A team was established early in the transformation to focus on optimising Inland Revenue’s technology landscape, and ensure a stable, simplified and up-to-date landscape was in place when the transformation come to an end. In some cases, this entailed introducing solutions which would be fit for use for years to come, in other cases migrating existing technologies to more sustainable locations.
The programme comprised multiple projects, all working toward the same goal. Project managers were appointed to each separate project, who all reported into 1 programme manager. Much of the work was detailed planning and vendor/supplier management. As the team was operating in a very busy landscape, often with time constraints, it was necessary to have a detailed view of the tasks to be undertaken by vendors and suppliers and ensuring that any dependencies were clear. The programme team (all project managers, co-ordinator, testing, security, communications and change leads) met weekly to ensure there was visibility of all activity at a project level. This was also an opportunity to identify synergies or potential conflicts.
A few of the projects completed include:
- Corporate telephony replacement- replacement of desk phones, phones in meeting rooms and audio/video conferencing capability with Microsoft Teams.
- Upgrading IR’s Wi-Fi capability.
- Print services replacement - introduction of a Cloud-based print solution.
- Security and network uplifts, as well as identity and access management technology replacement.
- Migration of IR’s contact centre technology to another data centre.
How we approached change
Many of the changes were implemented behind the scenes, with minimal disruption to the business or Inland Revenue customers.
Knowledge of systems infrastructure and security requirements was critical and project managers worked hand-in-hand with technology specialists to plan and deliver outcomes, ensuring other systems and applications were not affected.
In other cases, where technology replacement affected all IR people, a staggered approach was taken to minimise disruption. A soft launch or pilot approach was taken which entailed implementing the technology/solution at 1 office, refining the approach, then deploying to the remaining Inland Revenue offices. This facilitated speedy implementation once the tried and tested approach had been defined.
It’s important to maintain visibility of other change taking place in the organisation at the same time. Due to change fatigue and multiple changes taking place at the same time, the effects of relatively minor changes can be easily underestimated.
Leaders play an important role in leading change so encourage leaders to guide people through the change. Build strong working relationships with leader and network groups to ensure people understand upcoming changes.
Collaborating for success
Working with business stakeholders to identify dependencies and systems connections was very important. With many of the key project stakeholders being from different business segments/departments, having 1 collaboration platform (e.g. Microsoft Teams), where all team members could collaborate and converse proved very useful. Regular connect sessions and continuous engagement was key to the successful delivery of these projects. Some projects were delivered as part of the transformation, while others were happening as part of a regular business process. This made it very important to keep connecting on these initiatives to prevent duplication of effort or causing confusion.
All project documentation was held centrally in a project specific repository, in this case Microsoft Teams. This ensured all project team members had access to the latest copies of documents, specifications etc. It was also important that the document filing system was simple and easy to navigate.
Engagement, communication and information sharing
Stakeholder engagement was tracked and documented formally. Messaging was simple and only delivered by designated project or business representatives, to ensure it remained consistent.
With many acronyms being used across technology projects, a key learning was that technical terms and language had to be clearly defined to ensure everyone had a common understanding of what they meant. In many cases, a glossary of terms was created.
Not everyone reads information in one place, so we shared our messaging across multiple channels so people were aware of the change, no matter how small.