Vic Police BI stalls on stage three funding shortfall

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Vic Police BI stalls on stage three funding shortfall

The Victorian Police's long-running VicOPS business intelligence (BI) system has run out of money with a stage still left to implement.

The system, which consists of an Oracle database, Cognos front-end and Informatica ETL, commenced in October 2006, but has been dogged by a ‘naïve’ business plan and inadequate funding to complete it as a result, according to Sergeant Martyn Cox.

“It’s hurt us really badly not having an adequate business case,” said Cox, who is an end user from the policing operations unit at Victoria Police.

“It was a fairly naïve business case. Make sure you don’t go in as naïvely as we did; go in with a good business case that will get you the amount of funding you need [to complete the project].”

The funding shortfall appears to have further derailed the project internally with perceptions that the BI project is ‘finished’, despite what Cox described as ‘strong demand’ for further enhancements to the system.

However, Cox said that Victoria Police would be pushing for $100 million in budget for IT systems this year.

Cox praised the current project manager, Brian Rowland, who only came onto the project after the business plan was completed and funding allocated on that basis.

“When Brian started discovering the real business needs, he discovered the business case was nowhere near actual end user requirements and the funding was never going to cover it all,” said Cox.

“Brian did a great job of rescuing it and delivering the first two stages.”

One current use of the system is to drill down and analyse collision data for trends that may help reduce the number of fatalities on Victorian roads.

Police can use this information to implement strategies in conjunction with the relevant industry authorities that focus on addressing thee causes. For example, alcohol, driver error, or perhaps a particularly dangerous stretch of road.

Cox said quantifying the value obtained from VicOPS is difficult because there are multiple parties and initiatives around reducing road tolls, and it can be hard to isolate which one contributed the most to improved figures.

Cox said the potential community benefits of VicOPS will amount to around $30 million, but this was not the primary return-on-investment.

“Forget the money side of it,” he said. “If using VicOPS saves one life, it’s worth it.”

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