Tactical data led improvement

What they do?

A global Outsourcer operates a range of contracts and services on behalf of governments across the world. A particular contract delivered support services with challenging targets and contractual requirements.

What was their challenge?

The client faced a series of issues, where data was at the centre of a potential solution.

  1. The Contract team could not see a way of meeting the contractual requirements. There was no proper link between key performance indicators and underlying business processes. The Contract team needed to a find a way of getting a grasp of the data, they had to understand the current performance and identify areas for improvement.
  2. They ran lengthy and complicated manual processes for checking that the correct invoices and payments were associated with the correct sub-contractor at the end of each month. This was not only costing time of senior managers, but also leading to potential lost revenue – however, with no easy way of proving it ,they couldn’t identify and target the problem.
  3. Operational planning was reactive and often poorly thought through. Whilst they were data rich, they remained information poor, so predicting and planning for scenarios was difficult. This meant resourcing, supplies and skills were not optimised, costing time and money.

What we did?

We worked with the operational and technical teams to target specific data sets that could help with all the issues. This covered a range of different systems and many processes.

  1. We began by generating a view of the end to end processes and what data was used throughout. We re-designed the processes and re-purposed the data to drive leading, rather than lagging indicators which enabled the Contract team to understand the genuine performance of the Contract. We developed a range of short, pragmatic training sessions to help operational managers to better interpret the data so that they could target improvement areas themselves.
  2. We modelled their processes and using machine learning built a simple checking tool so that anomalies could be quickly and easily spotted with no manual intervention. By eliminating the manual effort, the business analysts were able to focus their time on what mattered most and what would give the business most value to improving the delivery of the service.
  3. Developing specific use cases and operational scenarios was key to helping the operational managers what planning could be done with the data they had. We created near-real time visual management dashboards to create the operational insights to monitor and improve delivery. They were able to make real time decisions about the optimal way to deliver, whilst having the data to assure their reasoning. This in turn fed back into the processes and improved the quality of the data.

What happened?

Throughout the projects, we balanced tactical deployments utilised their existing toolsets (including Excel) to ensure rapid improvements, whilst also delivering enhanced tools at a pace they could handle. When targeting the first problem area, we delivered the necessary improvements within 6 weeks and helped sustain that performance over the following 12 months, saving £000’s and significantly reducing risk in the Contract.

Data quality has improved dramatically and they are now able to trust what they are using to run the operation, giving an enhanced level of assurance to Contractual and commercial reporting.

The key to success was working with the people on the ground that would need to use the tools, building their confidence in their own data such that they could use it properly to drive improvement. The sustainability of the improvements were a testament to the skills and capabilities the client developed with Oakland’s help.


Posted in Case Study