QLD Dept of Main Roads enables users to speak the same language

A financial management application developed and deployed in-house by the Queensland Department of Main Roads, has allowed its 500 users from 42 sites, over 14 districts, to now "speak the same language".

The DMR invested about $250,000 developing and deploying its custom-built financial management application called ProjMan, that went live earlier this year, with plans for the second release due May 2003.

DMR's south east Qld region senior advisor of information management Dereck Sanderson, said ProjMan standardises and automates the DMR's financial management systems, tracks accountability for projects and minimises the risk of accidental unauthorised expenditure.

Sanderson said the three-person project management team is "on the road", spending a week in each of the 14 districts to train users for the second release of ProjMan - to which "a few more bells and whistles have been added".

Previously, he said, each of the DMR's district offices used different systems -- some even paper-based -- to track the financial management of projects.

"With more than 400 projects in the Brisbane metropolitan area alone, it was important that staff were supported by a system that minimised the chance of human area," he said.

Sanderson said there are 500 users spread across 14 districts managing the delivery of road projects so the DMR wanted to make it easier for staff who changed jobs between districts by introducing a standard.

"Our staff move jobs between districts, so it makes it easier for them that when they go somewhere else, they will be using the same system, which rules out the need for retraining," he said.

Sanderson said some of the DMR's corporate systems that were in place before ProjMan were starting to show their age, were no longer best practice, and needed updating.

He said the ProjMan application was based loosely around a system built in-house in one of the districts, which was then used as a foundation for the development of the application.

"We had new business rules and processes that were introduced to minimise risks of the districts losing important data. The business processes include monitoring to report information on financial approvals, routine maintenance contracts, and key milestones for particular projects like building a bridge or highway," Sanderson said.

"We built the application because we couldn't buy one. Not so much due to the budget, but it was the business rules we had in place specific to DMR which we needed to capture and integrate into the application, which we could only do by building it."

Sanderson used Compuware's software application testing tool, Application Expert, to get performance right before going into production.

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