The municipality has been able to reallocate that time to higher vale tasks like analytic and customer service
Staff are being innovative and looking at the best use of the product
The municipality has been able to digitize and automate vendor relations, ensuring that all suppliers are paid online and on time
Unit4’s people focus enables easier upgrades. Intuitive self-service functionality costs far less for user retraining or system changes
The one-of-a-kind Resort Municipality of Whistler, host of the 2010 Winter Olympics and a beautiful tourism destination, serves 10,000 residents and over 2 million visitors every year, making its municipal services delivery a complex feat. “You don’t see a lot of towns with a population of 10,000 with such an advanced technological infrastructure, with extensive fiber optics,” says Heather Paul, Director of Corporate Services and IT. Located 75 miles north of Vancouver, Whistler has long been a destination for ski enthusiasts and nature lovers who appreciate the diversity of entertainment, cultural and natural amenities available in the more than 59,000 acres of the municipality and its many parks and lakes. And with an average of over 30 feet of snowfall each year, it’s not hard to see why Whistler is such a winter sport destination. The Resort Municipality of Whistler is a dedicated steward of the natural beauty of the Coast Mountains, and strives for leadership and engagement in making Whistler a successful, prosperous community, as well as one of the world’s premier mountain destination resorts.
In 2005, Whistler became a Unit4 Business World customer because they were looking for the kind of flexibility for scalable growth and easy, user-side workflow modifications that Unit4 offers. Ten years later when they found they needed a refresh, Ken Roggeman, Director of Finance, says, “Our faith in Unit4 convinced us to be first in North America to implement Milestone 5.”
With the increasing expectations of a digitally connected world, Whistler realized that relying on manual processes, such as building program budgets on several disparate Excel workbooks saved on staff desktops, was slowing down productivity as a result of repetitive, error-prone tasks.
Although the resort municipality was a decade-long happy Unit4 customer, they had fallen 5 versions behind on their upgrades. In order to avoid the digital downgrade, which encroaches on even the most forward-thinking organizations, Whistler underwent a Unit4 Health Check to evaluate their back-office systems utilization. As a modern, progressive municipality already blazing a path as the first resort municipality in North America, the city made the decision to be proactive rather than reactive.
Employee and community expectations are always rising even as local governments face limited budgets. Moving to the more agile People Platform on Unit4 Business World’s Milestone 5 provided the opportunity to improve efficiency and effectiveness without adding new resources to keep up.
While planning Whistler’s upgrade, Unit4 staff conducted a Health Check to assess usage of the previous version. “The Health Check was a tremendous benefit to us. We realized we were doing things to accommodate the software, when instead the software can accommodate us,” says Heather Paul.
Unit4’s people focus enables easier upgrades. Intuitive self-service functionality costs far less for user retraining or system changes. In fact, according to IDC research, The Financial Impact of ERP Architecture on the Annual Cost of Business Change, Unit4 customers’ cost of change is 55% less than those of other ERP systems. With 170 users on the system, Paul says it’s intuitive enough that staff super users can easily train their colleagues to speed up adoption. As the implementation was completed on time and under budget, additional features and training are pending and will make Whistler a true Business World champion.
“Before Milestone 5, our staff struggled to stay on top of work they didn’t have time for; now we have been able to reallocate resources to other tasks, such as data analysis,” says Ken Roggeman, Whistler’s Director of Finance. Streamlined user experience and functionality also enable improved financial visibility and the ability to easily pull reports in minutes as opposed to days of data collection and manual analysis. Now, with the complete financial visibility provided by Business World, elected officials and taxpayers can see exactly what’s going on.
Paul cites the new user interface as a positive sign of things to come. Whistler’s next exciting milestone will be exploring the expense management module and the mobile capabilities of Business World to squeeze even more out of the digital revolution so staff are more successful and their community is well served.