Case Study: City of Sydney

A city wide community research panel for feedback and consultation.

Establishing a

community research panel.

In December 2018, the City of Sydney’s Community & Stakeholder Engagement Team sent out an open tender for a platform that offered the provision of services to develop, host and analyze surveys and to establish and manage a community research panel.

This was requested to help support a forthcoming review of the city’s community strategic plan for Sydney 2050. The community was set to be contacted from 2019 onward to help understand and direct the future priorities and key issues for the 2050 period.

In searching for a provider, the city outlined their existing challenges, and stipulated the following set of requirements:

Existing Challenges

  • Difficulty with tool management: The team had used a range of tools such as Survey Monkey and a bespoke data program. This led to a significant delay in acquiring insights that would then have to be manually adjusted in Excel.
  • Reporting issues: Reporting could not be conducted until the campaign was complete, resulting in a significant delay and lack of oversight. When delivered, the results could not be filtered or segmented to get better insights about the data. Their teams also lacked the ability to filter by geographic area or location, which created significant effort to internally resolve.
  • Poor UX: The existing solution was unintuitive to use, maintain, or adjust. Results were hard to validate and required the extensive use of third party consultants that drove up costs.
  • Language: The platform had to support multiple languages which simply was not possible on the previous solution.

Set of Requirements

  • A need for survey development and hosting –  including excellent mobile capability and UX over a multi-year period.
  • The ability to establish and maintain a research panel database over multiple years.
  • The ability to provide survey data analysis over a multi-year period. This included a capacity for fast-turnaround data analysis and reporting by May of 2019.
  • Live reporting throughout consultation program including access to data dashboards for the city’s decision makers.

The ultimate goal of the project was to ensure the creation of a survey panel that was truly representative of modern Sydney – these included residents, business owners, workers, ratepayers and more.

The ntropy Solution

After an in-depth evaluation process, ntropy was chosen for the following reasons:

A Unified Solution

Issues around working with multiple tools made it essential that all elements of the new solution could ‘talk’ to each other. ntropy could do this by providing one unified platform rather than a range of incompatible tools that carried the risk of data pollution and the introduction of human error.

Real-Time Responsiveness

The platform needed to allow teams to see responses and feedback as they were submitted – ideally through an easy-to-view dashboard for all members of staff. This was accompanied by a need to make the system manageable through a web interface to remove any roadblocks to access.

High Accessibility

Given the diverse nature of the area, the system needed to be accessed by respondents that had access to a range of devices or preferred methods of engagement. This included SMS, email, mobile web, desktop, and the use of a dedicated mobile app. It was also essential that it could be easily accessed by residents with disabilities.

Strong Security

The platform had to be fully compliant with the Australia Privacy Act 1998. For ntropy, this meant following internal best practice and ensuring that no data was stored or transferred overseas – leading us to commit to deploying the platform onshore in a Microsoft Azure datacenter.

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