Case study:

Shire of Dandaragan WA

Our collaboration with the CouncilFirst team has future-proofed our operations and has provided us with a holistic view of operations that we haven’t had before.
— Scott Clayton, Executive Manager Corporate & Community Services

Council profile

Situated in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia approximately 200 kilometres north of Perth and covering an area of 6,716 square kilometres, the Shire of Dandaragan comprises of four townships; Jurien Bay, Cervantes, Badgingarra and Dandaragan.

The Shire of Dandaragan lies within Nyungar country and is acknowledged as the traditional home of the Yued people.

The Shire has a unique blend of agricultural and coastal environments and is the pinnacle of the Turquoise Coast. Jurien Bay and Cervantes offer pristine beaches ideal for swimming, snorkelling, diving, fishing and windsurfing, while the towns of Badgingarra and Dandaragan offer beautiful national parks with native flora and fauna, bush walks, unique Australian wildflowers, and farming land.

The challenge

The Shire of Dandaragan Council has future-proofed its corporate business systems by moving operations to a Software-as-a-Service model—delivering cost savings, reliability, and security.

With the assistance of local-government cloud specialists CouncilFirst and utilising the power of the Microsoft cloud platform, the Shire is seeing improved systems, greater cost-effectiveness, and is able to orient itself towards the requirements of the future with a modern workplace.

Decisions required

The Shire of Dandaragan Council had identified that its aging server infrastructure was showing signs of imminent failure, a situation with the potential to negatively impact the Shire’s provision of services to its customers. A decision and prompt action were required: should the Council commit to keeping its business systems on premises and replace the servers, or initiate a migration to the cloud?

Council-specific requirements

The Council needed to find a solution that would enable it to deliver better services to internal staff and external customers, meet the challenges of future requirements, and do so while keeping costs under control. Most importantly it needed to find a trusted partner that understood the unique operational requirements of councils across a broad range of council-critical functions including Payroll, Finance, Procurement, Information Management, Community Engagement, Property & Rating, and Regulatory Compliance.

 “The Council places a very high priority on responsiveness both to customer requirements but also to changes in our business environment and our regulatory environment,” said Executive Manager Corporate & Community Services Scott Clayton. “As opportunities arise, we need to be adaptable. Our workplace and digital tools need to adapt with us and enable better teamwork, productivity, and security, but always in a responsible manner that demonstrates due diligence to our ratepayers.”

We feel very fortunate to already have a strong relationship with a partner who knows the Microsoft cloud platform and knows WA local government.
— Scott Clayton, Executive Manager Corporate & Community Services

 “Rather than fixing problems that we know we have, at a more fundamental level we realised we needed a solution that would grow with us, one that could respond to requirements that we don’t yet know we will have,” said Clayton. “We are impressed with the power of Microsoft’s Modern Workplace model and we’ve already seen the collaboration and communications benefits of tools such as Microsoft Teams. That’s why we feel very fortunate to already have a strong relationship with a partner who knows the Microsoft cloud platform and knows WA local government.”


CouncilFirst is the local-government division of consulting organisation and Microsoft Gold Partner and Tier One Microsoft Cloud Solutions Provider Open Systems Technology. CouncilFirst provides best-of-breed technology, cloud-based business solutions, and strategic advice to a range of local government organisations across Australia and is a trusted advisor to the Shire of Dandaragan on business and technology strategy. CouncilFirst is a panellist and preferred supplier to the Western Australia Local Government Association (WALGA) and was able to quickly demonstrate an understanding of the Council’s issues. Migration to the cloud was the clear choice to meet the Council’s requirements, and the CouncilFirst began working with the Council to formulate a forward-looking plan to enable cloud-first digitisation of the Council’s processes.

The Council’s move to the cloud from on-premises infrastructure was a carefully managed process involving multiple stakeholders and business units. CouncilFirst’s local government experience made the difference and was key to the provision of a cloud solution that enabled the Council’s digital transformation—at a price that demonstrated fiscal responsibility.

Our relationship with the Shire of Dandaragan Council is evidence of the power of consultative partnerships built over years. The CouncilFirst team looks forward to partnering with the Shire in its ongoing digital journey.
— Glenn Nanda, CouncilFirst GM

“The subscription-based Software as a Service model provided by CouncilFirst allows for a consistent annual cost without the budget shock of future major version upgrades,” said Clayton, “as well as transitioning away from major server hardware capital costs being replaced by a predictable operational subscription model.”

Importantly the CouncilFirst team was able to provide a solution based on the Microsoft cloud platform that the Shire and its customers could trust. CouncilFirst’s foundational components of Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Dynamics 365 have undergone IRAP assessments and are certified by the Australian Cyber Security Centre. The IRAP assessments found that CouncilFirst’s underlying technology foundation is based on sound security principles, and certified CouncilFirst’s core technology components with the highest cyber security rating currently available to cloud providers.

“Security is vital for us and customers, and we are reassured that with CouncilFirst our data remains entirely within Australia at Microsoft’s Australian datacentres, even though our services are in the cloud,” said Clayton. “Most importantly, in CouncilFirst we know we have a solution that will grow with us and provide a modern workplace environment for years to come.”

Into the future

As a result of the power and flexibility of CouncilFirst’s cloud solution and its appropriateness for use in local government, CouncilFirst remains a trusted business and technology advisor to the Shire of Dandaragan Council and assists the Council’s management team on a regular basis.

“We believe that our clients want to commit to a long-term relationship with a trusted partner, not just buy a product,” said CouncilFirst GM Glenn Nanda. “Our relationship with the Shire of Dandaragan Council is evidence of the power of consultative partnerships built over years. The CouncilFirst team looks forward to partnering with the Shire in its ongoing digital journey.”

CouncilFirst’s proficiency and local government expertise have been invaluable and will likely see the Council move other business functions to cloud solutions.
— Scott Clayton, Executive Manager Corporate & Community Services