It’s time for some good news from the world of tax and revenue. After all, there can’t be many organisations that successfully deliver services to 38 million individual customers and 4.5 million business customers. HMRC is responsible for the safe movement of goods into and out of the UK, collects around £469 billion in tax and pays out about £40 billion. These are impressive figures. And playing a key role in ensuring they all add up is what the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer believes to be the second largest IT function in the UK.

Managed by Capgemini as HMRC’s IT partner in the delivery of the Aspire outsourcing contract, the department’s IT services were transformed in 2011 following the completion of a single major enterprise release (ER) of service and system upgrades.

Clearly, as with all government and public sector change programmes at present, the need to respond to cost cutting formed a backdrop to this transformation. However, that was just one element, as a recently published case study on the Cabinet Office’s Best Management Practice website points out.

Entitled ‘Managing successful change: IT service transformation at HMRC’ this explains that HMRC was also facing “increasing demands on quality and performance and wide-ranging legislative changes”. It adds that a new platform was needed to process 800,000 payments per day and this had to be set up without disrupting HMRC’s business, or its customers.

The main project delierables were:

  • Align all IT services with the latest financial legislation
  • Achieve a reduction in IT spend totalling £8.2 million in annual savings
  • Decommission a legacy service introduced in the 1980s (described in the Cabinet Office case study as being “a bit like removing the centre of a 25-year-old spider’s web without upsetting the spider!”)
  • Upskill the workforce with professional IT service management qualifications
  • Enhance ISO certifications.

This was a big ask. And it’s a considerable accolade for the project team both at HMRC and within the Aspire partnership to be featured as an example of Best Management Practice. We all knew that we had to get it right. And while the release itself was undertaken in just a 96 hour period, the planning began 12 months earlier.

This planning allowed us to minimise the impact on day-to-day business during roll-out. How? By ensuring we had robust change and release processes in place for every stage of the implementation. It gave us time to develop workforce expertise in the latest standards and qualifications in IT service management. And we ensured that key business and IT stakeholders were engaged and informed from day one.

I could go on, but this is a blog, not the full case study, which I urge you to read. Nonetheless, I think it’s good to celebrate success when it happens. Don’t you?