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Digital transformation at the Department of Finance WA


Department of Finance WA: Improving process through people-driven digital transformation WRITTEN BY




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he Western Australian Government’s Department of Finance has undergone an important period of innovation and

change, driven by disruptive technologies and a people-first approach to both its customers and employees. Andy Wood, the Department’s Executive Director of Corporate Services, has led Finance’s transition to cloud-based operations and continues to encourage a focus on data analytics and the exciting possibilities afforded by AI and automated services. “Adopting a digital approach is absolutely vital in everything,” Wood says. “With it, we can drive practical, cost-effective and quality outcomes across government, which will ultimately benefit the people of Western Australia.” At the root of the Department’s digital transformation is its approach to vendor management - building a strong level of symbiosis between provider and customer. “If you really want true success or innovation, you’ve got to treat them


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“Adopting a digital approach is absolutely vital in everything” — Andy Wood, Executive Director – Corporate Services, Department of Finance WA 06

as partners,” says Wood. “This helps

isolation and rather understand the

them provide the best offerings to enable

full scope of Finance’s digital transfor-

and achieve strategic outcomes.”

mation.” Of its vendor-partners,

Wood describes this as a paradigm shift

Microsoft has been important through

in procurement thinking, where tradition-

the Department’s digital transformation

ally vendors would offer their best price

journey, particularly as a provider of

to deliver a service or product to exact

vital cloud capabilities. “Our previous

specifications, limiting the ability to

operating model was very heavy and

understand the problem and collabo-

lethargic in that we would buy a piece

rate on solutions. “We take an approach

of kit, we’d put it in place and it would

whereby we select a small number of

stay there for 10 years and we’d never

strategic partners which not only

innovate with it,” said Wood. “Cloud

challenge us and our preconceptions

computing has become a building block

but also look beyond technology in

of Finance’s digital transformation. It’s

what our strategy is built upon and the key foundation of everything we want to achieve.” Over the next decade, the Department plans to continue its prolific usage of cloud technology across its infrastructure services, creating a Platform as a Service (PaaS) for each of the software and service offerings it provides to its customers. The adoption of cloud has also given the Department a more complete understanding and access to its data,

The Department of Finance’s ABW environment incorporates wireless access in three zones across each floor, including a quiet zone

enable it to drive increased efficiency through data-driven insights. Its cloud-enabled data platform collates information sets, not only from within


Andy Wood Andy Wood has 20 years’ experience in leadership roles across Banking, Superannuation, Professional Services, Local and State Government. Prior to being appointed as Executive Director, Corporate Services in February 2016, Wood spent six years as a Director with a global outsourcing firm, leading their Citizen Services business in Western Australia. Wood is the senior responsible officer for the Department of Finance’s Digital Transition Program and holds a Masters in Business Administration specialising in Leadership and Innovation.

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Digital Transformation executed locally with global vision. Velrada congratulates the Department of Finance on it’s vision to drive digital transformation across the Western Australian Public Sector. Recognised globally as the Number 1 Microsoft Partner, with a focus on Business Advisory, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Office 365, Data & AI & Azure Cloud Services. Our large and experienced local WA team offer international expertise to Mining, Oil&Gas, Private and Public Sector organisations who want to drive positive outcomes through a digital transformation journey.

Velrada are proud to have partnered with The Department of Finance Microsoft Global Partner of the Year on its successful Digital transformation Gold Partner Dynamics 365 for Field Service Global Partner of the Year Dynamics 365 for Field Service

1300 835 723

““W Wee treat treat cybersecurity cybersecurity as as more more than than an an IT IT issue issue” — — AndyWood, Wood, Andy ExecutiveDirector Director– Corporate Services, Executive – CorporateofServices, Department Finance WA Department of Finance WA

reused across the organisation. This was a massive step forward for us.” The Department is now moving towards harnessing data to be more predictive, particularly regarding cash analytics and optimising cash flow to mitigate wasted spending and accurately forecast the Department’s financial situation over given lengths of time. In order to achieve continued success, the Department recognises the importance of engaging staff and instilling a culture of innovation and disruption. “In any transformation there are three questions that need to be answered: the strategy question, the

the Department itself but also different

technology question and the people

areas across government, to enrich

question. The people question is the

decision-making processes, and its

hardest to answer but is absolutely

swift uptake has resulted in positive

paramount, and how well you answer

impacts. “Business intelligence has

it ultimately determines the level of

been rapidly adopted across the

success you’ll have,” says Wood.

organisation,” notes Wood. “We started

A culture of embracing change has

out with a small proof of concept to get

come through instilling an understand-

50 people from the organisation using

ing that challenges along the way will

Microsoft’s Power BI to visualise reports

ultimately benefit every stakeholder

from the massive data source we have.

in the business. A key element of this

Within 12 months, it has exploded to

is affirming that people, not technology,

about 350 users actively investigating

are leading the transformation. By

and developing reports both in the front

incorporating Kotter’s 8-Step Change

and back ends, meaning they can be

Model to ensure new capabilities are w w w.f i na nc e .wa. g ov. a u


A$1.4bn+ Approximate revenue (AUD)


Year founded


Approximate number of employees 10

incorporated into processes effectively

inspiring them to believe that they are

from both an operational and skills-

responsible, the creators, of the future

based point of view, the Department

state,” says Wood. “That really is what

has ensured that staff remain focused

drives cultural change.”

on their end goals and aware of the

Cybersecurity was also a priority

mounting benefits throughout the

of the Department due to the enormity

journey. “Keeping people focused on

of financial, operational and sensitive

the endpoint, which in many instances

data that it accrues. In a report released

was only six to eight months away,

by CompTIA this year, it was found that

saw us through. You instill a common

60% of IT professionals in Australia

understanding about what we’re

and New Zealand deem employees

collectively working towards and

to be the biggest risk factor to keeping

what we’re trying to achieve, while

data safe, and Wood is with the majority.

Engaging Department of Finance WA staff is a key component in Finance’s digital transformation


“We treat cybersecurity as more than

its transition to the cloud has benefit-

an IT issue,” he says. “Fundamentally,

ted again from the Department’s

the weakest point of any organisation’s

close work with Microsoft, enabling

security practices is its people.” To that

multi-factor authentication through

end, the Department has ingrained a

the Azure platform along with proven

culture of awareness and vigilance

concept trials around Azure data

amongst its employees to mitigate this

protection capabilities.

risk as much as possible. The Depart-

“It’s about framing the metadata

ment has also established an informa-

within documents and adding different

tion security management framework

security controls around how and

that complies with the ISO 27001

with whom those documents can be

international standard, with around 114

shared, and preventing the ability to

security controls in place. At an IT level,

share externally if certain parameters w w w.f i na nc e .wa. g ov. a u

are not met,” says Woods. “For us, it’s a top priority not only for the data we hold but also the data that’s shared with us from other government entities or third parties.” Wood outlines the five key goals of Finance’s continued digital transformation: 1. Empowering customers to interact with the Department in the ways that best suit them; 2. Converting every transaction to a digital format; 12

3. Maximising the value of data through generating increased actionable insights; 4. Developing and maintaining a strong cybersecurity culture that ensures information is shared with relevance and responsibility; 5. Ensuring that the Department is prepared for the digital future. This final goal, the future-proofing of the organisation, has already partly taken effect to the extent that this is what’s driving the achievement of the others. “We’re in a position now where we’ve freed ourselves to be able to look at new technologies as they

The Department of Finance oversees complex building projects including Optus Stadium and the surrounding Stadium Park

“The people question is the hardest to answer but is absolutely paramount. How well you answer it ultimately determines the level of success you’ll have” — Andy Wood, Executive Director – Corporate Services, Department of Finance WA 13

appear, assess them quickly, and decide if it’s something we want to spin-off as a proof of concept,” he says. “Under our old operating model, we couldn’t do that. We were too busy just trying to get the lights on.” The future is certainly bright for the Department of Finance WA; positively positioned for its ongoing digital transformation with a culture that embraces change and finds excitement in a digital future in place.

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Government of Western Australia Department of Finance T (+61) 08 6551 1000 E

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Department of Finance Brochure 2019  

Department of Finance Brochure 2019