Sentient Dynamics Introduces BERT for Local Ground Services

Credit: dream time

Microsoft partner Sentient Dynamics has designed and built a business evidence and reporting (BERT) tool for the NSW government agency, Local Land Services (LLS).

The tool helps guide staff through the planning and reporting process, aligning with national and regional agency strategies.

The first version of BERT was built for the agency’s North West region, which assists farmers and landowners in several areas such as weed and invasive species control and monitoring of traveling livestock reserves. .

LLS operates in 11 regions across NSW, which means it has 11 different strategic plans which feed into a statewide strategic plan. The agency has more than 1,000 employees in 110 cities.

According to Strategy and Performance by LLS Business Partner Emily Kearns, the agency used several disparate systems to manage reporting and business planning. This resulted in inconsistent and unreliable data, and took a long time to collect.

“There are a lot of moving parts in our framework, achieving central oversight and being able to see how we are delivering our strategic plans has always been difficult,” she explains.

“If we were ever audited or had to deliver something to the Treasury, there were a lot of spreadsheets, there was a lot of paper and there were a lot of files that we had to go through to find out what we were delivering and how. we could prove it.

BERT is part of Microsoft Teams and uses Microsoft Dataverse and Microsoft Power Apps to capture business plans.

It also uses Microsoft Power Automate for workflow automation and notifications, and Microsoft Power BI to visualize data, generate reports, and enable data-driven decisions.

“One of the reasons we originally designed the solution in Dataverse and Teams, and used as many Microsoft tools as possible, is that LLS already had an existing investment in Microsoft. [technology] and knew these tools. So we were able to commit and develop a solution quite quickly,” said James Diekman, principal consultant at Sentient Dynamics.

Sentient Dynamics built the solution in three months and implemented it for the agency’s North West regional division in July 2021. An upgraded version of BERT is coming to all regions, providing improved scalability and more integrations with other apps and systems the agency uses.

Dale Kirby, LLS team leader for agriculture, estimates that BERT has saved about 45 days per year collecting data and about 10 days per month generating reports.

“It alleviates all the multiple reporting channels that we gather data for,” he says. “We could have one annual report per calendar year, then another annual report per fiscal year, and that would change the data. So we would go back to collecting data based on spreadsheets and then slicing that data to provide accurate reports for each of those different cadences.

“BERT also gives us what is effectively a lightweight CRM to track how we interact with customers, as it is a key status metric for us. It gives us a lot more visibility into where we are getting inquiries, which we can then report on and rearrange our strategic priorities accordingly.”

Kearns added that he would like regions using BERT to initially introduce their business plans and begin reporting on statewide metrics, then see future modules integrated from other platforms such as that risks and finances on track.

“We haven’t really seen what BERT can do statewide across the entire organization,” Kearns says. “This is where we will get real value in driving organizational improvement – ​​realizing cost savings and efficiencies in how we achieve the results of our strategies.”

LLS also previously engaged Sentient Dynamics to create a solution that allows farmers and advisors to report damage caused by their mice during the recent outbreak across NSW.

The mouse reporting solution is not connected to BERT, but shares a similar user interface and takes a simple approach using a Microsoft form that stores data in a SharePoint backend connected to a Power BI dashboard.

It also used Power Automate to take form responses and save them to a SharePoint list and can be connected to the Power BI dashboard.

Since going live in July 2021, the mouse reporting solution has had nearly 200 entries, and LLS was also responding to requests to use the system in other teams to manage other issues such as mouse invasions. locusts.

“The form itself saves about the same amount of time, and the main benefit is that data entry is open to anyone, allowing for an integrated approach to pest management,” Kirby said.

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Gregory M. Roy