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Improving Implementation

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Introduction of the ITIL QHID Project

Queensland Health is one of the largest public organizations at Queensland state in Australia. It is an exceptionally complex and broadly distributed institution that employs more than 50,000 of employees (Queensland Health 2006). The mission adopted by the Queensland Health is to provide reliable health care services to people and improve health of the community members across the state. Accomplishment of the mission of the organization is done through delivery of a range of incorporated services. In particular, Queensland Health provides hospital inpatient services, emergency services as well as outpatient services, mental health and community health services, public health services and aged care services, and finally, implements various health promotion programs. Delivery of services is conducted via established network of twenty Health Service Districts and the Mater Hospitals.

Information Directorate of the Queensland Health (QHID) bears major responsibility for constructing the health information systems. QHID is considered to be the largest information technology operational unit in Queensland State. It employs more than 800 people as its staff and manages around 285 networked sites. Major task of the QHID is to provide information technology services to the complete network of users of the Queensland Health through systems of support. At the same time QHID is responsible for sustainable information provision for clinicians. These support systems are developed by QHID to be accessible to clients on the permanent basis (24 hours every day) across the State of Queensland (Queensland Health 2007).

Performance of Queensland Health Information Directorate has been questioned along with the increased concerns of users that its organizational structure is decentralized and does not meet the required level of information technology services. Therefore, QHID has started reorganization and consolidation of its organizational structure in 2004 and brought together its five operational units that had been separated. Soon after the restructuring, the Government of Queensland commissioned Review of the Queensland Health Systems (Queensland Health 2007) in order to study the problematic aspects experienced by Queensland Health and spot a range of further reforms.

Upon completion of the Review, one of the initiatives adopted afterwards was a QHID Transformation Program. A principal goal of the Program was shifting of QHID to a new organizational structure that would be service-oriented. At the same time, it has established new manner of operation in terms of both service delivery of information technologies and governance capabilities of QHID. In order to achieve sustainability of long term gains from the Transformation Program, a number of initiatives have been instigated by Queensland Health. Latter included one for the establishment and improvement of a sustainable capacity of the organization to carry out service management of information technologies more effectively by the adoption of the ITIL framework.

Scope of the ITIL QHID project included modernization of the information technology infrastructure of the QHID with the help of established consultants and vendors that were involved in the project during the early stages of the ITIL implementation.

Objectives of the project included transformation of the organizational corporate culture and shift of its focus on the delivery of quality services to the customers; maintaining sustainable and direct relationships with numerous vendors that facilitated technology shift to in-house staff; securing monitoring of the benefits realization plan; communication of tangible as well as intangible project benefits to all potential project stakeholders (Tan et. al 2009).

Project Stakeholder Analysis

The project was strongly motivated by the need of adoption of a service centered business conduction that is more preferred by its customers and users of the information system. Therefore, as a result of the project implementation, two major groups of stakeholders were affected by the project outcomes: staff of the organization and its customers.

Transformation of the technology-centered organization towards service-centered one has undergone numerous complications, yet turned out to be successful. According to Golden (2007) in cases when implementation of the ITIL project is well-executed, ITIL is able to change the IT culture of the organization as well as its focus from the technology to the business strategy. Considering successful outcome of the project with respect to transformation of corporate culture, it should be mentioned that project management was effectively conducted on every level of the organization. Therefore, as a result, employees in the organization showed capacity to be flexible and effective as well as quickly adapt to the changing working environment (Howell & Higgins 1990).

Along with changes in the corporate culture, consumers have experienced considerable positive shifts towards service-centered work of the Queensland Health Information Directorate. As a result of the project implementation, satisfaction of customers with provision of services has substantially increased (Tan et. al 2009).

Project Management and Implementation

According to McPhee (2007), identification of clear objectives, correct accountability of the project implementation, effective risk management, sustainable monitoring and reporting in course of project implementation, staying focused on the project are vital elements of successful project governance and project completing in the public sector.

Implementation of the ITIL QHID project required development of thorough project initiation plan as well as project monitoring, essential elements of successful project implementation. The project steering committee was responsible for performing monitoring and management of the project outcomes. One of the techniques used in the course of project implementation was timebox tool. Latter turned out to be exceptionally effective due to intentionally fixed deadlines that enabled working process solutions to be taken in the short periods of time. Moreover, adoption of this management tool also ensured that costs of implementation were reduced as well as benefits of early project outcomes are obtained as soon as possible (Tan et. al 2009).

Another tool that was used in the course of project implementation was maturity assessment plan (Appendix A). Fujitsu Australia jointly with QHID conducted maturity assessment at the start of project launch in 2005. Using maturity assessment, the existing state of the process chain at QHID was established, interfaces between various processes were ascertained and optimal implementation sequence was determined. Using results of the maturity assessment, project baseline was developed. In addition, it has helped to identify priorities for initial stage of the project implementation as well as adopt targets to increase levels of maturity of different processes (Tan et. al 2009).

Implementation of the IT Infrastructure Library at Queensland Health Information Directorate project was carried out according to the developed plan. It was monitored at all stages and adjusted according to the changing requirements. Management at all levels was actively involved into the project implementation which has resulted in the project running according to the plan.

In the course of project implementation, management team experienced two failed attempts. The first and foremost failure experienced by the project management, was inability to clearly show commitment to the project. In particular, process managers were not staffed at the appropriate level but, instead of that they were arbitrarily allocated. Furthermore, the project was also implemented using conventional business approach that resulted in paying not enough attention to the project schedule, expertise issues and required resources.

Another unsuccessful attempt experienced at the first stages of project implementation was original decision to put together Quality Management System processes and ITSM that brought general confusion about the project’s focus. This problem has been further complicated by the attempt to acquire buy-in from QHID employees through extensive consensus-seeking manner. It turned out to be considerable counterproductive as new roles of employees in the restructured organization were not yet resolved. However, once the project management addressed these emerging problems at the beginning, remaining course of project implementation showed outstanding results (Cater-Steel et. al 2006).

As a result of careful planning of the project management, ITIL QHID project was successfully implemented. The goals set by the project management were achieved. Employees of Queensland Health Information Directorate experienced shift in the corporate culture towards focus on services and enjoyed benefits of successful project implementation. In addition to that, customers of QHID became able to enjoy better quality services and their satisfaction from cooperation with the organization increased (Tan et. al 2009).

Project Outcome Analysis

Information Technology Infrastructure Library Project at Queensland Health Information Directorate has been successfully implemented. Major factor of the effective completion of the project was application of various managerial tools in the course of project implementation. First and foremost, the project has been thoroughly planned. Using process maturity assessment, the project baseline was developed and priorities of the initial stages were outlined. Implementation of the project was constantly monitored. After having experienced the first difficulties and problems, the project management showed flexibility and after necessary changes to the project plan had been included, it has been successfully completed. In addition, development and application of the timebox helped to implement the project according to the fixed deadlines. Latter resulted in the reduced costs associated with project implementation, and thus, delivering outcomes of the project.

Considering example of project implementation in the IT department of the health care institution, a prospective manager can learn how to introduce infrastructural advances to information department of the organization applying various managerial approaches like timebox, process maturity assessment, etc.

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