Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service serves a population of more than 800,000 in the South East of England. The area stretches from the outskirts of London to the South Midlands. It comprises the four districts of Buckinghamshire – Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern, South Bucks and Wycombe, and Milton Keynes.
Before InPhase, what were your key issues and challenges within the organisation?
We were using a product from a competitor, and it was a disaster!
Technically, the application kept falling over on our infrastructure, despite trying for over 3 months to get it up and running on the network. Eventually we pulled the plug and went out to tender. Fortunately, InPhase bid and the rest is history!
From a functional perspective we also knew the organisation was information hungry. More was being asked from the team and it was almost impossible with the prior solution to deliver what was needed. Everything had been done manually and it was time consuming.
As we introduced InPhase there was a noticeable cultural shift as the whole Service became very focused on facts and information.
Describe the process of you working with the team to build InPhase?
As we started to work with the InPhase team, we were already very self-aware of our requirements. We knew what we wanted to do, and we jointly built a plan on how it would be delivered. We knew what we wanted to measure and the systems we needed to link into InPhase, this made our implementation much simpler.
From this solid foundation InPhase has delivered very dynamic and holistic business insights. Indeed, in our implementation, reporting is a live moving organic information machine delivered to people in their frame of reference. People are aware on a day to day basis what’s going on and how it is progressing.
The solution is a live natural moving machine. Yes, you can run reports but it is more about business intelligence and having real-time access and therefore not a snapshot at any one time.
Sounds amazing but how does it all work?
We use InPhase for our performance management board and corporate planning but unlike others, we have chosen not to deliver the information as a one-piece snapshot. At Bucks, people view it, update it and collaborate with other people on it in one seamless process.
Notably, feedback from our senior management team has been very positive. The senior team will delve into InPhase themselves to understand how well the organisation is performing.
There is a lot of information going out to stations from InPhase and that has had a direct improvement on performance. We do some really good work as an organisation, but we were poor to evidence this work. However now we have InPhase, we have the ability to evidence it clearly within the organisation.
I have to say, we love having the flexibility to manage and evolve our implementation ourselves now and it’s a real strength of the system that we can flex it to meet the changing demands of the Service – but please be aware of your own success! The more we built the more interest we had from the business!
If you could summarise the benefits to you and your organisation what would they be?
We have achieved many significant benefits from using InPhase.
A great example is with our resource management team. We have a third-party piece of software that tells us if our on call status and our availability of people manning them is performing well. However, we realised we needed more information than that. We also needed to know the type of availability - so was it available, on an incident or 1st / 2nd 3rd line, 5-minute turn around and so on.
The resources team investigated but the enhancement work by the 3rd party software company was predicted cost tens of thousands of pounds and take many months to deliver. Using InPhase, we went back to the Resources team with the information they wanted… and it did more than the original spec! We even added real-time geographic asset tracking of the fire pump locations. This was all done within 10 minutes and saved circa £20k. Every other service that has now seen this has said they want it too!
We even added real-time geographic asset tracking of the fire pump locations. This was all done within 10 minutes and saved circa £20k.Craig Newman - Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue
Separately, Incident Reports are now being completed much quicker! Normally it would take us a couple of months at the end of the year to get our reporting completed. Last year by the second day in April we had all our reporting in and done. InPhase saves us days and weeks of time. It also means people can identify critical action plans promptly as a result of the information.
They say, “what gets measured gets done” and it’s true! We showed turn-out-times (time to the fire) on an internal dashboard and consequently the performance went up! But it was not only about actual improvement (i.e. getting quicker). Because everyone was seeing their own data, they naturally spend more time insuring it was right and fixed data. If there was a problem with a recording of a time, they would go back to control and advise them.
As you can see, the visualisation and transparency of information has had a big impact on the way everyone works.
Overall, I would say the biggest improvement has been a cultural shift. Previously, performance was seen as a thorny science. People would spend time to try and unpick performance, often mistrusting it. Now, there is belief in the data and information. People understand performance and ask the right questions and it’s a natural part of their day jobs.
What would you do, if you were told that InPhase was being taken away?
It would be awful! We couldn’t manage with nothing!
We would struggle to evidence what we have done, what we are doing and what we plan to do (and why!). The time to write reports would be astronomical. Today, most people don’t come to us for performance information - They go to InPhase!
What is like working with InPhase the company?
We love the way InPhase as a company approaches its product. They listen to the customer and are constantly innovating. InPhase are very customer focused and approachable and take on new customer requirements unlike other vendors!