WaterNSW was formed in 2014 as a result of the merger of multiple, separate NSW government water agencies. These organisations had disparate information management systems and processes which needed to be amalgamated to reduce duplication, replace software that was not ‘fit-for-purpose’, and update end-of-life software and hardware.
Focused Business Solutions (FBS) was engaged in March 2018 to reset the delivery of the CIMS project. WaterNSW and its partners had started the program in 2017 and while some progress had been made, by February 2018 it was clear changes needed to be made to the management of the program. FBS successfully delivered the program delivering immediate operational benefits from day one and a continuous improvement roadmap for future capability.
FBS completed 4 key steps to develop the ICT strategy that were critical to the overall success of the program and the agency's ability to achieve a continuous improvement goal.
Convince the Executive Steering Committee of the need for an ICT Strategic Plan.
An ICT strategy needed to be created as WaterNSW did not have one. This was required to guide decisions in the delivery of this complex project. The strategy took into consideration all aspects of the organisation and the implications of any changes to the organisation as a whole.
The FBS Program Director convinced the Executive Steering Committee of the need for an ICT strategic plan to guide the delivery of the ERP by navigating multiple steering committees and project boards. The technical details had stalled the project and stakeholders were reluctant to sign anything off they did not understand. The ability to clearly explain the current state of the project and technicalities and have insightful discussions allowed the executives to engage in more meaningful decision making, enabling them to assess risks and benefits so we could move forward.
FBS needed to produce a ICT strategic plan for the current “To-Be” position based on an extensive architectural re-engineering of the solution taking into consideration the “As Is” state from which the program had come. The revised strategic plan informed the Business Case recommending the continuation of the program based on a revised schedule, budget and ICT strategic framework.
In conjunction with the business case, FBS developed strategic and tactical plans for:
1. A state-wide organisational Change program
2. Governance, Assurance and Risk management
3. Testing and Acceptance
4. Budgeting and Forecasting
These changes were approved by the WaterNSW Program Review Board and Executive Steering Committee.
'As Is' Architectural Assessment of Critical ERP Touch Points
The overall CIMS solution was complex from a business and technical perspective. Critical to the success of the CIMS project was the integrity of the system architecture. Prior to FBS being engaged, architectural documentation didn’t exist and integration ‘touch-points’ were poorly understood.
The project needed the solution clearly understood, documented, communicated and most importantly accepted as an ICT strategic baseline. To do this, FBS deployed one of its senior architects to assess and document the present situation, identifying strengths and weaknesses in the architectural model using standard TOGAF principles and practices. This was supplemented by a detailed review of processes and procedures using the Holo-centric BMS suite.
The review found major flaws in the inherited approach and via a number of strategic workshops a suitable and achievable strategy was documented that established the necessary momentum to drive the program forward.
Strategic artefacts were created, processes could now be mapped against a published and approved architecture framework. A suite of 160 work instructions were generated as a result of this (with one or more processes embedded in them). The work instructions reflected policies, regulations and best practice. These artefacts were shared with key program stakeholders and the broader ICT community.
A big picture view was created for executive consumption, which for the first time, gave stakeholders a vision of the program, the future and increased confidence in the FBS senior leadership team.
FBS continued to provide enterprise architect oversight, liaising with the project team, vendors and the business stakeholders to ensure confidence was maintained in the strategic model.
Organisational Change including Business and Technology Readiness
Critical to the successful delivery of the ERP solution was the development and execution of a comprehensive organisational change program (OCP). Essential elements of the OCP were the Communication Plan, Learning and Development, Business Readiness and Technology Readiness.
The Communication Program included a suite of communication processes and artefacts to inform the business, from executive to field service, on critical program events, milestones, achievements and outcomes. This included; regular updates to the board and executive steering committee, regular briefings to all line managers, staff announcements via intranet and monthly newsletters, town hall meetings with all internal and external stakeholders and project teams, as well as a state-wide roadshow to update regional operations centres on progress and the impact of change in practice, process and procedure as a result of the deployment of the ERP.
A Learning and Development program was created that provided a comprehensive suite of training artefacts (including simulations, presentations, learning guides, and training outcome assessments). It was delivered as a face-to-face training program, touching 450+ employees over 25 roles in 35 courses in 17 locations across NSW in a 2-3 week period.
The Business Readiness Program and impact assessment was delivered in an Awareness, Understanding, Capability and Support (AUCS) Framework. Please see page 17 for further details.
The Technology Readiness Program consisted of a number of key activities including; working with WaterNSW ICT representatives to endorse and agree on the IT readiness assessment for the delivery of Microsoft Azure based cloud services, systems integration, security and the data network. This included the publication of an ICT enterprise architecture guideline that included the Microsoft product roadmap.
Together, we produced a collection of System Operating Manual (SOM) documents detailing all operational aspects of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations system (System) and resident workloads.
The ServiceNow support processes had to be redefined for the Service Desk to include cloud based support processes and work on the support capabilities to sustain these processes. In conjunction we developed and implemented ITIL Service Management Procedures to include the Incident>Problem>Change processes.
With the project running well with delivery of key business requirements for an initial release of the system, FBS was able to devote resources to develop a roadmap and implementation plan for continuous improvement.
FBS worked with WaterNSW ICT to develop a year-on-year perpetual platform support model consistent with the expected product life cycle. This was based on a framework of 24x7 ITIL based support services and policy-based security management that leveraged the Microsoft Azure availability zones for disaster recovery.
FBS then focused on the development and implementation of a ‘crawl-walk-run’ philosophy that enabled WaterNSW to master the basics, extend capabilities and eventually maximise their capabilities.
The next phase was to develop an indicative improvement program and strategic release plan that covered a 5 year life span and included initiatives such as Customer Relationship Management, Field Force Mobility and Business Analytics.
The successful delivery of an integrated ERP solution (CIMS) program combined with a ICT Strategic roadmap provided WaterNSW with the ability to realise its corporate strategy of ‘best practice’, continuous improvement, the ability to cope with anticipated growth and a ‘better way of working’.
WaterNSW wanted a consolidated information management system (CIMS) that would provide them with a streamlined solution that:
Met the authority’s expectations to deliver a ‘better way of working’ for its workforce
Provided reliable, timely data to inform decision-making
Provided 850 employees with a system that enabled them to dispense improved customer service
Allowed the organisation to manage and deliver reliable, safe water supplies across the State; and
Provided a platform that allowed the organisation to continue to grow and innovate.
It was a complex project to deliver for numerous reasons. Microsoft Dynamics 365 was a leading edge, cloud-based solution which was significantly different to the historic legacy systems deployed at WaterNSW. Please see page 17 for a full listing of their technology stack. The client needed to adopt a new way of working, the impact on the whole of the organisation was significant as everyone was affected in one way or another and the workforce was dispersed across numerous state-wide locations. Vendor management posed its own unique set of challenges because there were multiple vendors delivering multiple system touch-points. There were no reference sites or shared experiences to call upon because, to our knowledge, this was the largest and most complex deployment of MSD365 in Australia at that time.
FBS needed to undertake upgrades to ensure WaterNSW’s systems were contemporary so the organisation was in a good position for the project to re-commence.
FBS was required to deal with the perpetual upgrade cycle of not only the base Microsoft product but the additional capabilities such as the Dynaway Enterprise Asset Management product throughout the project. This created challenges in environment management, given the number (12 in total) of environments that FBS needed to control across all work-streams including; testing, training, data migration and development.
To exacerbate an already challenging assignment WaterNSW did not have an overarching ICT strategy, no hand-over was provided to FBS by the previous project team and very little information on solution or enterprise architecture, organisational change and project financials were available.