FPS Finance - Pooling Resources and Sharing Knowledge
- Renew FPS Finance's infrastructure, applications and processes
- CSC’s SDLC (Software Development Life-Cycle Excellence). The SDLC encompasses all phases of a project: from the feasibility study, analysis and concept to testing, implementation, evaluation and maintenance.
- CSC has helped the organisation implement a performance management system
- Optimise quality, but also lead times and deadlines
Financial pressures, the drive to improve operational performance, increasing complexity of management – essentially, the challenges facing public services are the same as those in the private sector. The goal: create a high performance organisation as cost effectively as possible.
At the turn of the millennium, struggling with an obsolete information system, the FPS Finance (the department of the Belgian federal government in charge of pubic finances) decided, in the context of the Coperfin modernisation plan, to entirely renew its infrastructure, applications and processes. Basically, to start again from scratch! A gigantic project, but absolutely necessary to prepare the information systems of the FPS for the future.
Rebuilding the house on new foundations
The project had a major organisational as well as technical dimension. Previously divided into seven autonomous operating entities, the information systems of FPS Finance were first brought together in a single entity. Working methods were reviewed, along with the way in which the work itself is organised.
The data centres were also centralised. Where previously there were five data centres, only one is operational today, supported by a disaster recovery centre able to meet the strictest requirements in terms of uptime and robustness. In terms of infrastructure, mainframes are gradually giving way to a Unix Solaris environment. For developers, this renewal means finally the end of Cobol and the shift to Java.
CSC Development Centre... In FPS Finance
The challenge would have been impossible to take on alone, without taking several years and investing resources that were not available. So FPS Finance decided to call upon external suppliers, and launched a public tender. CSC was one of the winners. CSC is a long-standing partner of FPS Finance, and has among others helped the organisation implement a performance management system, which was followed by a project to develop a solution for monitoring and managing overall performance.
CSC suggested promoting cooperation between its own teams and the staff of FPS Finance by setting up a joint Development Centre, first hosted at CSC, and later within FPS Finance. At a time when offshoring projects are becoming increasingly popular, the approach taken by FPS Finance is a clear break with common wisdom. By managing the projects entrusted to it, CSC helps its clients make best use of their own resources while training them to use new tools and methodologies to achieve higher levels of quality than they would alone.
In contractual terms, CSC commits to deliver a result for a fixed price; CSC remains the project manager responsible for final delivery, although a significant share of the development work is carried out with resources provided by the client.
Sharing and Knowledge Transfer
The Development Centre is not a “factory” running according to a rigid operating model, based on productivity. Excellence counts above all else. In four years’ time, during a continuous relationship with FPS Finance, CSC in Belgium has developed unique experience based on sharing and knowledge transfer.
Although initially a specific project, this collaborative approach is today generating interest in other organisations, notably in the private sector. One of the effects of the economic recovery is that the market is now facing difficult conditions: development which was postponed for budgetary reasons now has to be accomplished as quickly as possible to safeguard competitiveness. Excellence doesn’t wait.