New South Wales Health (NSW Health) is responsible for the healthcare of residents in the state of New South Wales, Australia. The organization manages numerous projects, including major infrastructure projects to improve facilities. Health Infrastructure (HI) is responsible for the planning, management and delivery of major capital works projects within the NSW Health Asset Acquisition Program and has a critical need to improve reporting to stakeholders. With numerous external project managers, a single consistent format was required for all monthly project reports. The team deployed the Microsoft Enterprise Project Management (EPM) solution to provide project teams with a standard portal for entering project updates. The Microsoft EPM solution helped HI reduce reporting time by two-thirds, and provides access to accurate project information in a user-friendly format on a timely basis.Situation
Located in Australia, New South Wales Health (NSW Health) is responsible for delivering healthcare services to over seven million people in Sydney and the wider state of New South Wales. The organization sets directions for the NSW Health system, ensures implementation of government health policies and supports the Minister for Health.
NSW Health is divided into eight area health services, four covering the Sydney metropolitan area and four covering rural areas, and each area is responsible for providing health services in a wide range of settings. Within this structure, NSW Health manages over 250 hospitals, over 500 community, family and children’s health centers, and over 220 ambulance stations, along with a range of specialist services including mental health, dental, Aboriginal health and multicultural health services.
Ongoing federal reforms to the health system will alter the structure of the NSW Health areas to be more closely aligned with individual hospital networks within local regions.
NSW Health must deliver and maintain major infrastructure such as hospitals and health facilities. When it came to large-scale capital works programs, for example hospital redevelopments, NSW Health experienced a number of issues with project reporting and delivery. Project information was contained in various documents, which originated from different sources and this impacted heavily on decision-making, as managers frequently had to validate information to gain an accurate picture of the current status within a project.
To resolve these issues NSW Health created a dedicated team, Health Infrastructure (HI), responsible for the delivery of capital works projects valued greater than A$10 million (U.S.$10.14 million). HI currently has approximately 60 projects in progress with a total value of A$3 billion (U.S.$3.04 billion).
Prior to forming HI, reporting for all projects was completed manually. The monthly documents produced were submitted to various stakeholders, including NSW Health management, Treasury and the Minister’s office. It would take staff up to three weeks to collate data for the report.
One of the key HI objectives established was to improve the management of large projects through using standardized project management methodology. External project management companies are contracted to oversee all aspects of the program ensuring project milestones are achieved, and reporting on budget. With projects being managed by multiple external project management organizations, HI did not have a centralized reporting system in place; instead multiple reporting methods were being used.
To ensure provision of adequate, accurate and timely information on project status, HI needed to implement a standardized single reporting system that could be accessed by external project managers, NSW Health employees, and all relevant stakeholders. HI required a system that could capture data from various internal systems and external project managers, handle additions to the data from internal systems, and have tailored interfaces for different audiences for the reports.
||Users are now accessing the data from the Microsoft EPM solution within their documents and realizing the benefits of having a centralized system.”
Management Accountant, Capital Projects, Health Infrastructure
After reviewing various options, including internal development of a project management solution, HI chose to deploy the Microsoft Enterprise Project Management (EPM) Solution, which includes Microsoft Office Project Portfolio Server 2007, Microsoft Office Project Server 2007, and Microsoft Office Project Professional 2007. HI found that the Microsoft EPM solution met its requirements for project management tracking and reporting, within a highly configurable interface.
Jim Phelan, Finance Director, HI, comments, “In addition to meeting our requirements, the Microsoft EPM solution had features that could be used immediately to benefit the business both tactically and strategically. The solution also had scope for adding additional features that could be utilized to benefit the business in the longer term.”
Using the Microsoft EPM solution external project managers can log in remotely through a Web browser and enter their project updates into a customized project site. The solution is also linked to NSW Health data repositories to automatically extract data for monthly reports.
The solution is configured so that project managers can only view details relating to their projects. NSW Health project stakeholders have access to projects directly relevant to them. HI configured the report view for maximum usability to present information in a way that made key details easily accessible to stakeholders and enabled them to refer to specific project data details, including comments from project managers and budget information.
The HI team also uses the Microsoft EPM solution to interpret and update data as needed. For example, budget information for a project may be reported by multiple different sources, from treasury to the project management team, and the HI team itself. The flexibility of the solution supports tailoring a customized view of budget information so the right information at the right level of detail is presented to each audience.
Data stored within the Microsoft EPM solution is validated during the monthly reporting cycle, which provides a single reliable data source. This is simplified by the integration between the Microsoft EPM solution and Microsoft Office Visio 2007 and Microsoft Office Excel 2007. Team members can create ad hoc desktop reports that meet their specific requirements using up-to-date project data. This has led to many positive changes in project management practices.
Andrew Makin, Management Accountant, Capital Projects, HI, comments, “When HI started capital reporting using the EPM solution, the changes raised a number of questions in relation to our existing business practices. However users are now accessing the data from the Microsoft EPM solution within their documents and realizing the benefits of having a centralized system.”
Aside from the large-scale projects managed by HI, NSW Health is also using the Microsoft EPM solution on a larger scale to capture information on smaller projects which are less than A$10 million (U.S.$10.14 million). NSW Health has approximately 850 smaller projects with a total value of A$1 billion (U.S.$1.01 billion) in progress, and stakeholders can view details including project value and a monthly commentary on progress.
||“We work with internal and external people and can now satisfy their requirements by providing timely and dependable information about their projects. That helps everyone improve on timing and efficiency.”
Management Accountant, Capital Projects, Health Infrastructure
Since going live with the Microsoft EPM solution, HI has achieved results that benefit the organization and NSW Health by substantially improving project reporting.
Reporting Time Reduced by Two-Thirds
By using the Microsoft EPM solution for reporting HI has reduced the time taken to produce monthly reports from 15 business days to just 5 days. The time taken to produce the monthly reports includes time spent on querying information provided by the project managers.
“The monthly reports are mandatory requirements of Government Capital Project Delivery. By having accurate, easily accessible and timely capital project information, people can action items quickly; this then facilitates monitoring the performance of project planning and delivery,” comments Phelan.
Transparent and Accurate Reporting
A key benefit achieved by the deployment of the Microsoft EPM solution is that reporting is now delivered in a consistent format that meets the needs of NSW Health’s numerous stakeholders. The HI team and NSW Health management have greater visibility into the status of large projects as all required information is completed by the external project managers in a standardized report, helping management to immediately see any issues that impact timing or budget. Monthly reports are delivered on a timely basis, which gives managers time to act on issues.
Makin explains, “The success of HI depends on how well we can deliver our projects. We work with internal and external people and can now satisfy their requirements by providing timely and dependable information about their projects. That helps everyone improve on timing and efficiency.”
Greater Data Accuracy
By extracting data from its source, such as treasury systems, the Microsoft EPM solution provides more accurate data without the risk of error from manual re-keying and duplication of data into a report. Reducing the need to handle data more than once also saves time for team members and project managers in the creation of reports.
Easier Access to Information
The configuration of the Microsoft EPM solution gives stakeholders easy access to the information they need to view projects that are relevant to their roles. Project stakeholders can access the latest published information on relevant projects through a Web browser in a format tailored to their specific requirements, and can also track the entire project lifecycle.
As a next step, HI is planning to implement Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 to create forms within the project sites so that team members can quickly search for and retrieve data that is held in the Microsoft EPM solution. The integration of Office SharePoint Server 2007 into HI’s EPM solution will facilitate rapid access to information, giving team members, project managers, and stakeholders the latest data on demand.Microsoft Office System
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www.health.nsw.gov.auThis case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.