Lightsout IT and software services for Birmingham City Council

At Birmingham CC Highways department, CORONA reduced running costs, dramatically improved efficiency and lowered risk. It also provided the flexibility to accommodate changing business needs.
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Birmingham City Council Highways Department

CORONA is so adaptable that it gives users the impression that it was built especially for them.


Birmingham City Council Highway DLO manages, repair and maintain 9,100 roads, 94,500 streetlights, 13,600 direction signs and 5,220km footpaths, and much more.

Business Challenge

Prior to working with Lightsout Computer Services, the Highway DLO was running on several legacy systems which had started to show signs of unreliability, which increased running costs.  In addition, automation gaps meant that up to 1,500 tasks a week were processed by hand.

When business requirements changed, the system was difficult to alter accordingly, and extracting information was time-consuming because it relied on database programming skills to generate reports. For example, gaining the information on the progress of a roadworks project could take up to two weeks.

Birmingham City Council came to Lightsout Computer Services looking for a replacement solution which could:

  • Accurately control expenditure
  • Increase overall efficiency and ease of management
  • Demonstrate performance by comparing costs and productivity with those of competitors
  • Analyse and increase customer service quality
  • Integrate with existing Birmingham City Council systems
  • Provide rapid information access and up-to-date reporting
  • Improve business processes and reduce the administrative burden
  • Optimise human resource


Lightsout Computer Services proposed a hosted CORONA software solution as the new integrated works management system.

When CORONA receives a request from another department, it divides the work into packages according to DLO work gang ability, tracks progress, and provides updates and management reports. When each work package is completed, CORONA records the materials used, calculates costs using an agreed schedule of rates, and invoices the client.

Additional system features included inventory and asset management, estimating, bonus calculation, budgeting and forecasting, integration with data capture devices and a helpdesk.

Lightsout also installed Cognos Powerplay and Impromptu to analyse CORONA data. This is particularly valuable when planning ahead or looking at overall trends such as the value of work carried out in a particular ward or constituency. The reports are generated in minutes.


In the beginning, CORONA was set up for 8–12 users. Now there are 50 users from throughout the department.

Employees often comment on how easy it is to use. Only one or two users need training before they can be left to transfer the new skills throughout their team without further management involvement.

CORONA has delivered:

  • Immediate information access which helps protect the council – for example, if somebody makes a road claim, a member of staff can quickly look up what was done, where and when
  • Increased PC and network speed
  • Immediate job tracking information
  • 3-D data in a data cube
  • The ability to download and analyse large quantities of data in limitless spreadsheets

As CORONA is hosted and managed at the Lightsout datacentre, it provides an incredibly reliable service, leaving the council’s IT staff to concentrate on their core objectives. If they have any queries, Lightsout system specialists are on hand so there is no helpdesk requirement.

Business Benefits

  • Reduced running costs – IT support, training and administration costs
  • Greater automation – dramatically reducing paperwork and manual intervention
  • Increased productivity
  • Flexibility to rapidly accommodate changing business needs
  • Lower business risk through rapid information access and reporting
  • Dramatically improved efficiency
  • Easy and rapid reporting – no longer reliant on the availability of internal programming expertise
  • Faster systems

CORONA is so adaptable that it gives users the impression that it was built especially for them.


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