Snow and Strategy with the Councils in Thredbo, NSW
by John Filippis Strategic Engagement Manager, Quorum
It is dark, its icy wet and I am all alone in the middle of nowhere on a mountain road. I am however very focused on the drive, the throttle and boost is on, the RevoKnuckle and Quaiffe diff are biting hard. I wrestle against the physics of my machine as I go from apex to apex. I am having a fair amount of fun despite my isolation on this treacherous slippery and altitude rich mountain pass. I have a new companion greet me like an old friend, in the form of a red snowflake warning light (note to self..ice on road) . To add to the fun its -3 degrees outside as shown on my car’s dashboard.
In the last 5 kms I had just sparred a fox and a very bouncy large red kangaroo (along with my car) from being the latest roadkill statistic to grace the side of this stretch of road. There are indeed quite a few furry roadside “statistics” that I counted (12 to be exact) in my rapid ascent to the peak of this much loved mountain. It was one of those memorable drives that you could tell your grandkids about.
Where am I and what am I doing here you may ask ?
Well, I decided on taking my trusty car on a midnight run up to the snowy mountains of Thredbo NSW, to present at the NSW local council’s quarterly meeting. The councils come together every quarter to share ideas and strategy on how they can better co operate and take advantage of each others knowledge on many aspects of council operations.
After safely arriving on the Thursday night (no fur in my car’s grill thankfully) I had the chance over a nice dinner, to meet the men and women who run our local councils from an IT perspective. It was great to hear their stories on how they are moving through the unchartered chicanes that are the amalgamation proceedings for the councils. Some councils are well underway with their plans, some are involved in legal proceedings and others are not amalgamating at all. It was interesting to hear how each and every one of those cases affects the IT platforms that all underpin how their councils will run on a day to day basis.
What was clear from my conversations was that all of the IT teams in each of councils were very dedicated and working very hard on making their new situations work as quickly as possible. Many of the IT teams had received tight deadlines in making the amalgamations live. Not an easy task, considering the various levels of complexity in bringing two or more entities together.
Friday was the main show day, as we had some great presentations on the agenda from Local Government Procurement, Marrickville Council, GHD, Thomas Dureya and Nutanix. Quorum was representing Microsoft at the event in showcasing how it can help councils through amalgamation with our Connected Council package. This Microsoft centric solution was created in conjunction with our strategic partners of Antares and Modality Systems.
This Connected Council package will allow the councils to be able to quickly Connect, Collaborate, Communicate and Change through their amalgamations. Each of these four “C’s” will be required to lubricate the gears required to merge councils together as they build momentum towards final amalgamation. Being able to freely connect, collaborate and communicate across the council amalgamation cluster will be vitally important. This Connected Council package is all cloud delivered through Microsoft Office 365 and its subsequent toolsets, primarily SharePoint Online, OneDrive and Skype for Business. It is essentially a pre packaged ready to use solution that can deliver rapid access to people and information within the council ecosystem.
In addition to the Microsoft technology stack of the Connected Council package a thorough program of Change Management will be required to help drive the changes that will inevitably take place. This Change framework is crucial in mergers such as these, as both people and business process will need adaptation to the newly formed unified operation.
With the official agenda over by Friday afternoon, we had the opportunity to tour the snow making facilities at Thredbo, which provides one with a great lesson in snow engineering. That snow engineering consists of countless ( I think 250 ?) snow guns , 28 km of piping, 12, 000 hp, zero to 1m snow coverage on the whole mountain in 5 days, blowing the surrounding area’s power supply on first start-up. Yes snow making for the ski folk every year is a serious business up here in Thredbo. It is the biggest snow making facility in the southern hemisphere according to Peter, our tour guide who has been making Thredbo snow up here for 25 years. After Peter’s tour I wont ever look at another snow crystal the same way again!
Overall we had a great time at this event, meeting the great people who toil tirelessly at the councils to make them tick from an IT perspective and we are definitely looking forward to supporting them move through their amalgamations and beyond.