ComSuper deploys BI solution in four weeks

ComSuper has deployed its SingleCell BI solution in a four week timeframe.

The government superannuation administrator for the public service and the defence force moved its data to a SAS solution after a need for management based reporting became apparent.

Kevin Hilder, who was responsible for leading the SingleCell project, spoke at the SAS forum in Sydney this week, saying the size of the project was initially overwhelming.

“If you think about all of the technology and upgrades, you can imagine what a large job we had in keeping data up to date. We previously didn’t have reporting schemes.”

“We began by putting together a good architecture for ComSuper. It’s vital if you’re going to have a long term project,” he said.

Hilder said ComSuper decided on a SAS integrated intelligence suite for the deployment, with training the first order of priority for staff.

“We sent the whole team on SAS training and it was necessary in order to get them up to speed on the platform.

"It was a four to five week installation time and this was a reasonably quick turnaround considering all of the databases we had to migrate.”

The level of staff training has resulted in a higher level of collaboration across multiple areas of ComSuper.

“It’s a long-term process where you grow the skills sets in the specific organisations. When we were able to foster training across business areas, the individual areas took a lot more responsibility and collaboration was created.

“There has been some change management raining we’ve done with our staff as well as training our staff around collaboration,” he said.

One issue the deployment addressed was the manipulation of leave entitlements by some ComSuper employees.

“We wanted to represent the data in a number of different facets. We needed to draw people’s eyes to the problematic issues.”

“We developed a heat map around how staff members we’re taking leave. Before this, you couldn’t see how they we’re manipulating the leave system so the issues weren’t genuine. Team leaders were able to realise this is a serious issue amongst staff members in the APS,” he said.

When reflecting on the project, Hidler said a cultural change was important for long term success.

“Once you’ve got the culture on the move, you have to keep driving that message home to managers.”

He also said profiling legacy systems was an unsuccessful way to start the project and that getting executive support for BI deployment early on is essential.

“A big part of what we did was data quality works. We did a profile of our legacy systems in preparation for a migration. It was a big waste of time and we had no buy-in from executives.”

“It did not compute so we changed track and went to root cause analysis. We looked at the issues causing pain and created reports around that and listings around these issues. Once we had that entrenched, we linked a ready-to-pay indicator to that and linked it to the scorecard.”

“It’s only when you’ve got a clear line of sight that the executives begin to take notice of what you’re saying,” he said.

Other issues talked about at the SAS forum included the need for statistics to paint a clearer picture for the Australian public and insights from the ANZ bank on how to take finance projects from costing to profitability.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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