As part of their ongoing commitment to providing readily available services and facilities for their residents, Penrith City Council offers a wide range of neighbourhood centres, community centres and halls together with recreational facilities including multiple sporting fields, two swimming complexes, 45 tennis courts and the St Clair Leisure Centre precinct. These facilities are frequently hired by members of the community for meetings, group activities, cultural gatherings and celebrations.
When Penrith City Council learned that their existing on-premise venue and event management software was coming to the end of its life, a system that had been in place since 2003, critical decisions for the future had to be made for the Penrith City Council Event Management Software. Neighbourhood Facilities Officer at Penrith City Council, David Fowler, explains, “The initial news about Events Perfect coming to end of life came as a shock to us as we were not looking to make any changes, however, it provided us with an opportunity to look at what other systems were available and consider what would be the best option for us moving forward.”
According to David, the two major concerns for the council when they were considering new systems were downtime and data. “Time was a primary factor for us and we wanted to be sure that whatever option we chose would not cause any disruptions for our team while the new system was being implemented” says David, “Another thing we were concerned about were the risks associated with moving data over to a new system. In the end, it was decided that the best option was Priava, they understood how we worked. In addition, they provided a clear plan for how they could migrate our existing data over to the new system which gave us peace of mind knowing that there wouldn’t be any issues.”
Neighbourhood Facilities Officer
Penrith City Council
A cloud-based system built by people who know the industry.
Following a successful migration of their existing data and two training sessions, Penrith City Council went live with Priava Software in June 2015. David comments, “It was all done relatively quickly and painlessly. Everyone responded well to the training sessions. The system is so intuitive and the whole process didn’t take long.” He continues, “One day we were using our old system and the next day we were with Priava.”
One of the primary benefits for Penrith Council of Priava Software and the reason that it is so easy-to-use, is that it was built based on the experience that had been gained by providing venue and event management solutions to a wide range of clients across the globe for more than 15 years. This meant that the developers could draw on a wealth of client feedback along with tried and tested processes. One of the biggest improvements was the move from an on-premise solution, to a system based in the cloud. This made the new system much more scalable and futureproof – perfect for a thriving council.
Priava was one of the first cloud-based solutions to be implemented at the council. Following its successful implementation, the council has adopted a number of other cloud-based systems to support various parts of their operations. David explains, “It was a learning curve for us because the organisation hadn’t had much experienced with a cloud-based system before. In the time since implementing Priava however we have seen most of our systems move to the cloud in a really short space of time.” He continues, “Priava was a bit of a testing ground for the cloud.”
Reduced dependence on in-house IT Support and no need for on-site servers
One of the key differences of true cloud-based, multi-tenant systems versus on-premise solutions, is that all users have access to the same version of the system because all updates are installed remotely by the software developers. For Penrith City Council, this benefit alone has had a huge impact on their operation, because it has significantly reduced their dependence on their internal IT resources. David explains, “IT doesn’t really need to know what Priava is anymore because all updates are installed remotely and all of our support requests are addressed by Priava’s support team.”
On top of the time savings Penrith City Council has experienced, they have also significantly reduced their IT infrastructure costs as they no longer need a server to store all of their data. By eliminating the need for a server, they have considerably reduced their dependence on internal IT support that would have previously been invested in maintaining their server and administering system updates. These savings can then be reinvested into other areas of their organisation which will in turn result in a better experience for the Penrith community.
Ability to multi-task
With more than 45,000 venue bookings per year, efficiency is the key to enabling the staff at Penrith City Council to manage their venue bookings effectively. One of the primary features of Priava is the ability to multi-task. Users can work across multiple tabs and can add, edit and delete information from various contact and organisation records, opportunities and event bookings and produce reports at the same time. David elaborates, “You can open multiple tabs and work on multiple things simultaneously. For example, you can run reports, while processing payments in other parts of the system. This means that you can maximise your efficiency and create your own production line of tasks, which is a huge benefit for our staff.”
Advanced reporting capabilities
David believes that one of the most impressive parts of the system is the reporting feature. Priava’s core system includes a suite of more than 35 report templates that can be tailored by system administrators to determine what information is displayed on reports and how it appears. He explains, “Reporting is definitely more sophisticated than it was in our old system. From what I have experienced, there’s a huge scope of information that we can get out of Priava. We have really benefited from working with the Priava support team to understand what each of the reports are and how we can use them to access key information.”
Advanced Bulk Edit streamlines the process of managing repeat and reoccurring bookings
The Bulk Edit feature is perhaps the single most important piece of functionality for the team at Penrith City Council. Due to the sheer volume of repeat and reoccurring events and venue bookings that they manage, this feature provides significant time savings as it allows them to make changes to multiple event records simultaneously. Bulk Edit was in its early stages of development at the time that Penrith City Council began using Priava, however, during the time they have been using the system there have been multiple updates to this feature including the introduction of “Advanced Bulk Edit” and all of these updates have been included free of charge as part of their subscription to the Events and Bookings module.
David explains, “Using Bulk Edit you can pick and choose which event details and charges you would like to update so you can make changes in isolation or completely change the details of a group of events that you have selected.” He continues, “Another benefit is that you can now edit the contact that is associated with multiple events which you couldn’t do in our old system, but all of this is achieved quickly and easily using Priava’s Bulk Edit feature.”
Easy-to-use system reduces time invested in training new staff
For large-scale organisations like Penrith City Council, it is important to minimise the time and resources required to induct new staff members as this can have a significant impact on productivity levels. Implementing technologies that are intuitive and easy-to-use means less training for new staff and in turn, this minimises the impact or any downtime experienced by the organisation when a new staff member joins the team. David explains that Priava requires little training for new users. “When new staff come on board, you really only need to show them through the basics of the system once.” He continues, “This has translated into time savings for our organisation. People find it easy to pick up and use which means I can spend less time training new staff and reinvest that time back into other areas.”
One system can serve multiple venues across various departments simultaneously
Increase efficiency by capturing enquiries online
Penrith City Council has recently implemented Online Calendar & Enquiries to assist them in capturing enquiries for their neighbourhood facilities. This allows visitors to their website to check availability online before submitting a venue hire enquiry. All enquiries submitted via the online form are populated into Priava ready for the team to pick up straight away which has further streamlined the booking process. With the introduction of Online Bookings which enables customers to pay online at the time of making their booking, David and the team are keen to explore the increased efficiency and service this module can add.
Plans to integrate in future
Penrith City Council is always looking for ways to improve productivity, and looks forward to working with Priava on future integration with some of their corporate systems.
The benefits that Penrith City Council has achieved through the use of the Priava cloud-based venue management software solution so far include:
- Reduced dependence on internal IT resources;
- Eliminate the need for an onsite server and reduce IT infrastructure costs;
- Users can multi-task across and work across multiple tabs simultaneously which improves efficiency;
- Advanced reporting capabilities provide in-depth analysis into business performance;
- Manage and update repeat and reoccurring bookings with ease;
- Intuitive system is easy for new staff to pick up and use;
- One system serves multiple departments across the organisation;
- Increased efficiency and reduced administration by capturing enquiries online;
- Potential to integrate with other corporate systems.
Final comment from David
Get in touch if you’d like to learn more about how you can introduce live availability and instant bookings at your venue using Priava.