Theta worked with Downer, a leading provider of integrated services across assets, infrastructure and facilities in Australia and New Zealand, to develop a new facilities maintenance solution with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service. This solution won the Business Applications category at the 2018 Microsoft New Zealand Partner Awards.

Says Digital Business Transition Manager Paul Burgoyne:

“The transparency of whole work order life cycle is the key differentiator with this solution. It allows us to be proactive, identify where issues might lie, see and share performance metrics, and meet our service level agreements.”

From first implementation to wider adoption

Downer’s customers in New Zealand include local authorities, utilities companies and government departments. Our field services solution was designed to meet mandated service levels for this kind of contract and was first implemented in the Western Bay of Plenty to schedule and assign both pre-planned and reactive maintenance work across the region. Further implementations are planned, and Burgoyne reports a bright future:

“Downer has won at least five new contracts as a result of being able to demonstrate Dynamics 365 Field Services. It’s closely aligned with what our customers are looking for.”

Modernising job management with a single end-to-end solution

Downer’s existing systems were a combination of legacy technology with planning and scheduling done on complex spreadsheets. The organisation needed a new system that could meet the increasingly stringent, metric based service level agreements imposed by local authorities.

Says Digital Business Transition Manager Paul Burgoyne:    

“We looked at a lot of different solutions, and quickly found that most focus on one or two areas of the work process. Job management is more than just scheduling. Similarly, a mobile app wouldn’t solve all of our problems. What impressed us about the Microsoft solution was that it looked much more end-to-end than other offerings. And when we saw it had been implemented successfully by a similar vertical in Melbourne, we were convinced we should give it a go.”

Downer worked closely with Theta and Microsoft to develop the job management solution for Western Bay of Plenty District Council, using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service, on the foundation of Dynamics CRM for Sales.

The solution – much of which was ready to go out of the box with Field Service – covers the whole work order and job management process. Cases are created in field service, jobs are matched to workers based on skills, availability, location and previous jobs, and booked. Workers are messaged with the jobs, and receive all the information they need – including compliance checklists, work orders, schedules and locations – direct to their mobile device. Back at HQ, the schedule board is displayed on large display monitors, so it’s easy to see where everyone is and who’s doing what.

Collaborating to exceed expectations

Burgoyne says the project has been able to deliver success with strong collaborative practices:

“Most people have been particularly surprised at speed of delivery - just 3.5 weeks from “unboxing” to go live. The Bay of Plenty was a great place to kick off this work. It’s a small and coherent region, with an engaged team happy to work in an agile and collaborative way with my team, Theta and Microsoft. This has helped us to work fast and smart.”

He adds:

“We focused on simplifying processes down to core activity, and made sure we were resourced so that we could change things after go-live. We didn’t try to dictate everything in advance, and because we could be agile it worked very well. Open engagement is part of that – so everyone involved feels like part of the team and able to contribute honest and relevant feedback that we can feed in to ongoing development."

The features of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Field Service are another factor in the success of this solution, according to Burgoyne:

"It feels like we are only just scratching the surface of what’s possible with this product. We wanted to invest in a platform that was scalable, and I think we’ve done that. There’s a real market opportunity for field services. It’s great to see Microsoft recognising that too, with the Fast Track team working with customers like us to develop the product.”

The value of working smarter, with increased transparency

With elevated client requirements, the cost of not implementing a system like this is high. Burgoyne says:

“Increasingly local authority clients are under pressure to demonstrate value for money. They are looking to organisations like Downer to help them meet these requirements. The value we provide is backed up by performance metrics. And with our new customer portal everything is transparent and visible. We’re already finding that it’s easier to identify and resolve problems, and to have frank and honest conversations with our clients, backed by data.”

This level of transparency makes Downer more competitive and delivers ongoing, added value. Says Burgoyne:

“With increased transparency, we can take a journey with our clients, where everyone’s learning and improving together.”  

Award winning solution

This solution won the Business Application Award at the 2018 Microsoft NZ Partner Awards.

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