From Manual to Digital: Building a Future-Ready Digitised System
For John Danson, assuming the role of CIO presented an opportunity to modernise the technology required for enhanced community safety. John remarks, "When you have fires of that scale and magnitude, doing things in a manual way just doesn't scale. There was this huge appetite to say, how can we use technology better to help us respond when we need to? The confluence of these things meant that as a CIO, I had a wonderful opportunity to invest and bring the best of modern technology to the way we work."
The heart of the transformation lies in the scientific foundations behind the signage. Deloitte constructed a platform with the capacity to assimilate complex and enriched data about environmental conditions and weather patterns. This information, combined with advanced modelling, enables the system to consistently communicate accurate fire danger ratings at scale through various channels. These channels include road signs, websites, the HazardsNearMe app, and other third-party platforms.
In any substantial digital transformation project, the volume of data, its accuracy, and effective utilisation are critical considerations. Many organisations find themselves overwhelmed by data, unable to process it efficiently or unsure of how best to harness its potential. For John, addressing these challenges formed a fundamental starting point: "We have huge amounts of data. The challenge for us has always been how do you access it at the right time? How do you make sense of it? We started off by looking at how we integrate data across key applications and business processes. Together with Deloitte, we examined all the applications we use in our office and identified the best way to integrate the data across them."
The recommendation involved building robust integration capabilities into the platform, a process spanning three years. The benefits of this approach manifest in the ease of connecting systems, sharing data, and reducing the manual effort required to transfer data between applications, with technology now seamlessly handling the process. John highlights “Deloitte looked at all of the market leading approaches to integration, so we've been able to leverage the out-of-the-box features in the tooling, and we're finding it easier and easier over time to integrate new systems but also get reuse from existing systems we've already invested in integrating.”
Collaboration played a central role throughout the transformative journey. Ben Thwaites explains, "Bringing together multiple organisations that all played a role in modernising the fire danger rating system, from data providers to academics studying data models and downstream organisations and systems consuming the data—this complexity posed a significant undertaking."
The ability to leverage new features and enhancements was also a crucial factor. Successful digital transformation projects must allow for future upgrades and integrations to remain valuable. The selection of AWS as the cloud provider for RFS facilitated rapid provisioning of computing capabilities to scale out applications in response to increasing demands for fire services. Furthermore, this choice ensures the incorporation of new features and enhancements inherent to cloud-native products.