Wiltshire Council is utilising Microsoft virtual assistants to handle repetitive checks on payroll, allowing staff to learn new skills in a more efficient system.
The council is using virtual assistants (VAs) in a new move to ensure it is paying schools and staff correctly. The Microsoft technology will be used to powerful effect, managing repetitive jobs in the Department of Human Resources. The VAs help will free up personnel to tackle more vital tasks that impact Wiltshire residents directly.
VAs are already checking through over 43 payrolls per month, covering not only council staff but academies and schools in the area. Before payments can be issued all payroll checks must be fully completed to make certain the exact sum of money goes to the correct organisation or individual.
In comparison to a personnel member who takes 10 minutes to perform payroll checks, a VA can complete the task in a single minute. Unlike when handled by human operators, these checks can now be carried out at any hour of the night or day. Crucially, regardless of the VA’s greater efficiency no positions of employment will be sacrificed during the Microsoft technology rollout. Council heads will instead offer training to staff allowing them to enhance their digital skills and continue to automate increasingly mundane tasks.
Minister for IT and digitalisation, Ian Blair-Pilling, commented:
"This is a really exciting time and we have taken a huge step forward on our digital transformation journey. Leveraging technology is a key part of our strategy and will shape how we deliver our services in the future, in the most cost-effective and efficient way for Wiltshire residents. We are an innovative council, and we plan to capitalise on further technological advancements to deliver our business plan. Our staff have been enthusiastic in embracing these opportunities and are excited about the changes it will bring to the way they deliver services."
Steps towards modernisation
The council in Wiltshire will set VAs working on 10 more process within the following months with more planned for the future. The move is another big step for Wiltshire in its ambition to be recognised as one of the UK’s most state-of-the-art councils. Last year the council launched its One Microsoft Cloud Navigator Plan that will enable it to provide enhanced security in online services for residents of the borough. It will also allow such services to be fully accessed at times to suit users and staff to be contacted through official channels using social media.
Wiltshire Council is also exploring how artificial intelligence can offer assistance to the 470,000 residents of diverse cultures, helping out with standard inquiries in several different languages. Council staff will be able to utilise Microsoft Dynamics to find further insight into the data created by the brand-new system to help it make faster and more effective decisions.
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