Before implementing Flowingly, the rates team at Upper Hutt City Council were using paper and email for almost every process in their department. This led to visibility issues and approval delays for customers and staff.
Customer emails were being lost in shared inboxes and threads while paperwork was physically being shuffled around the office. When NZ’s first lockdown hit, they had less than 24 hours to transition to a digital, WFH model of finding a way to automate tasks and approvals remotely.
Within the rates team, everyone loves and uses Flowingly daily to manage their customer-facing processes. While previously they had to gather all these pieces of paper or disparate emails from everywhere and try and do the approvals all at once, now they can just log into Flowingly and complete all the tasks.
With three flows being used every day by everybody in the rates team, they are looking at opportunities for expansion. Upper Hutt’s Animal Control team has begun to deploy workflows with plans to expand Flowingly business-wide and utilise inter-departmental flows.
How a council was able to shift their processes to paperless and enhance their customer and employee experiences in the middle of a pandemic without developers.
In this customer story, we explore how Flowingly was used to:
- Reduce emails getting lost in inboxes and threads
- Improve and expedite the management approval process
- Map and automate customer-facing rates processes
- Give complete auditability over who completed tasks and when
Upper Hutt City Council (UHCC) is a New Zealand local government organisation, representing over 40,000 citizens living in the Upper Hutt region.
We spoke to Kristen Scoble, Senior Rates Officer for UHCC, who was happy to share how Flowingly enabled the rates team to improve their own processes and shift to a paperless model.
Prior to New Zealand’s first lockdown, the rates team at UHCC used paper and email for almost every process in their department. When lockdown hit, the team needed to move fast. With less than 24 hours to transition to a work-from-home model, finding a way to process and approve without paper became imperative.
Starting with email, the team quickly realised that emails were either getting lost in the shared rates box, stuck sitting in the approvals box, or were being accidentally missed. With over 100 emails coming through to the rates team on any given day, it was easy to miss an email here and there. Not only was this not sustainable long-term, it wasn’t giving their ratepayers a great customer experience.
This was especially obvious for the rates refund process.
When someone would email in wanting to have some of their money refunded to them, the request would need to be approved before moving to accounts payable. Before Flowingly, that meant about six or seven pieces of paper. These papers would move around the office, shifting from the desk of a rates officer, to the team leader’s desk, to two floors up to the accounts payable desk. Every refund. Every process. Every day.
So, they got in touch with Flowingly.
“So normally when I have Flowingly, that’s my happy time…”
Kristen Scoble, Senior Rates Officer for Upper Hutt City Council
The rates team at UHCC identified a few different solutions that could help solve their process problems but they had a few key requirements in a solution which were:
- They needed full visibility over who completes tasks and when tasks are completed
- The tool wouldn’t require additional resource or specialised employees (i.e., developers)
- It was simple to use as an employee, with even employees who are brand new being able to see, understand and complete every step in a process
While the Flowingly solution was initially supposed to assist the business as a process mapping tool, Kristen saw immense opportunity in the workflow capability.
“I came in very late and I had a look at it and I could quickly see that it was going to be easy to use and that it would solve a lot of our problems.”
Kristen came in on Flowingly discussions at around the fourth meeting. With minimal training, she jumped in and had a play, creating her very first flow in two to three hours. She started by setting up a super basic workflow, before going in and customising their forms.
The ease of use and ability to create transformational change within the organisation rapidly were hugely impactful for Kristen. Changing the way the team manages processes to improve compliance, productivity and reporting has become a major part of her job (that she actually loves to do).
“So normally when I have Flowingly, that’s my happy time because I get to have a little bit of time…and it just gives me a little bit of a break from my day.”
Within the rates team, everyone loves and uses Flowingly. With the implementation being particularly helpful for the Rates Team Leader because it means that things can be approved faster and more efficiently than ever.
While previously she had to gather all these pieces of paper or disparate emails from everywhere and try and do them all at one time, now she can just log into Flowingly and complete all her tasks.
No more trying to remember what she had to approve or writing a list of things to do. All the approvals in one place.
For new employees, they are able to look through and see every step in a process. If at any point a new employee wonders “what do we do next” or “I don’t know who approves this” they can view the flow model or click the little video link to see what they need to do to get through the steps.
With three flows being used every day by everybody in the rates team, Kristen is always looking for new workflow opportunities or ideas to improve their current processes.
Since we spoke, Kristen has begun to deploy workflows for the Animal Control team. With plans to expand Flowingly business-wide and utilise inter-departmental flows, the only way is up for UHCC.
How Upper Hutt City Council are transforming their processes from paper to digital, one afternoon at a time
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