Public Sector

Australian Department of Defence

For the Department of Defence's Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG), the Interdependent Mission Management System (IMMS) supports proactive risk management and enables disruptive innovation.

IMMS helps Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG), part of the Australian Department of Defence, increase inter-agency visibility and accountability, manage risk, and support innovation.

“We have embarked on a journey of disruptive innovation. We don’t have time to navel-gaze; we have a need to operate differently and we need to do it now. We need to understand each other’s perspective, how our respective plans, performance and risks impact each other. We need an integrated picture of how it all hangs together so that we can improve governance, by making it active and outcomes-focused, and improve functions where it makes most sense.”

Tony Hindmarsh, Head of DMO Reform 

The challenge

Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group's (CASG) role is to purchase and maintain military equipment and supplies in the quantities and to the service levels that are required by Defence and approved by Government. It needs to fulfill this obligation in a way that is highly responsive to our customers and highly accountable to the Government and every Australian taxpayer.

In February 2011, the critical Royal Australian Navy asset HMAS Tobruk was unavailable at a time of crisis. A top-level review found that systemic maritime sustainment issues, including a lack of sharing of information between the Navy and the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG), were a main cause. As a result, the CASG enterprise risk management team worked with Navy Headquarters to address the risks of not sharing information. They needed a lateral solution to the ‘information sharing environment’ with the intent of reducing the risk of maritime assets not being available when required by Chief of Navy.

The solution

We collaborated with CASG to design an interdependent approach to managing the relationships and maintenance/supply contract (the interdependent mission), and particularly to improve integrated management of the keys aspects of this: outcomes, performance, risk and improvements. Defence’s approach to disruptive innovation required that the solution evolve rapidly and facilitate new thinking. We delivered on this by deploying ThoughtWeb’s configurable software platform for building collaborative decision management solutions. The resulting Interdependent Mission Management System (IMMS) is now part of overall Defence solution to enable partnering and the joint management of interdependent sustainment risks.

The outcomes

  • Visibility, accountability and proactive risk management

The IMMS now provides visibility of blind spots, accountability and activity, and has enabled the proactive identification and management of risks. This has led to improved understanding of the business and reduced lead times to treat risks. It has also fostered positive change in staff attitudes towards providing visibility and the management of risks, and helped to build mutual trust.

  • Enabling disruptive innovation

The configurable ThoughtWeb software platform enables IMMS to quickly, accurately and inexpensively respond to changes in expectation and needs. This has positioned IMMS to demonstrate ‘what is possible’ and to challenge current models and systems thinking.

  • Promoting best practices

IMMS has developed and tested approaches to promoting visibility, trust and interdependent risk management. Other Defence Groups and Services are now adopting the IMMS solution and these best practices.

How we delivered

  • Creating full visibility of outcomes, performance and risks

The IMMS is designed to highlight the sustainment ‘blind spots’ that exist because information may be known to one organisation but not to the other. It supports the effective, integrated, management of the interdependent outcomes, performance and risks inherent in service agreements, and focuses on mitigating risk by highlighting relationships, performance, accountability and responsibility. It allows leaders from both organisations to understand the implications of their decisions on the delivery of defence capability.

  • Enabling collaborative decision management

IMMS provides a shared collaborative decision management environment for staff from both Navy and CASG. They are able to collaborate in the context of risks, treatments, and other management artefacts such as mutual obligations. This contributes to building a “decision memory” for both organisations.

  • Integrating data from across the organisation

As the IMMS solution is delivered via the ThoughtWeb software platform, IMMS has the flexibility to use the connector architecture to source data using a mixture of information management architectures, including sourcing data from repositories (source systems, data warehouses). IMMS intelligently aggregates data sourced from enterprise systems and places this data into the context of the decision making framework. In some instances such as risks, IMMS has become the single source of truth.