Qld Transport rebuilds its IT unit from the foundations

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Qld Transport rebuilds its IT unit from the foundations
Martin Bradshaw addresses a Partners in Technology briefing in Brisbane

The CIO's plan to win back customer trust.

Queensland Transport’s CIO has offered industry members a frank assessment of the scale of the challenge that faced him when the joined the agency 14 months ago, and the massive turnaround that still lies ahead.

Speaking in Brisbane on Friday, Transport and Main Roads’ tech chief Martin Bradshaw didn't mince words when describing the IT team as “an organisation that had lost relevance within the department".

"I’m not sure we were delivering for our customers across Queensland. We had to rebuild the foundations,” he said of the $70 million-a-year IT arm of the business.

In September 2015 Bradshaw became TMR's fourth CIO in just three years.

The IT branch was subsequently pushed through a major restructure early in 2016, which saw leadership overhauled as the agency vowed to pursue a new focus on strategy, customers, and agility.

Bradshaw said his team was keen to turn its reputation around.

"Every time one of our customers - including staff and agency customers -  gets an error message trying to complete a transaction, that reminds them of how crap we are at doing our job," he said.

“We didn’t have a contemporary customer engagement model. We didn’t have an operating model of any standing. Our service catalogue was out of date.

“If you were in a regional office and trying to use Skype there was probably a one-in-two chance it wouldn’t work.”

The restructure was the first step in the turnaround, and Bradshaw insists it has already paid dividends.

He said quarterly staff sentiment reviews from the unit have jumped from about 20 percent prior to the restructure to about 70 or 80 percent at last count.

The strategy will put the agency on a new IT-as-a-service footing as it looks to offerings like Office 365, Sharepoint Online, VDI and a new middleware layer to manage what Bradshaw described as the “ancient” TRAILS licensing and rego system.

The TRAILS replacement was temporarily called off earlier this year to recoup funds for other transport projects.

Bradshaw said the 2017 plan will “be about removing cost from our business so we can re-invest it for our business solutions and for our customers”.

“The strategies we release in 2017 will be very much externally focused," he said.

But not all is rosy yet - the CIO was upfront with Queensland industry members about the struggles that remain.

“We wanted to improve TMR’s data management and BI capability,” he said.

“I’m going to put my hand hand up here and say I think we’ve failed on this one for the year.

“We are going to work harder, we’re going to redouble our efforts. But we haven’t nailed this one just yet.”

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