FIS Benefits Report and Strategy Paper using Benefits Realization
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1.1 FIS PROJECT AND ASSIGNMENT OVERVIEW
FIS is a government-wide initiative to implement accrual accounting and other strategic changes across the Canadian federal government, as part of the Comptrollership Modernization initiative. All departments and agencies have until April 1, 2001 to become FIS compliant.
The vision for FIS is to enhance the government's decision-making and improve organizational performance through the strategic use of financial information. The mission is to better support program review, business planning, budgeting, expenditure management and other management and decision-making processes, as well as facilitate accountability for program and financial results by enabling improved estimates and performance reporting to Parliament.
Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) requested that DMR Consulting conduct this Benefits Realization assignment in order to help guide departments and TBS in using a benefits-focused approach to achieving the vision. The objective of the assignment was to conduct a broad exploration of FIS using the Benefits Realization method to determine the business outcomes and benefits of investing in FIS. It was also intended to help build consensus among key stakeholders in departments and TBS on the relative importance of these benefits, and the extent to which they can be achieved and measured. This ultimately increases the probability of true success of the overall FIS initiative in the eyes of departments and TBS senior management.
1.2 THE BENEFITS REALIZATION PROCESS
DMR Consulting's Benefits Realization is a systematic approach that helps ensure the successful realization of the benefits expected from important investment decisions. It is designed to deal with identifying and evaluating the benefits of a program / initiative up front as well as the dynamics of achieving, tracking and harvesting those benefits. In short, it helps optimize the value of investments by clearly linking them to the expected outcomes.
It helps to determine what needs to be done by those involved to achieve the expected benefits. It is this aspect of DMR Consulting's Benefits Realization that was put to the greatest use within the scope of this FIS assignment, through the facilitation of a number of workshops with a cross-section of government departments and central agencies. A particular strength of the approach was to stay organizationally independent and work across all types of organizations and responsibility structures.
The Results Chain is a highly effective benefits realization technique. Not only has it been designed specifically to help realize benefits, but it is also an excellent visual technique for simplifying the presentation of the complex and inter-related outcomes, initiatives and risks associated with a program or project. This feature makes it particularly useful in achieving consensus and cooperation, by easily presenting goals, objectives and benefits that cross organizational lines.
Another key feature of the Results Chain is its ability to foster ownership of, and responsibility for achieving the benefits associated with investments. By using the Results Chain to continually track the initiatives, assumptions and risks, early corrective action can be taken when deviations from the plan are detected. Through on-going use of the Results Chain, ownership of the monitoring task is clarified and thus ownership reinforced. It is expected that the Results Chain that was developed during this assignment will continue to serve as a useful communications vehicle throughout the FIS Project life.
The Results Chain model is used to highlight and manage the following:
Initiatives/investments required in order to achieve the benefits. These included actions that have already been started, as well as other initiatives that have been identified from the Results Chain;
Benefits expected from the FIS project. These include the original benefits anticipated and any emerging benefits identified later on;
Assumptions / risks associated with specific initiatives and outcomes; and
Accountability and authority for initiatives, outcomes and assumptions.
1.3 THE FIS BENEFITS REALIZATION ASSIGNMENT
In April and May 2000, DMR Consulting researched the current FIS situation and conducted interviews with selected stakeholders within the FIS Project.
Following the research and interviews, a first cut Results Chain was developed to reflect the findings at that time. A first workshop was held on May 1st, to further develop the Results Chain and build a greater understanding and consensus around the benefits to be achieved through FIS. Following the workshop, DMR Consulting updated the Results Chain to capture the new information and changes.
Subsequent workshops on May 12 and 16 fleshed out the initial Results Chain, which was rescoped to be the Manager's View. A final workshop was added on June 2 in order to take a first cut at the Results Chain – DM / ADM View of FIS Benefits.
The Benefits Register was also discussed throughout the workshop process. It focused on meaningful measurement of expected results and benefits, which ultimately allows for ongoing benefits management by the FIS Project.
The workshops also gave rise to a number of issues and considerations that must be addressed within the overall FIS Project. These have been captured in Section 4.0 of this report.
Finally, presentations were made to the FIS Forum on at least three occasions to inform them of the progress of the assignment, and to show them the Results Chain and Benefits Register deliverables. The audiences were extremely interested in the benefits approach, and were able to take away sample deliverables and the key messages back to their departments.
The project team is very grateful to the excellent participation by all members of the workshops. Their points-of-view and enthusiasm led to very interesting and meaningful discussions, which ultimately improves the effectiveness of the FIS project. The following table is the list of workshop participants:
|Departmental Manager –
|Dr. John Carey|
|Departmental Finance Manager – DFAIT||Adam Blackwell|
|Departmental FIS Project
Team Leader – RCMP
|Departmental FIS Project
Team Leader Correctional Services
|Departmental Corporate Program Planning Manager – NRCAN||Peter McClure|
|Departmental Real Property Manager – Fisheries and Oceans||Glen Condran|
|Departmental Asset Manager – Canadian Coast Guard||Sylvain Lachance|
|TBS Comptrollership Modernization Office||Judy Watling|
|TBS FISPO||Jim Libbey|
|TBS Program Branch - Foreign and Defence Programs||Doug Shaw|
|TBS Results Measurement & Accountability||Peter Green|
|TBS Chief Information Office||Valerie Kowalchuk|
|PWGSC - Government Operations Sector||Allen Rule|
Real Property Services
|TBS Financial Management Policy and Analysis Sector||Rod Monette|
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