Crafting a Modern, Regulated Licence Application Process with Marine Scotland

NOTE: this case study is for Salesforce only and is not intended to be customer-facing.

Marine Scotland engaged Bluewave to create and maintain a centralised platform for handling all aspects of the organisation’s licensing and reporting process. The conversation about building this modern licence application process started in March 2020 and the initial project was live by August 2020, with an ongoing relationship established to further enhance the organisation’s systems over time.
Read about how we conducted this digital transformation below.

About Marine Scotland

Marine Scotland is a civil service directorate within the Scottish Government that leads the protection of Scotland’s coastal waters and seas. The organisation’s goal is to build sustainable economic growth from Scotland’s marine assets, while protecting the country’s valuable marine ecosystems. While many of its activities are focused solely on marine issues, Marine Scotland also continues to play an important role in the research and management of freshwater fisheries.

With 700 passionate, skilled individuals working across marine science, planning, policy development, and compliance monitoring – as well as an annual budget of £64m, Marine Scotland governs and licences any engagement that can affect their mandate. One of Marine’s services is the licence management for coastal projects (any engagement on/near coastal areas that can affect shoreline).  Any private sector customer must apply for a licence to complete a body of work on the shoreline which is reviewed and approved by Marine Scotland.

The Challenge

Initially, Marine Scotland’s environment was disjoined; applications, licences, contacts, and records were all being accessed separately by different members of the team, without a single source of truth to pull from. Rather than a dashboard that would automatically update, employees were mainly utilising spreadsheets to record information.  There was no automation in place to generate documents during the licensing process and send alerts out to users with documents attached when certain events or changes occurred.
Marine Scotland was in need of a centralised, easy to use environment that would make all applications, licences, businesses, contacts and application records accessible via a browser or mobile device. The licensing process needed to be streamlined, with any disparate data sources consolidated into one easy-to-use platform. This, as well as the ability to automatically generate and send out important licensing documents, would allow managers and analysts within the organisation to view high-level activity information and report against licensing goals.

The Solution

Marine Scotland engaged Bluewave to carry out a digital transformation across their regulated licensing environment with a goal of continued partnership to develop their systems further over time.
The key objectives of the initial engagement were:

  • Build a modern, cloud based, end to end application lifecycle management process for licence tracking in the organisation
  • Replicate the existing application process and approvals needed
  • Provide the ability to interact and track all activities with applicants
  • Provide automated document generation functionality for applications
  • Replace the existing legacy systems
  • Provide skills transfer to internal staff allowing for self management of changing document outputs as necessary
  • Plan for the future, with later phases to include a full online application portal.

This would require Service Cloud CRM: Salesforce’s account and contact management tool – a platform specifically designed for user service and support. Service Cloud enables users to automate service processes, streamline workflows and find key assets, making case management and reporting much easier and more efficient. The platform’s built-in automation tools and installed packages could be used to capture and automate the licensing process for different types of licensable activities.

Bluewave also suggested the use of Salesforce enhanced functionality, along with reports and dashboards to offer complete visibility over current and past licensing activity, as well as document generation tooling by S-Docs.
Standard platform functionality – such as reusable email templates, flow based automations triggering record updates and notifications/emails were proposed in order to keep users up-to-date with their licensing application journey, along with ensuring internal Marine Scotland staff were notified efficiently and proactively by Salesforce, bringing them to a visual and user friendly Salesforce interface.

The Process

Bluewave’s experts built the bespoke application on Salesforce Service Cloud, with the core functionality focused around case management, complemented by a number of custom objects that capture other related activities and information. A number of manual processes that required external data were consolidated into this solution, such as applying conditions or generating a case handling report, simplifying the workflow.

Marine Scotland’s custom solution captures application records mainly using Service Cloud’s standard functionality, but it can also capture specific data in the scoping or screening stage, depending on the type of application. Each application is progressed through a number of stages during its lifecycle, then at the end of the process, a licence document can be issued. Custom business validation ensures that all required information is captured, while user actions are only shown when records meet certain criteria, helping to maintain data quality and maintain a positive user experience.
S-Docs performs the function of generating documents based on predefined templates, using field merge. Those documents are added as attachments to the Salesforce record (either as .pdf or .docx) files upon being generated. Some S-Docs templates also have email settings enabled, allowing the document to be automatically sent via email to predefined recipients once generated. Additional functionality was also deployed to provide real-time data with a summary style functionality between Sites and Site Geolocations.
Bluewave’s skilled developers created a fully customised Service Cloud display which was intuitively designed, efficient to navigate, and easy to understand. This met the needs of Marine Scotland’s users, meaning there was minimal training time required, as users could hit the ground running with the platform.

The Bluewave Way™

At Bluewave, we take immense pride in our consultative approach. Our consultants take the time to understand our client’s organisation and develop a relationship with any team members they’ll be working alongside for the duration of the project. From the initial conversation, through to the launch of the platform, and onto phase two – which included maintenance and improvement – our adherence to The Bluewave Way™ ensured Marine Scotland got the most out of every engagement.
“This was a very straightforward and collaborative project. Marine Scotland were great to work with, particularly because they had a dedicated team that worked with our team to get to the successful end result. Communication between us and them was very strong throughout, which resulted in efficient problem solving and the development of a valuable relationship which continues to be strong to this day. 
What we’re doing now is simply enhancing the existing platform – making necessary changes as the organisation shifts and develops, introducing more automation where possible, and including more licence types in order to make the overall solution even better.” – Senior Project Manager at Bluewave

“Bluewave was the perfect partner for us. Their expert trainers helped to build our Salesforce knowledge and experience, their skilled developers created a bespoke system designed to meet our needs, and their consultants provided us with valuable support. The friendly and efficient service delivered by Bluewave alongside their willingness to understand our business and process needs really assisted in producing our bespoke consenting and licensing management tool. We continue to work with Bluewave to implement further phases of development and appreciate having a dedicated team available to support us on this journey.” – Senior Management at Marine Scotland

The Results

By August 2020, our experts had crafted a simple-to-use yet effective CRM solution that unifies processes across Marine Scotland’s Licensing Operations team and is scalable across multiple devices. There is now a fluid and intuitive process for handling applications, with information captured at various stages, in a single location. This includes documents generated during the process, as well as payments required.
Marine Scotland’s internal team now has a unified view of their licensing workflow, via custom reports, dashboards and enhanced views. Licence documents are now generated automatically at the click of a button on the application record page. Additionally, users are notified proactively when important changes occur or important milestones are reached in relation to an application. Generated documents are also attached to emails and sent to users automatically when data meets certain criteria.

“In early 2020, Marine Scotland contracted Softcat, who sub-contracted Bluewave, to develop a replacement licensing casework management system as the then existing system was not fit for purpose and was soon to become unsupported. Over the next 12-months, Bluewave’s IT experts worked with a small number of staff in Marine Scotland’s Licensing Operations Team and successfully developed a replacement system that has helped streamline the process of application management and has allowed staff to monitor progress. 
Marine Scotland recognise Bluewave’s expertise and have found their staff to be both professional and pragmatic. We look forward to continuing to work with Bluewave’s experts as they help us to deliver further improvements.” – Business and Operational Delivery Section Leader at Marine Scotland
Through the combined efforts of everyone involved, Marine Scotland’s Licence Application Process portal is now live as of August 2020, and our consultants continue to work in partnership with Marine Scotland to further develop and modernise their licensing and reporting processes.
If your organisation is in need of a Licence Application Process, or a similar digital transformation, please get in touch with a member of our dedicated team today. Our consultants are fully equipped to develop bespoke solutions designed to meet the needs of your users and internal teams.