
Microsoft claims Great Plains is used by more than 1200 medium-sized organisations across Australia and New Zealand but the Greater Shepperton deal is its first move into the government arena.
Duffy said the council had taken a bold step in choosing Great Plains.
He hoped the deal would open the door to further local government business.
“Local government is very risk averse and nobody wants to go first,” Duffy said. “But the Greater Shepperton implementation has been successful and they are now receiving calls from other organisations.
“We expect more to break away from the tried and true local government solutions now that they can see the pioneers are not lying at the side of the road with arrows in their backs.
Greater Shepperton City Council’s manager of information systems, Rod Apostol, said the implementation had saved the council tens of thousands of dollars in bandwidth and that the word was already getting around.
“A lot of other councils are pricking up their ears,” he said. “The only reason local government hasn’t previously chosen Great Plains is because it doesn’t have a history in the sector. Now they’re interested because they are seeing what it can do.”