McHenry County, Illinois is the sixth most populated county in that state, with 308,000 residents in more than 30
communities. Approximately 1,200 employees and 24 policy making board members serve the population through 27 offices and departments.
McHenry County is a complex organization, with large and small departments, from Planning and Development to the Sheriff’s Department. The County had been running Performance Series since the mid-90’s, which had become outdated and was causing problems across the board, from inadequate reporting to forced manual processes to issues with financials, purchasing, and budgeting due to the use of disparate, disconnected systems.
In addition, the system was unable to keep up with the demands of the citizens. “The residents we serve…who are ultimately our employers…have a lot more experience with technology now and there’s an expectation that their government is going to keep pace,” said Peter Austin, County Administrator.
Working with the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), the County searched for a new solution and provider. From 13 applicants, they chose Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations in the Cloud and HSO’s DynamicsAdvantage for Government, implemented by HSO. The decision was based on five winning criteria:
1. Anywhere, anytime access
With the COVID-19 pandemic, this criteria went very quickly to the top of the list of priorities for all businesses. Mobile apps by Microsoft provided the County employees options to approve invoices and requisitions from anywhere. HSO was also able to quickly create an integration to outsource check writing and allow workers to stay safe and work efficiently.
With limited resources and funding, the cloud was the perfect choice. Microsoft and HSO could handle the technology, freeing up time for the County to create efficiencies within the business, while gaining advantages like mobility and disaster recovery.
Reporting was also critical. With Dynamics, the County gained the ability to easily access real-time information in an uncluttered, simple dashboard interface, completely configurable to users based on tasks and access level. Enhanced reporting features enable information to be communicated to board members and the public for complete transparency and encouraging input and feedback. HSO also used Power BI that exports data from Dynamics and creates Budget & Revenue reports that can be viewed by the public.
4. Security and compliance
The Azure Cloud is more secure than we, as a county, could ever be,” said Tom Sullivan, IT Director. With people, resources, and certifications like FedRAMP, HIPAA, and CGIS, the county feels confident that the sensitive information they handle is being protected.
5. Expert partnership and ownership
All departments are now using Dynamics. “What set Microsoft apart from the others is they own their solution in the end,” said Sullivan. To deliver the system, they wanted a partner with product expertise and familiarity with county governments.
“The HSO folks have been spot on. They’ve brought to light a lot of best practices and recommendations and really are helping guide us toward a finished product. I think all of the county departments have their job to do, their role to fulfill,” said Austin. “The Department of Transportation takes care of the roads, the Sheriff’s Department is in charge of law enforcement…and they want to focus on that job or that role. They don’t want to spend a lot of time doing tasks like budgeting and financial reporting. So, if we can make that easier for them, it helps them focus on what they’re really trying to accomplish.”
Watch this short video to learn why McHenry County chose Microsoft Dynamics 365 for their move to the Cloud and HSO as their partner.