The client is a Franchise operator of an electrified suburban passenger train service. They have a fleet of over 220 train sets on 960 kilometres of track. They employ over 3,500 rail professionals including train drivers, engineers, network specialists and customer service representatives.
As a result of the client’s business growth over time, several new data streams had made it increasingly difficult to accurately and efficiently demonstrate the client’s true operating performance to critical stakeholders, such as Government bodies and regulators. The organisation had grown to acquire over 1000 unique data sources often to capture and report similar or exactly the same information. There existed several instances of inconsistent, inaccurate, inefficient data rules providing conflicting or incorrect information to high profiled stakeholders as regulators, government members and shareholders. Like many fast-growing businesses, the data had grown faster than the governance and ownership of the framework.
The scope was to gather data from varied and disparate data sources and consolidate into a single reporting Database. The change would require new reporting standards to be rolled out; a replacement of processes, services and reporting tools; new reports being created; and an appetite from all departments of the company to understand, engage, accept and adopt the change. From a technical perspective, I was engaged because of my experience to successfully deliver complex Business Intelligence and Data Analytics projects which digitally transform and impact the entire organisation.
Based on my history for delivering high profile organisational change projects the client felt confident in my ability to navigate staff sensitivities towards changes to the way they work and challenges anticipated in adoption. In addition, I was to lead a delivery team of 22 staff with varied project experiences, skills and backgrounds to collaborate and deliver a fit-for-purpose solution aligned to stakeholders needs.
WP developed a delivery strategy which met the company’s strategy, provided business value to the executive leadership team, offered efficiencies and innovation to each impacted department, and could reasonably be achieved by the project team.
Due to the several unknowns, we took a staged approach and delivered to one department at a time. The chosen department was selected from a matrix of risk level rating vs business benefit rating.
We ran 4 workshops over 6 weeks to understand how the department operated, their problem statements to the existing reporting needs, improvements they required and their preferred way to engage. We also used these workshops to reflect ‘what was in it for them’ through improvements the project anticipated. The workshops were an initial opportunity to connect and build rapport with impacted users by understanding first-hand their concerns and assist to bring down barriers.
There were 3 unique change management strategies adopted to suit the core business reporting needs, system knowledge, and resistance or apprehension levels to the change. The first was aimed at Head Office operations where users had a high-level of system knowledge and interaction. The second was specific to the track ‘Control Room’. This was a dynamic environment monitoring and triaging rail safety, security, incident and live repair. These users needed to be equipped with fast and responsive information and knowledge to triage and support emergency services in high risk situations. It was known that this group of users would only ever accept change if they felt completely comfortable and confident in the reasons for it, how to use it and its reliability. The third was a rollout to depot staff in the field. Their role was to directly engage with train drivers and technical staff to report on the performance of infrastructure and service health.
The level of apprehension initially anticipated were largely removed and instead replaced with new champion members for the change, new up-skilling opportunities, and improved processes, procedures and user adoption.
Stakeholders saw the value in the solution and therefore adopted the change. They felt confident in using the new tools and processes which enabled more accurate business decisions based on extensive, reliable and timely data.
Across the company, an average of 2 full-time staff effort was saved from duplicate and unnecessary tasks. This improvement equated to an average of 24 staff across the business who were more effectively utilised to conduct detailed analysis on proactive business and financial improvements across the company.
The tools enabled several insights into operating performance, one of which resulted in over $1million in cost reductions alone.