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80% performance improvement in 80 days

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DWP Technology is delivering new digital technology to meet user needs – as shown by the Carer’s Allowance Digital Service which now has 90% user satisfaction.

Like all businesses, we also need to keep an eye on performance of our existing, complex, large enterprise technology estate. Our pensions, disability services, working age benefits, child maintenance and Universal Credit technology is used to annually pay £165bn for 7 million claims. These services are running at 100% uptime this year.

But the systems used by 90,000 staff across 950 locations to interact with 22 million citizens have not been updated for decades. Systems were designed in isolation resulting in integration issues accumulating over the years – preventing Operations colleagues from working efficiently. The last 80 days have seen an 82% productivity improvement as a result of resolving the top outstanding IT issues.

Five things stood out in the retrospective:

  1. Acknowledge the problem: Three months ago, 41 of our best people came together and acknowledged that we were not delivering a service to be proud of. You had to be in the room to feel the determination to drive change.
  2. A dedicated, integrated team: We stood up a multi-disciplinary team across organizational boundaries, with DWP experts working alongside colleagues from HP, Accenture, IBM, TCS, Atos and Cap Gemini. This team had a singular goal to resolve 40 longstanding issues. Expertise triumphed over hierarchy and contracts as a group of colleagues became a team.
  3. Begin and end with user needs: Team members sat with users to understand the issues from their perspective. These conversations helped us understand what would make the most difference to Operations users. As sprints delivered solutions, the users tested solutions in the real world across offices.
  4. Sprint to outcomes: Ambitious goals were broken down into manageable pieces of work tackled via specific sprints. Daily calls and stand-ups were used to drive progress, identify and tackle blockers, share knowledge and support problem solving to deliver at pace. Conversations were about delivering specific things, not planning to deliver.
  5. Leadership: A  group of leaders was inspired to achieve the impossible and followed through with tenacity to deliver impossible goals. The team built big relationships to listen to each other and do more together than what anyone could have done within their team.

Our strategy is to deliver

The results speak for themselves – in the last 80 days service hours lost due to IT issues across our IT estate have plummeted by 82%. 40 top issues have been fixed and the team also delivered:

  • Automated interfaces to remove rekeying and errors between 2 of our major customer data systems
  • Automated production of reports
  • Reduced processing time by up to 1 hour per case for a system while eliminating slow-running transactions on another system, saving 15 seconds per case
  • Reduced the time to logon to virtual desktops by over 50%.

I am proud to have the opportunity to work with colleagues delivering exceptional results. Improving service to our Operations colleagues helps them to deliver excellent service to DWP’s customers.

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