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Using a Benefits-driven Approach to Business Transformation Partnering pays Dividends for Brisbane City Council

Executive Summary

Brisbane City Council (Council), the largest local government body in Australia, entered into a partnership with SAP, who provided the software, and Accenture who provide the implementation support, to deliver its Business and Systems Efficiency (BaSE) program. The BaSE program was a business transformation program that sought to drive a simpler, more efficient business within Council to deliver value for money for Brisbane ratepayers. It successfully transformed the business functions of Finance, HR/Payroll, Procurement and Assets and Works Management, consolidating up to 62 different current Council ICT systems into a single integrated software package.

As a business focused, technology-enabled change initiative, the Program delivered better business outcomes while lowering delivery cost, and streamlined operations through improved staff productivity and efficiency. The organisation will be strengthened by the growth of its capability, effective processes and measurable improvements in the management of assets.  

The BaSE Program was not only Benefits driven but was, in fact, Benefits funded, with its $350M, 10-year cost covered by the $450M of documented Benefits.

Council chose Amplify by Connexion Systems, following a competitive Tender for the provision of a Benefits Realisation Tool for the BaSE Program. 

Background

The Council selected SAP software as the platform for the systems consolidation, and tendered for a systems integrator to provide the implementation support for the BaSE program.  As rollouts of this magnitude are quite often associated with substantial cost and schedule overruns, as well as business disruptions, Council chose to select a systems integrator that would work with them on a collaborative basis.  

The contract was constructed on a risk and reward basis, aligned to the delivery of business benefits. Council worked with their chosen partner (Accenture) to develop the final Business Case for the BaSE Program, which included identifying and defining the expected Benefits. A number of Contract Performance Measures were also defined, based on “lead indicators” that Council could measure in the period following implementation, and that would point to whether business Benefits were on track to be realised. These measures helped to ensure a focus on realisation of Benefits not just an on-target delivery of the system.

The BaSE Business Case was signed off and implementation commenced in July 2012, with releases delivered in 2013 and 2014. Benefits measurement and tracking commenced immediately following the first release and continues beyond the demobilisation of the Program team. The BaSE Program is currently still on track to achieve the full value of its defined benefits.

Benefits Driven Approach

Building on the work done in the creation of the Business Case, Council set up a Benefits Realisation Team consisting of Council and Accenture resources, that would be responsible for the review and monitoring of benefits during design and delivery, and the embedding of ongoing benefits monitoring into Business as Usual (BAU). The following figure summarises this approach:

This approach involved the Benefit Realisation Team taking a proactive role in the Program to:

  • Review all individual Benefits and Measures from the Business Case and any emergent benefits that became evident during design;
  • Confirm achievability and measurability, including responsibility for measurement;
  • Require Benefit Owners to sign-off once again that they take responsibility for the delivery of the benefits, in the light of their improved understanding of the solution that was being delivered;
  • Include Benefits Realisation Team representation on key governance bodies:
    • Solution Design Authority,
    • Variation Management Group;
  • Include Benefits Realisation Team review of key documentation items to assess benefits impact:
    • Business Process Definitions,
    • Functional Specifications,
    • SAP Reports, Integrations, Configurations, Enhancements, Forms and Workflows (RICEFWs), which were kept to a minimum with a “vanilla, vanilla, vanilla” mantra, and only approved if they provided business value,
    • Variations/changes,
    • Decisions,
    • Risks; and
  • Ensure a Benefits Realisation Team representative was in attendance at Post Go Live Support reviews to provide benefits insight and assist with business prioritisation of incidents/defects.

Benefits Management System

BCC and the Systems Integrator required a system to progressively track the realisation of benefits as Program milestones were reached and further into BAU. Following a competitive tender for a benefits realisation system, Connexion Systems’ Amplify product was selected as the system of record.

It provides a single source of truth for all benefits information, including benefit profiles, measures, baselines and actual measurements. It’s clear layout and graphics enhanced the understanding and visibility of benefits among senior business management. Greg Evans, BaSE Program Sponsor, commented that “Amplify will be great for the Benefit Owners to keep a track of things, and keep the Benefits visible”.

As monitoring and reporting progress, Amplify continues to be used to generate the quarterly reports that are tabled at the Project Control Group (PCG), giving an up to date picture of the realisation of benefits following each release and after the completion of the Program. 

Matt Williams, Managing Director, Connexion Systems praised the innovative approach used by Council, “The early wins for the BaSE Program provide initial validation that a benefits-driven approach to the business transformation partnering was the right choice by Council”.

About Brisbane City Council

Brisbane is the largest local government in Australia in both population and budget.  Unlike Local Government Authorities in the other mainland state capitals (Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide), which are generally responsible only for the central business districts and inner neighbourhoods of those cities, Brisbane City Council (Council) administers a geographical area of over 1338.1km2. As such, it has a larger population than any other local government area in Australia. The Council was the first Australian Local Government Authority to reach a population of more than one million, with a budget of $2.9 billion for the 2014/15 financial year.

Amplify

Through the use of innovative technology, Amplify provides a framework for all stakeholders to collaborate in the achievement of improved project investment outcomes. 

This collaborative approach enables the alignment of strategic business goals set by senior management with the responsibilities of the project delivery team, thereby creating a shared benefits driven vision.

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