Executives at newly created Auckland Transport needed strategic initiatives to offer faster and better transport services. They engaged a Microsoft Enterprise Architect, who evaluated the technical requirements of available solutions, quantified the business benefits of each, and offered advice on applications that would best help staff achieve them. As a result, executives quickly prioritized objectives, ensuring an early impact on transport services. Business Needs
As part of their ‘super city’ strategy to boost Auckland’s international competitiveness, the New Zealand government consolidated local councils’ transportation divisions into a single, metropolitan organization: Auckland Transport. In November 2010, this new organization assumed responsibility for all public transport across the city—including buses, trains, and ferries—and for maintaining transport infrastructure, such as roads, ferry terminals, and cycle paths.
Immediately, executives at Auckland Transport faced both external and internal challenges. The key to establishing the credibility of the organization was improving customers’ experience of transport services and information.
“We were a whole new business formation, so our core challenge was to identify where we could add value,” says Roger Jones, Manager of IT at Auckland Transport. “We wanted to extend the capacity of Auckland Transport above and beyond what we inherited from the councils and identify new service opportunities. To do that, we needed to create a roadmap that clearly aligned our strategic initiatives with technology capabilities. Once we knew what was practical, we could prioritize projects.”
However, executives also needed to identify which applications would best help their highly dispersed workforce achieve these objectives. To commence operations, staff used a suite of products based on the Windows platform, with unified communications technology installed, but not rolled out.
“We needed to understand the capabilities of the Microsoft suite of products,” says Jones. “For example, Microsoft Dynamics CRM was being proposed for customer and case management, and our staff wanted video conferencing to reduce travel. But before deploying new capability, we wanted someone to demonstrate the benefits.
|“By channeling worldwide expertise into multiple projects, the Microsoft Enterprise Architect helped us clarify and prioritize key initiatives, and focus on areas that were critical to achieving business goals.”|
| Roger Jones|
Manager of IT, Auckland Transport
As part of the Microsoft Enterprise Strategy Program, Microsoft provides Enterprise Architects. These on-site consultants use their combination of business and technical insight, experience, and corporate contacts to help maximize the business benefits of technology investments.
“The first 12 months were a period of flux for Auckland Transport,” says Andrew Nelson, Enterprise Architect at Microsoft. “I was engaged to help guide technology decisions and ensure they aligned with the business objectives set by the organization. I was an analyst, business strategist, and technology architect; someone to glue together business needs with technology capabilities.”
From January 2011 to January 2012, Nelson provided practical and technical assistance in three key areas. “Working with internal business stakeholders and technical staff, our Enterprise Architect helped create a detailed benefits matrix,” says Jones. “This matrix analyzed our strategic intentions, quantified the business benefits, and then linked them to what we could and couldn’t do with the available technology resources.”
“I also created enterprise-wide architecture views and an information model,” says Nelson. “I identified the types of information that Auckland Transport works with and mapped how this information is managed across the organization. This was essential because one of our objectives was to implement an online portal where customers, staff and partners will have a consolidated and personalized view of travel information, whether they travel by car, bus, train, or ferry.”
Another key contribution was identifying how communication and collaboration capabilities could be enhanced to optimize staff productivity. Applying data and best practices from Microsoft Lync deployments around the world, Nelson worked with an Auckland Transport team to construct a robust business case for deploying Lync, and integrating it with Microsoft email and document-sharing applications.
“To get Microsoft Lync operational quickly, Andrew Nelson leveraged some of his company’s vast global resources,” says Jones. “He found a highly experienced Lync architect who came in to provide technical leadership for the roll-out. This was just one of the ways that we gained great value from the Enterprise Strategy Program.” Benefits
With an on-site Enterprise Architect, Auckland Transport executives received authoritative practical advice during their organization’s first formative months. Says Jones: “By channeling worldwide expertise into multiple projects, the Microsoft Enterprise Architect helped us clarify and prioritize key initiatives, and focus on areas that were critical to achieving business goals.”
Prioritized Strategic Objectives
By linking strategy to specific technologies and measurable benefits, the Enterprise Architect helped identify which strategic initiatives were the most practical and valuable and formulated a comprehensive technology roadmap for Auckland Transport to follow.
“The benefits matrix helped us assess our strategic initiatives and prioritize them,” says Jones. “As a result, we focused on several projects: our MyStreet portal, which will provide personalized information to customers and staff, and an improved road maintenance information service.”
Sourced World-Class Service Ideas
As part of a global company, Nelson could source examples and expertise that helped turn these strategic initiatives into attractive customer propositions.
“The Enterprise Architect brought ideas and examples of other business models to help us decide which ideas to invest in,” says Jones. “We wanted an online journey planner, so Andrew Nelson showed us an example from a Microsoft partner in Washington, D.C. We wanted residents to be able source local transport information, and he showed us examples from the UK and Spain, which we’re using to shape the MyStreet portal.”
Expedited Productivity Improvements
Because he was well-acquainted with product capabilities and could source experts to help, the Enterprise Architect helped maximize the value of existing technology investments. As a result, Auckland Transport developed new capabilities that led to measurable benefits.
“Deploying video conferencing was a great success: we had very good feedback from our staff, and it has proved its value,” says Jones. “Without someone fulfilling the role of Enterprise Architect, we would not have had the capability or resources to get Microsoft Lync up and working at the speed we did.” Microsoft Services
Microsoft Services is a global team of professionals who are dedicated to helping customers maximize the value of their investment in Microsoft software. Microsoft Services touches customers more than 715 million times a year, helping them plan, deploy, support and optimize our technologies. They also work closely with Microsoft Partners by sharing their technological expertise and product knowledge on a regular basis.
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