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The objective of the Intelligence-led workstream was to lay the foundation to transform Inland Revenue into a truly intelligence-led organisation. This meant using the right information at the right time to make the right decisions for our customers and for Inland Revenue. To do this we needed trusted information, knowledge, and intelligence.

Chevron showing data, information, knowledge, action, result

It was identified that being intelligence-led would help Inland Revenue to:

  • protect and increase the revenue we collect for the Crown
  • make it easier for customers to comply
  • be a more efficient organisation.

While the Intelligence-led workstream has ended, intelligence-led is a cultural anchor for Inland Revenue and we expect to see the organisation’s capabilities and application of information technology continue to grow.

Incremental transformation of the entire information ecosystem.

The Intelligence-led workstream comprised of several projects iteratively delivered from 2017 through to 2021, including:

  • Implementation of the Enterprise Content Management System (Stax).
  • Implementation of the advanced analytics platform, also known as the Data Intelligence Platform (DIP).
  • Creation of reports for each major release of the new tax administration system.
  • Replacement of IR’s knowledge base (an information resource for frontline staff).
  • Replacement of IR’s intranet.
  • Implementation of enterprise search.
  • Replacement of the summation evidence management system.
  • Implementation of guided help functionality for frontline staff and on the Inland Revenue website for customers.
  • Cleansing, archiving and retention of information and data from heritage platforms.

The transformation reaches beyond technology, to include new organisational capabilities, new ways of working, and new operating models. Investment in capability uplift for our people was included as part of the workstream. Nothing was left untouched.

Executive sponsorship key to complete transformation and new transformational approach

Getting the senior level mandate to scrap the old rule book and do things differently is key. A strong executive sponsor is essential. This is because the benefits are often incremental and not immediately visible, and the effort required to effect the change at an enterprise level is significant. The benefits are long term and transformational.

Connected ‘one team’ approach essential for effective and lasting transformation

Blended project teams delivered each of the changes. These were a combination of BT programme team members (bringing project resources, discipline and change expertise) and the enduring Inland Revenue business team (bringing subject-matter expertise and the eventual owners of the solutions). This ensured the solution was fit for purpose. It also resulted in increased capabilities through the project and a relatively seamless transition of knowledge and ownership at its close.

‘Start last, finish first’ – More time in preparation for a speedier delivery

The Intelligence-led workstream applied a 'start last, finish first' approach to ensure the bulk of the work was completed before migration started. This includes understanding how the new system works and the types of information and data it generates before any information/data migration begins.

Once this is well understood, the subject matter experts use the knowledge of the new system to appropriately cleanse the existing information and data ready for migration.

When this is complete, the cleansed information and data is put into the new system as part of the system’s next release. This ensures the new system has “clean” information and data right from the start.

Targeted change management and communications critical to embed intelligence-led culture

As well as introducing new technology solutions, the Intelligence-led workstream also needed to begin embedding ‘intelligence-led’ as an anchor of Inland Revenue’s culture. This required a targeted, inclusive and all-encompassing change and communication approach that would extend beyond the close of the workstream.

Investing in experienced change and communications resources was critical to ensure the changes were delivered and embedded effectively and efficiently. For the data project, this involved an external agency specialising in technology working alongside the business. For the information project, this involved a mix of internal Inland Revenue and contracted expertise.

Change activity was carefully planned and managed to ensure the timing and approach didn’t conflict with other organisational activity and to ensure team leaders and frontline teams weren’t overburdened. As appropriate, approaches were shared with workforce planning teams for feedback.

Intelligence-led projects were often competing with other high-priority activities for airtime. This meant it was important to think outside the box when developing the change and communication approaches. In addition to traditional communication channels, we developed games, quizzes and webinars to get key messages across.

People-led design for greater adoption

It was important to the success of the Intelligence-led projects that change was seen not to be happening to our people but with them.

We took time to understand the changes from a user perspective through impact assessments and user testing. We also engaged users in system design, from early design workshops to regular check-ins through our interactive webinars for staff. It was important that any feedback from staff was acknowledged and fed-back through regular communication channels.

To ensure change activity was appropriately tailored, we took a leader-led change approach and tailoring activities according to user groups (for example, different levels of training and support were allocated according to use of the system). Some of the change activity included training and the use of change champions to support users during go-lives and post-go live.

Recommendations from implementing the advanced analytics platform

The new advanced analytics platform was delivered jointly with the enterprise data analytics team as the business owner in 2019-2020. This was one of the first projects within Inland Revenue to implement co-design using true agile methodology.

The enterprise data analytics team started in the passenger seat but transitioned to the ‘drivers’ of platform by the close of the project with coaching and support from BT.

  • A clear direction was crucial for a common sense of purpose and guidance. However, we recognised the path would always be grey in some areas, and at times enduring Inland Revenue teams would go backwards before they were able to move forward.
  • We created principles to live by, targeting incremental pieces of value delivery rather than big change, creating a new delivery model and allowing people to learn the tools in practice and on the job through blended vendor teams who acted as mentors as well as formal training.
  • It was important to be persistent, move quickly and be able to fail fast. This means accepting that mistakes will happen, to learn from them and move on rather than be punitive.
  • Do not underestimate the effort needed to change. Take the time to develop a thorough people plan for those who will eventually own the system and consider people/team culture, context and environment.
  • There is no ‘final state’. Remember to emphasize the incremental shift approach. While the size of the shifts may get smaller, change and improvement is continuous.
  • It takes courage, skill and creative participation on everyone’s part to be successful.
  • For impacted teams, work with them and take them on the change journey.
  • One of the best practices was the enterprise data analytics team’s agile quarterly planning, involving large room/scaled planning and co-design with accountable stakeholders. This allowed the team to collaborate, align and sequence their workload and resource to meet competing demands including day to day analytics work requests. As a result, people learn how to work differently as collaborative groups, adopt and use the new tools, data and analytics to better inform their decision making to deliver better outcomes for Inland Revenue and our customers.

Recommendations from implementing an enterprise records management system

The enterprise records management system (Stax) was implemented with the information and knowledge management team as the business owner in 2018-2019.

  • Build a strong working relationship with vendors early on to ensure understanding and expectations are met in a timely manner.
  • Treat information management clean-up as a priority – do not underestimate the amount of effort that comes with migrating content from the old to the new system and make sure to give content owners enough time to clean up their content.
  • Plan for education and training activity to embed new systems, capabilities and practices.
  • Adapt to user needs, technology and techniques as they evolve. Understand how people work with content in their teams (for example, how they think about and find content, how they structure some of their work within their teams and work together such as case work), amount of content, and time to prepare content for migration.
  • Have an enterprise content model for your information and knowledge systems before rolling them out so people know when and how to use each system. Understand how various content systems must work together, how they need to be designed and how people should use them.
  • Coordinating a combination of tools is best. We moved from a centralised view of ‘one repository for everything,’ to a federated multi-systems view using the best tool for the job – connected by our new enterprise search and intranet replacement.
  • It's important to develop an understanding of the information and knowledge management tool set and leverage the advanced capabilities to make it easier for users.
  • Have clear guidance and support people in using the tool set in a way that helps them deliver value for our customers.
  • Open by default is a big shift for many people. It’s important to continuously support and encourage people to share information and knowledge so that reusable IP can be built over time, as well as continue to refine monitoring and scanning processes to support appropriate information protection where required.
  • There is real value in going beyond traditional knowledge management which tends to focus on explicit knowledge (captured and codified knowledge) to the detriment of tacit knowledge from people’s insights and experience. Cultural change is better supported through modern knowledge management techniques. Continuously grow and develop these techniques and promote stronger networks, connections and meaningful conversations to empower staff.
  • Metadata is critical. Understanding the minimum mandatory metadata that must be common in all content management systems to facilitate cross-system searchability and ensure that any item of information could be easily retained, discovered, managed, used and disposed.
  • Take an outside-in view of information. Data is just data. Information requires constant reference to the user experience to shape the outcomes from the project.

Recommendations from introducing a modern intranet replacement with enterprise search

The aim of the Intelligent Information Project was to develop a place for Inland Revenue people to connect and find the enterprise-wide information they need when they need it. It wasn’t just an internet replacement. It was an opportunity to connect all our information sources through a powerful new search engine.

  • The change effort has been deliberately low-key and successfully fronted by business owners. This still meant investing in change and communications to achieve this result and ensure the change activities were well planned and managed. There will be ongoing effort needed to maximise benefits of the technology such as shifting to 'search first behaviour.'
  • A search first experience is reliant on content that is written with the person who needs it in mind, not how the author thinks about it. The language needs to make sense to the search terms used; the onus is on the content writers to know their audience.
  • People’s understanding that this is more than an intranet replacement and how information is connected from different systems through a new search engine gradually increases as more systems are connected, and people experience the search capability, personalisation and mobility of the new intranet.
  • The intelligent search that is being used on both the external websites and for the intranet is extremely powerful. The information and knowledge management team have been using it to discover content in different systems and working with the content owners to permission the content appropriately.
  • Engagement with our people directly and with the business has resulted in a better sense of ownership and positive feedback about how we have made the effort to listen and helped us evolve what we have delivered.
  • Working with other teams to leverage their expertise and passion for content has meant that the delivery of the change has been championed by many people rather than pushed by the project team. The project team has on occasion been the ‘silent partner’ in the background supporting rather than fronting every deliverable.
  • The use of webinars and the Change Champion network have been a great way of sharing what we are doing and getting feedback into the design.
  • Building capability in the business alongside the project team is critical in ensuring successful transition and ongoing embedding of the change.
Last updated: 09 May 2022
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