After a series of poor annual results and profits, Gala Coral, backed by The Carlyle Group, decided to embark upon the largest transformational change and off-shoring programme ever undertaken by Gala Coral. Very few people in Gala Coral understood transformational change, so I introduced Steve Goodwin as the Programme Director to the CEO to lead the Programme, and build a team of interim change managers to provide the necessary due diligence, planning and execution over an eighteen month period.
Gala’s challenge centered on catching up with their major competitors. After years of under investment they were unable to attract new customers and were losing existing customers at an alarming rate. By moving their core products to web-based and mobile gambling and gaming capabilities, Gala Coral could return to profitable growth. This meant developing key partnerships with PlayTech and other leading industry providers. Gala needed to develop industry-leading web-based applications for Bingo, Casino and Sportsbook. At the centre of this was a technology capable of providing any online Gala customer to have a single wallet real-time capability allowing a customer to gamble and game across any of the sites from a single fund holding.
With the team on-site a three thousand step business and IT change plan was implemented, and a £34m budget agreed. The team included; Business analysts, project managers, test managers, IT specialists, PMO, Marketing specialists, HR and communication managers were provided at day rates between £1500 to £550 per day on a rolling 3-6 month contracts. Most programme milestones were on time, the first key deliverable being the role-out and launch of the Casino online site initially involving over two thousand customers with no major problems.
The second deliverable was Gala’s ‘crown jewel’, Bingo online; a migration involving over 1.2m customers. Again this delivery was virtually flawless, with this site now growing at major competitors’ expense. It is acknowledged by industry commentators at being the most advanced Bingo offering in the market today.
The third and final delivery of the programme was Coral’s online Sportsbook across over one thousand sites allowing Gala Coral to move in to grow and develop their mobile gambling and gaming capabilities and catch up to their competitors in a very short timeframe.
In summary, the Springboard programme was delivered on-time and on-budget, it delivered three major new on-line businesses to enable Gala to catch up and surpass their major competitors in eighteen months. Customer numbers are growing slightly ahead of expectations with customer transactions values increasing.
References can be taken on the success of Springboard with Carl Lever and Andy Hornby CEO’s.
NHS Digital is a public sector body, sponsored by the Department of Health. Its responsibilities include providing information, data and IT systems for commissioners, analysts and clinicians in health and social care nationally. Operating across 16 sites, its procurement department manages more than 300 monthly ICT orders placed by more than 2,500 users.
NHS Digital, like all publicly funded organisations, is always seeking to ensure that it makes good use of resources. The procurement team wanted to increase efficiency and improve its existing procurement system by digitally automating the process. Any new system would need to include oversight that allowed for multiple levels of authorisation. Michael Flintoft, Head of ICT at NHS Digital, said:
“We had to keep the sign-off process in place but replace the simple electronic form filling that was taking up so much time. We needed a procurement tool that made the purchasing of IT equipment much quicker. With best value in mind, it was vital we had a system that could free up our team and deliver an eff ective system for the organisation.”
NHS Digital employed a Software and Services model, working with a nondeveloper team using the KnowledgeKube app platform to create a solution. The resulting on-premise application has automated the procurement workflow from point of approved product selection to purchase rationalisation. This includes aggregating up to 30 different ‘live’ data sources to deliver a bespoke catalogue of up to 10,000 products, including specialist bundled items. A concurrent user base of 2,500 has role-based visibility of products linked to them and can now place orders efficiently from numerous disparate locations.
Without writing code, KnowledgeKube’s simplicity has supported truly agile development, so NHS Digital has been able to implement ongoing iterations as functional requirements have extended. This allowed the procurement team to develop a third party ordering system, create a full auditing system and automate the invoicing process with complete interoperability across all systems.
Key application features include:
With a procurement solution capable of managing the whole IT purchasing process, NHS Digital has been able to cut procurement time on low value regular-buy items by more than 75%.
The ICT team took advantage of KnowledgeKube’s agility and has created several new functions, improving efficiency across the whole end-to-end procurement process. This is now providing the team with greater visibility across invoicing, auditing, stock management and third party ordering whilst allowing staff to act more efficiently.
“When we understood how easy it was to add functionality, we decided to create a fully integrated end-to-end system. This has provided us with a tremendous level of control – we are able to monitor all aspects of the procurement process. We can now, for instance, easily check whether a third party supplier has stuck to their SLAs in regards to the delivery of equipment. This is transforming how we operate and it is helping the team operate more efficiently,”
NHS Digital now has a scalable application that is designed to be upgraded simply and easily, without huge cost or risk. This means the ICT and procurement teams should be able to evolve the system as requirements grow with the business over time.
“We’ve already been able to increase the number of end users from 1,500 to more than 2,500. The solution we have is incredibly flexible and that is hugely reassuring. If we want to integrate another data source, for example, it shouldn’t take months of planning and involve huge costs – with KnowledgeKube we can just make it happen.”
Originally started in 1969, this retail business built its success through direct marketing through mail and print media. As it grew, it’s systems and processed have constantly evolved, with many in-house or bespoke solutions deployed across the estate, from purchasing right across marketing, operations, and finance. This growth was not just domestic but saw the retailer operate in markets across Europe, the Americas, and is most recently building business across Australasia and into China.
Its challenge in supporting this rapid business growth and expansion was to do so in a controlled way that allowed it to operate and report daily, keeping control of its costs and management of procedures. A complete review of the current IT infrastructure and landscape was required in-line with medium and longer-term business objectives, followed by a series of RFI’s and RFP processes to select ‘best of breed’ ERP, Warehouse and BI solutions, plus a review its approach to data hosting capability, with a focus on business continuity.
Already operating a highly efficient SAP warehouse solution, it was faced with replacing several disparate and out of support solutions that fed this operation, avoiding any interruption to trade across the global business. Having selected much of the Microsoft Dynamics AX components for its ERP and Finance, Oracle ATG for its digital shopfront, it partnered with Andrew Badham to bring relevant skilled resource in to underpin its development, build, test and lunch capabilities.
While outwardly simple to the customer, the vast choice of products and the hugely flexible purchasing plans and options available to customers, drove intense complexity. The team assembled by Andrew Badham we able to take this retailer on a journey that allowed it to incrementally develop, test and re-discover its final solution, and take it through a launch in the UK in June 2018. Thorough training for the entire business, and a controlled approach to cutting over to the new solutions was key and is recognised as a success, by the senior leadership team.
Having settled into this new solution it is now preparing to deploy this UK core model across its international markets. Doing so is allowing it to offer the innovative and exciting products customers expect and maintain its position as a leader in online retail.
An efficient and effective strategy to help reduce youth unemployment
Birmingham has the highest youth unemployment rate in Europe, and the city council was looking for ways to help young people get into employment, education or training within 4 months of registering for help.
The council was heavily reliant on spreadsheets to manage this, and wanted to create a cloud-based platform to streamline the process of matching young people’s skills to opportunities from employers, training providers, colleges and universities.
A bespoke portal where multiple stakeholders can collaborate
Birmingham City Council needed a solution that would seamlessly connect a wide range of stakeholders – young people aged 16 – 25, students aged 11 to 16, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the Birmingham Careers Service and local employers, training providers and universities.
It needed to be implemented quickly, and the portal had to integrate with legacy systems at a huge range of organisations.
“We were looking for a technology partner with an understanding of what we were trying to achieve, as well as the capability to deliver a solution that worked for our numerous stakeholders. We’re delighted at the results that KnowledgeKube has delivered within a short time frame, and we’re excited to be continuing our work and expanding the scope of the project to help more young people in Birmingham. With their fresh approach, we’ve created a portal which connects young people with employers, trainers and educators, empowering them to find the most appropriate and exciting opportunities.”
Margaret May, Department for Employment & Skills, Birmingham City Council.
A one-stop shop to help reduce youth unemployment
Starting with the various stakeholders involved, we mapped out how the portal would act as a one-stop shop to help reduce the number of young people in Birmingham classified as NEET (not in education, employment or training).
Using KnowledgeKube we then created a cloud-based portal for stakeholders to collaborate to meet the target of young people finding opportunities within 4 months of registration.
Young people can create a digital passport where they record their education, work experience and interests. The portal even generates a CV based on the entries. Employers, educators and training providers upload opportunities, and then the portal matches young people with them and provides feedback if they’re not successful.
Stakeholders such as the DWP and the Birmingham Careers Service can easily direct young people to the portal, and secondary schools can identify students at risk of becoming NEET to help them take up opportunities. The app sits on top of various legacy systems, and data is transferred to Birmingham City Council’s data warehouse so it can use existing reporting tools.
Swift, agile delivery with a secondary implementation ahead
Using a phased approach, Birmingham City Council introduced our portal to stakeholders quickly and seamlessly – the first version was live in just 6 weeks. This gave stakeholders the opportunity to give feedback for another 2 months, with further refining to improve functionality and usability. The portal is now poised to transform the way young people across the region approach education, employment and training.
We’ve now entered a secondary phase of implementation focused on rebranding, with local university students involved in creating the new look. We’re also working with the council to introduce additional functionality. For example, our Smart City concept will allow them to integrate school admissions and online courses into the single platform.
Ability to rapidly develop a collaborative solution
Using KnowledgeKube, our award-winning app development platform, we were able to develop a skills portal that met the precise requirements of Birmingham City Council and its stakeholders – and deploy it fast.
“We were looking for a technology partner with an understanding of what we were trying to achieve, as well as the capability to deliver a solution that worked for our numerous stakeholders. KnowledgeKube firmly ticked both boxes, and was able to meet our preferred timescales.”