CIO100 2017 #31-100: Michael Middlemiss, NZ Parliamentary Service
Parliamentary Service has undergone a major transformation around Business Process Management. With a complex array of important customers, a major focus for the past year has been the implementation of standardised business processes. This is to ensure consistent service delivery within KPIs, says its CIO, Michael Middlemiss.
“This initiative has been led by the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) and has involved all groups across the organisation. The initiative is supported by Kete - our CRM system - which has been upgraded and had Business Process Flows developed within.
“The work has required engagement from almost every group within the Service, and this has been managed through different working groups created for each key serviceprocess (of which there are 12), and each process was sponsored by an ELT member,” says Middlemiss.
Services that are delivered by multiple groups across the organisation, are now tracked and assigned automatically to the relevant group at the right time in the delivery stage. This has resulted in an improved customer experience, a reduction in re-work and improved service delivery efficiencies.
“We have developed some innovative solutions recently, mostly in the mobile space, and two of which I'll refer to here.
“The first is our mobile application Virtual House (VH). This arose out of two drivers. One day in a conversation with the Deputy Clerk of the House, he noted that the Parliamentary TV (PTV) web stream didn't work on mobile devices," Middlemiss says.
“In another conversation with the Speaker of the House, the Speaker mentioned that it would be nice to have a seating plan for the House on his iPad. So, we developed the VH app that allows users to watch PTV, find where MPs sit in the House and their contact information. We have also added support for closed captions in the PTV feed.
“One of the interesting uses that has emerged is that MPs are using the app to track when they are needed in the House to speak.
“The other application is a private mobile application developed for our security team. The application allows security officers to look up who owns vehicles parked within the precinct, check if they have a valid permit and, when necessary, issue infringement notices. The application prototype was developed in a ‘hackathon’ type approach, which produced the prototype presented to the executives for sign-off.”
The mission statement of Parliamentary Service is to be recognised for innovation and excellence, says Middlemiss. So, there is support for innovation from the top down.
“However, innovation isn't free and you do need to balance operational excellence against innovation,” he points out.
“One thing we have concentrated on over the past few years has been to reduce complexity in the environment. We aim to rationalise the technology stack, remove technical debt and provide standardised (architectural) direction for current and future initiatives.
“This has resulted in less effort required for build/run type activities, allowing us to reallocate a portion of our resources to innovative initiatives. Having said that, we are heavily influenced by the electoral cycle, so sometimes (such as in election year) more effort is required on run, meaning less opportunity to innovate.
Middlemiss is a member of the executive leadership team, so he has influence in setting organisational strategy and making strategic and operational decisions.
“I work closely with my peers to understand their needs and support them. By doing this I demonstrate my understanding of the organisation and our strategy and objectives, while ensuring they come to IST to help solve problems, implement change and for strategic advice.
“I also meet regularly with a cross-party committee of MPs to help shape, form and influence the technology strategy for Parliament. As well, I meet with the Speaker of the House regularly to give him updates and describe the work programme, and what it will mean for Parliament.
“I hold regular one on one meetings with my peers to talk about what we are working on, how we can help them with their needs/problems and hear what they have coming up. All my direct reports do the same with their peers.”
Once or twice a year he holds a "town hall" style presentation, to give an update on progress against the delivery of the ISSP.
“We have a regular System Owners (SO) forum where the SOs collectively agree the work priorities for the coming quarter. Designated account managers meet regularly with VIP's - including members of Parliament - to ensure current needs are being meet and future needs are understood.”
He points out the information service group is a diverse team, culturally and ethnically, with a good gender balance.
“We have a strong personal and professional development programme in place across the organisation, and in the past few years have focused on developing a culture and behaviours we can be proud of.
“Succession planning is a conscious activity and I have staff who could step into my role should it be needed. Each people manager is expected to provide mentoring and development opportunities for their staff, and the the ELT is no exception. It is just a part of who we are and how we work.”