"Customer first is at the forefront": Noosa's CEO, Brett de Chastel
Noosa Shire Council has saved millions in in-house IT costs and established itself as an up-and-coming technology hub by investing in a cloud-based enterprise software solution. CEO Brett de Chastel discusses how a customer-centric approach has been key to delivering his digital transformation ambitions, changing the way his council operates.
Can you describe the current landscape within Noosa Shire Council?
We are becoming more entrenched in the digital age and the ability to interact and do business anytime, anywhere is becoming more commonplace. For local government, this has heightened community expectations and we’re now seeing residents and ratepayers wanting more for less; expecting faster and better services at lower costs than ever before.
Within council, ‘customer first’ is at the forefront of everything we do, so we are constantly having to adapt and evolve to keep pace with the changing digital landscape and high expectations that follow. This means utilising the latest technology to deliver better community outcomes.
How are you driving digital transformation within Noosa Shire Council?
As CEO, you quickly realise that you need a single source of truth instead of 20 different localised solutions trying to work together. That’s why we have gone through significant digital transformation in recent years, implementing a fully integrated enterprise Software as a Service solution on the cloud, which has provided a single platform to conduct our business. This transformation has been a key enabler in terms of improving our operations and delivering better, more efficient services to our community.
The integration factor alone has seen us remove a huge amount of complexity, responsibility and cost that comes with managing our own IT infrastructure, because TechnologyOne (our IT partner) has complete accountability for this. This means we can focus on strategic initiatives that will deliver greater benefit to the community. As an example, we’ve just built a $3 million digital hub in Peregian Beach to house digital entrepreneurs in our region, as part of a broader digital strategy to drive diversification of our economy.
Looking further ahead, what are your key priorities for the future?
A lot of people move to Noosa for the fantastic lifestyle, but our economy is very dependent on tourism. While we are in a tourism boom at the moment, we are aiming to manage the risk of a tourism downturn by investing in technology to diversify our economy and support business and employment growth. Digitising the way in which our community interacts with Council will also be a key focus, as we look to deliver faster, better and more efficient services online.
What would you say to other councils considering digital transformation?
I’ve been in local government for over 30 years and if I’ve learnt one thing, it’s that local government is all about relationships. When heading down a path of digital transformation the story is no different, so having a trusted technology partner that you can have a good working relationship with over a long period of time is key. That’s one of the reasons why we chose TechnologyOne. They listen to our needs and understand what we are trying to achieve here at Noosa.
Final words of advice for executives?
I would just say go for it. Working in local government is the only job I know where I can drive home at the end of the day and see where I have made a difference to the community I live in. That is an awesome feeling.
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