We interviewed Liz Ridley, Head of Performance Management at East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service on why they purchased InPhase and what benefits they're already getting out of the platform and what they aim to achieve in the future.
"..instantly you can see where the fires are happening, what types they are, how quickly did we get there.."
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We were entirely manual, so our performance reporting was done separate spreadsheets, we had several different types of reports, word reports Excel reports, there was no comprehensive view performance management, station managers were having six or seven emails per day telling them to look at one system for sickness data, telling them to look at another system for their other bits and pieces they needed to see. The information was really hidden, it wasn’t visible to the organisation, and we just needed to do something differently.
Because it was the best product out there. Basically we went through several business cases and we had three attempts at our service to get a performance management system in, for various reasons there was an IT freeze on the second attempt, so on the third attempt third time lucky we had a number of software suppliers in, and InPhase still remained the best out of all the one’s we had seen previously as well.
We had seen InPhase on the other two attempts when we had gone out to tender for a performance management system, and by that time around, the development of InPhase was so much greater. So, I was not just buying a business intelligence system, I was also buying projects.
We are on the start of our journey with InPhase, so we are building the business intelligence side of it, where we are getting all our existing performance indicators and our existing performance reports available instantly for people to see.
We are building the structure of the reporting side of it, so we report against our purpose and commitments, and then we will look at extending that into departments as well over the next twelve to eighteen months we will be corporate planning, service plan, team plans, action plans.
We will then look at projects, getting our activities linked to our service plans. We will then be looking at risk, and from some of the information I have seen today about the finance aspect of it, and other services integrating with the Saps system, then that is a really big bonus for me, in terms of the information I have seen today, and that will be our fifth part of the project.
I think between now and eighteen months’ time, we will have a fully functioning integrated system. So, it will be our planning, it will be our performance, it will be our risk and it will be our intelligence that will be on there, I think between twelve and eighteen months.
At the moment, because we always report a month in arrears, our corporate level it’s three months we report quarterly. So at the minute we have connected to two of our major source systems, so we have all our fire data that is available instantaneously, so you can click on it and see the number of fires where they are happening.
Immediately it has thrown up issues around data quality, so we can put those right straight away, where before they were hidden, and after twelve months we might do an audit of the system and find out we had issues. But instantly you can see where the fires are happening, what types they are, how quickly did we get there. So it has just brought all that information to life, 24 hrs after we have actually been to the incident, the information is there for me, I consider that to be a little bit of magic, it appears before us, whereas before we would have to look through different systems.
If we wanted to look for HR data, we would have to log onto their HR system, so it’s just instant information, which is already giving benefits to the organisation, and it will only improve as we go forward.
Part of the implantation, what I wanted to achieve first, was that our standard corporate performance reports were done as part of the roll out. So that we could then spend time developing the rest of the system.
We are only really reporting about ten percent of the information that exists out there. I need my team to instantly hit a button on those reports and be available, so we can actually get into the real intelligence, rather than just keep reporting the top level indictors, so we can really start doing some real clever stuff and start putting budgets in against performance so we can get the insight that we need.
At the moment we get top line figures, that we don’t really understand if they are good or bad, we don’t understand why there have been more fires this month then last month. We can now do more analysis that we need to do to really understand what’s going on in the communities and understand why they are having the type of fires they are having.