In pursuit of continuous improvement. How local authorities can create service improvement through self-innovation with Arcus Built Environment solutions

Author: Robin Barber

Robin Barber
February 7, 2022

I think it is fair to say that most councils have got to a point where they have exhausted their ability to make any further significant steps forward in generating efficiencies and delivering service improvement with the legacy systems they have. They now need to do something more transformational to make the step-change required.

Arcus has disruptive technology, a breadth of experience working with local authorities and a fresh outlook compared with legacy suppliers. We appreciate that our radical approach to challenge the status quo, may not always be seen as a good thing initially, but local authorities, now more than ever, cannot continue to do things the way that they have always been done. We realise transformational change is not easy, and indeed, may feel a little uncomfortable, but when our clients see the real value it delivers, they start to realise the benefits of operating outside of their comfort zone.

Do you want to be held back on your day job due to inflexible and unintuitive supporting processes and systems? – Of course you don’t. Well grasp the nettle and make the change.

Our clients do some really cool and exciting things with our solutions, things which they may never have even considered when they looked to implement a new way of working.  During a project, the teams can get the system live, and start to introduce transformational change, but the magic really happens when our customers start to work with the system and create their own ‘wins’. Each one of our clients has done something which provides us with that ‘YES’ moment. 

Recently I’ve seen some amazing examples of what our users have achieved with us.  

What are these things though?  Well they can be simple – I was with a client, before lockdown, having a coffee and a chat with their Head of Service.  One of the planners stuck their head around the corner and said “Can I just ask you something….I’ve downloaded the Salesforce App onto my phone and set it up.  Can I check if this is the right way to upload my photos”.  This was a ‘YES’ moment. We had not implemented the App at the site, but it’s freely available on the App store and they had  downloaded it and now their officers were using speech-to-text on their devices for site notes and were using their mobile phones to view application details out on site. All with the peace of mind provided by the security of the Salesforce platform on which all Arcus applications are based, so can truly be used anytime/anywhere (Wi-Fi dependent).

Only last week, I was talking to another client and they said “can we show you something?”  They opened their screen share and the first screen was a dashboard. We weren’t even going to be looking at this, but they wanted to show me what they had been able to do and it was rather impressive!  The client casually explained that the dashboards were allowing them to identify pinch points in the validation process (for planning applications). They commented that they always knew that it was a problem area but could never show it.  Our customisable dashboard reporting had allowed them to pull the correct information together, to see in one place and then be able to act upon it. YES, brilliant!

It’s these sorts of changes that are having a massive impact for our clients.   This site has fully engaged with their new planning solution and has organically transformed and can continue to do so. I fully expect  that next time I talk to them they will show me something else they’ve now done .  This is why we love what we do. We introduce local authorities to the power and flexibility of our Arcus solutions and they can then look at how to ‘milk’ every single benefit from it, which can be unique to them.

Talking and engaging with our user base enables us to see the real benefits of our system in action, which is the exciting part for us.