Toyota Australia puts BI in top gear

IT projects now delivered on time, within budget using business intelligence

Budget blowouts and delays were hampering IT projects at Toyota Australia until the car manufacturer rolled out a new business intelligence (BI) model.

Toyota Australia BI manager, Simon Dorrat, told delegates at Gartner’s BI and Information Management Summit that prior to the implementation, the business was not happy with what the IT department delivered and how long it took to get there.

“The project requirements were often incorrect or out of date by delivery time,” he said.

“That could be 12 months from when the requirements were signed off and during that time a lot can change in business.”

According to Dorrat, this led to a lot of frustration within the business and the IT department losing credibility.

In addition, the enterprise data Toyota Australia held was not been leveraged and the company was turning to outside IT providers.

After talking to management, Dorrat found the company wanted value for money and the ability to scope projects.

“We took all that impact from the business and came back with a new BI model which has helped us undertake four projects,” he said.

These included a learning management system (LMS) which went live in September 2011, a logistics project that went live during Q3 2011 and a transport department retention reporting project which is due to go live by 29 February this year.

“It’s based on eight steps, including plan, do and check,” Dorrat said.

“The planning stage is the key and that’s what is done differently. So when we start, we have a nominated cost and time but no scope.”

According to Dorrat, this was done so it could gain knowledge of what the business needed and set up a communication dialogue with senior management.

“When we deploy a BI project, the key thing is to make sure the value is maximised,” he said.

For example, the IT team manages the move from a paper based format to electronic.

“We always make sure there is live support for the first few weeks so the experience is a good one.”

With Toyota Australia’s LMS project, the system was rolled out in order to train dealership staff, service staff and technicians.

“There were 104 users across 10 divisions within Toyota Australia. Live data and the ability to create flexible reports was what they were looking for,” he said.

Dorrat said there were a few lessons learnt while rolling out the BI projects.

“We had an initial budget on project of $70,000 but when we got to the end we presented the company with a $150,000 budget. That was a shock to me as much as it was to them.”

Looking to the future, Dorrat said that as demand for BI projects was continuing to grow, the offering would be refined to allow Toyota to scale up as needed.

Read about Toyota Australia’s Cloud migration here.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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