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DMO to act on disparate project management systems

by Sam Murphy •
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The deployment of an Integrated Project Management System within the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) will not occur until FY 2015/16 at the earliest, despite the fact that the DMO’s disparate range of project management systems have been criticised since 2000, according to the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA).

The Australian National Audit Office’s (ANAO) 2012-13 Report on the Defence Materiel Organisation’s (DMO) major projects indicates that the agency is consolidating disparate project management applications in order to solve its project management problems.

In the ANAO’s 2010-11MPR, concern was raised about the range of systems used to manage different projects. A subsequent review of the 2010-11 MPR by the JCPAA found that “Previous evidence to the Committee indicated that the problem dates back to around 2000 and that it would take time to resolve. However, the Committee believes that, after some 12 years, more progress should have been made to address the issue”.

The 2012-13 MPR found that across the DMO’s 29 major projects, inconsistent information was being produced by each of the projects’ record management, risk management and financial management systems.

In total, the 29 projects have had a combined schedule slippage of 957 months from the original forecasted completion date. The MPR found that this average schedule slippage per project of 35 months had worsened to the 30 months estimated in the 2011-12 MPR.

According to the MPR, DMO currently has 540 business applications in use. The report states that this creates an issue for the DMO “in ensuring reliable and consistent information to properly inform project management and decision making”.

Despite this, the report notes that the DMO has made an improvement on previous years, consolidating and rationalising some of its systems.

“DMO is identifying and confirming where duplicate licenses and other inefficiencies exist, as well as researching software and systems, in order to achieve higher visibility over Information and Communications Technology expenditure in the DMO.”

Records Management

Defence has been implementing Objective Corporation’s Electronic Document and Records Management Solution since 2000.

 In 2010, Defence renewed a $10 million contract to upgrade the system and extend its usage to over 60,000 users.

In 2013, DMO successfully completed its roll out of this system, according to the MPR.  According to Objective, the DMO had over 32km of physical record shelf space in Canberra.

While DMO admits that “some problems were experienced”, benefits to project management are “expected to be evident in next year’s review”.

According to Intermedium’s AnalyseIT, since 2010, Defence and the DMO have accrued a total contracts value with Objective of $13.2 million. In 2013, Defence signed a $118,000 contract with Jakeman Business Systems to manage the roll-out of the updated Objective solution.

Risk Management

In response to the 2011-12 MPR findings, DMO told the JCPAA that “it will not be possible to standardise the information held and management by all projects at all levels”. The JCPAA did not accept this, stating that that risk management systems “should be able to be consistent across projects, despite the individual nature of the projects themselves”.

According to the 2012-13 MPR, DMO now requires project managers to exclusively use the Predict! risk management software suite for reporting risks. Following the 2011-12 MPR that recommended the DMO reduce the reporting burden on projects, Defence disabled the previously utilised Monthly Reporting System (MRS), such that project managers could no longer record major risks and issues in it.

Financial Management

The 2012-13 MPR indicates that the DMO is currently undertaking an Acquisition Budget Management Improvement Program under which it intends to transition functions from the current program-level budget management system, CEPPlan, to the enterprise Budget and Output Reporting Information System (BORIS).

BORIS “is the Defence name for the SAP Business Intelligence/Business Warehouse module”, a Defence spokesperson explained to Intermedium. The DMO has contracted CSC Australia to transition functions from CEPPlan to BORIS.

Defence’s JP 2080 project aims to enhance its core financial and personnel systems. Phase 3 of the project consists of improving Defence’s financial system. BORIS is not a part of the JP 2080 project, however, according to the Defence spokesperson it will be “an integral consideration for any initiatives developed”.

A business case has also been developed to standardise project financial management tools across DMO to support data integration between the project and program levels. An Integrated Project Management System is being considered along with a cost management system that will interface with BORIS.

The Defence spokesperson told Intermedium, “During 2014, the strategy is to pilot a system on a number of projects to help determine the overall benefits, issues, and risks.  A decision to implement an Integrated Project Management System would be made as a result of this data.  Therefore, the deployment of such a system would not occur until FY 2015/16 at the earliest”.

The Major Projects Report (MPR) indicates that the DMO has the largest ICT budget of any Federal agency, allocated an estimated $100 million per year. Intermedium’s AnalyseIT indicates that $53 million in ICT related DMO contracts were signed in 2012-13.

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For more information, please contact the Editor (02) 9955 9896.

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  • Federal
  • Software
  • Defence
  • Australian National Audit Office
  • CSC Australia
  • Defence Material Organisation
  • DMO Major Projects Report
  • Integrated Project Management System
  • Joint Committee of Public Accounts And Audit
  • Objective Corporation
  • Predict!