Limerick City & County Council Challenges
In the intricate landscape of this digital strategy, Limerick City and County Council encountered multifaceted challenges. With a network spanning over 350 CCTV cameras, they faced operational intricacies, financial oversight hurdles, incident tracking complexities, and the need for seamless stock management. To address these pain points and drive enhanced efficiency, Limerick City and County Council collaborated with BDO.
This case study unveils how BDO's expertise offered a tailored solution, leveraging Microsoft Power Platform to reimagine asset management.
Limerick City & County Council chosen solution
On foot of a competitive tendering process, BDO was appointed as an implementation partner to support Limerick City & County Council.
The project included developing a production-ready Microsoft Power Platform (PowerApps) based asset, incident, maintenance & financial management system for the operational management of over 350 CCTV cameras and related assets that are owned and managed. Furthermore, BDO was requested to further create PowerApps for the pilot migration of two Microsoft Access databases to Microsoft’s Power Platform.
The Council sought to design and build an uncomplicated solution and BDO was the most suitable option, covering all their current concerns.
Limerick City and County Council currently own and maintain a network of over 350 community CCTV cameras located throughout the city and county. With a large camera ecosystem, that requires a large amount of operational and regulatory oversight. A centrally managed asset and operations workflow tool was required to ensure that the Council remains compliant and can respond to/ report on planned or unplanned events, in a responsible manner. The council further sought a solution with a simple functional design, aligned with Limerick branding.
BDO’s technical approach
- Microsoft Power Platform enables a ‘Triple Loop’ Vision. This is a closed-loop system that allows users to gain insights from data (Analyse) used to drive intelligent business processes via apps they build (Act) and processes they automate (Automate). The Microsoft Power Platform implements this vision via three cloud-based services: Power BI, PowerApps and Flow.
- PowerApps is a ‘low-code’ application development platform – it allows users to build web and mobile applications without writing code. The natural connection between Power BI and PowerApps makes it effortless to put insights in the hands of it users.
- Like Power BI, PowerApps connects to hundreds of business systems and databases, making it easy to connect users with the existing processes and data that make the business tick. All the data captured in PowerApps can make its way right back to those very systems for further analysis in Power BI creating a closed-loop process for continuous improvement.
- Additionally, PowerApps comes with a built-in, fully-managed, enterprise-grade datastore called the Common Data Service (Dataverse) for those applications that generate data not destined for a legacy system – and Power BI and Flow have deep connections to CDS making it that much easier to get even more value from data stored there.
- Extending the Power Platform via connectors to other Microsoft offerings allows our clients to leverage those investments and create productivity faster.
BDO and Limerick City & County Council, in agreement
In agreement, with Limerick City & County Council IS team, BDO chose to deploy a Model Driven App that aligned with user requirements, strategic outcomes of the project and the existing licencing model, to ensure cost containment. BDO engaged with the relevant internal and external stakeholders focussing on the building blocks of Model-Driven apps which included:
- Data: Define the data the app will be based upon.
- User Interface: Determine how users interact with the app.
- Logic: Determine what business processes, rules, and automation the app will have.
- Visualisation: Determine what type of data and reporting the app will show.
At the commencement of the project, the following functional requirements were aligned:
Maintain an Assets Database
Records Incidents/Raise Tickets
Track stock levels
- Complete an application for a new camera install
Phase 2 - Migration of Legacy Access Databases to Power Apps
Migrate two low-complexity Access databases and their user interfaces to Microsoft’s Power Platform. The primary goal of this migration is to recreate the user interface in the subsequent Power Apps.
Migrate Microsoft Access data to Microsoft Dataverse to be used by the new apps.
BDO and Limerick City & County Council, achieving objectives
Our overarching Design, Implementation and Test approach encompasses distinct phases.
We supported Limerick City & County Council Power App solution through a defined plan, project management and overall good governance, aligned with PMBOK standards and executed by PRINCE2 qualified personnel. Using our methodological approach we ensured the overall solution was grounded in business rationale, with clear business benefits and supporting realisation metrics.
Our approach is designed to enable Limerick City & County Council business operations and further achieve the stated strategic transformation objectives.
After thorough meetings and workshops with the key stakeholders, process owners and users to drill down into the specific requirements, we challenged the current ways of working and articulated a vision of what the future may look like.
BDO’s way through Power Apps Development
To establish core functionality, BDO defined a Data-Model built using Microsoft Dataverse. This is the data backbone that enables data to be stored in a scalable and secure environment dynamically. It takes advantage of the Common Data Model, a standard and extensible collection of schemas (entities, attributes, relationships) that represents business concepts and activities with well-defined semantics, to facilitate data interoperability. It is a way to organise data from many sources that are in different formats, into one standard structure.
Working with Limerick City & County Council Stakeholders BDO constructed a data model representing all the key data fields, values and attributes and their relational structures. This allowed for easier capturing, reporting, and scaling of data requirements.
BDO provided regular status updates during the lifecycle of the project. Completing various ‘Show and tell’ demonstrations with key stakeholders, we ensured the development cycle remained aligned with the core deliverables and outcomes required. BDO facilitated User Acceptance Testing before packaging and delivering the approved solution for Go-live within Limerick City & County Council Azure Environment. We also provided Train-the-trainer and solution documentation to the key personnel.
In Phase 2 of the project, BDO followed the same methodological structure ensuring stakeholders, key users and strategic outcomes were aligned. Two additional Model Driven Apps were developed in line with the specified requirements.
In this Phase, BDO’s preferred methodology was ETL:
This determined the current master and transaction data sets, identifying which data needs to be transitioned to the new solution and the appropriate methodology in which to do so. BDO worked with the key stakeholders to create the Data Migration Strategy and outline all of the source data repositories, the target data model, success criteria, roles and responsibilities.
BDO collated all the individual MS Access Databases into one master database and used the Access DB export to Dataverse functionality to create a mapping to the target solution. All in-scope data was transferred into the Model Driven App, tested, validated and available for production use.
BDO's experts explain
Looking back on the process, James Gaskin, BDO’s Director of Management Consulting & Head of Business Transformation commented:
"From the outset of our engagement, we established a trusted partnership model with key stakeholders determining their specific transformation and strategic requirements. We provided guidance, insight and approach for Power Apps ensuring the outcomes met with time, cost and functional requirements of the council."
Limerick City & County Council transformation
Alan Dooley Head of I.S. - Digital Strategy, Limerick City and County Council commented on the impact left by BDO’s thorough attention:
The BDO team worked with Limerick City & County Council in 2022/2023 to design and build several Microsoft Power Platform solutions to help with the digitalisation and modernisation of their new and existing processes. BDO’s team were attentive, detailed and a pleasure to work with.
Their application design and build process allowed for the quick and efficient gathering of requirements that resulted in a high-quality build phase.
BDO demonstrated a great ability to understand the nuances of Local Authority and had the patience to work with us in a collaborative manner. I would highly recommend partnering with BDO for your future process digitalisation and CRM needs.