Transforming the way the Met Office works
Right across the world, every single day, people make decisions based on the weather. As the UK’s national meteorological service and one of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) partner organisations, the Met Office provides critical services to the public, industry and policymakers. Met Office weather and climate forecasts, available 24/7, help guide decisions, so people and businesses can be safe, well and prosperous.
To help ensure that the Met Office continued to provide a world class service via both its public and commercial operations, the organisation was engaged in a multiyear programme of Transformation and Efficiency.
This programme instigated the transformation in the way the Met Office works so that it is both simpler to work with and simpler to work for. It also realised cost savings as part of the Met Office response to the most recent UK Government Spending Review.
For the commercial side of the business, part of the Business Group inside the Met Office that accounts for some 10% of total revenues, the programme meant delivering enhancements and efficiencies in the service delivery of its bespoke weather services.
These services, based on the detailed weather data the Met Office collects, are used by organisations in a range of sectors to inform critical decisions – from resource management to staffing levels and logistics. As a result, commercial weather forecasts need to be timely and easy to access.
However, the Met Office’s existing processes for accessing these services were siloed and highly resource intensive, impacting the speed of access to the data included in the weather reports and alerts.
As such, the Met Office identified the need to enhance its sales processes to be able to provide better customer information faster.
“To realise such immediate benefits, while also delivering on time and on budget, takes strong working relationships between all the parties involved, clear objectives and clear ownership. In this project, the partnership between the Met Office, Microsoft and NTT DATA achieved on every count.”
Head of Central Government
NTT DATA UK
The Met Office’s commercial weather services are delivered via a sales order process managed by a legacy CRM system. It was imperative for any replacement CRM to offer a significant functional upgrade and to free staff from time-consuming manual work.
Adopting an agile approach, the new service was based on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement – the market-leading SaaS based CRM platform – to ensure a best-of-breed solution. With strong experience in delivering Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementations for public sector organisations, NTT DATA UK was selected as the delivery partner.
NTT DATA UK assembled a team to configure and develop the new platform to meet the Met Office’s expectations in terms of functionality and usability. Aligned with the Government Digital Service’s methodology, after a Discovery phase, delivery was achieved through a set of sprints that focused collaboration between NTT DATA and the Met Office on realising immediate business benefits.
New Microsoft Dynamics 365 solution delivered immediate ROI
Visible improvement in three months
328 days of manual data eliminated in two months
“NTT DATA proved themselves to be ethical and trustworthy both in terms of the value for money they provided and in their knowledge of CRM.”
Product Owner at MetOffice
A seamless deployment
The NTT DATA team worked with the Met Office Product Owner to define a minimum viable product (MVP) for the solution. This included building the core functionality of the new system to replace the legacy product, a full data migration and integration with other Met Office systems.
Data has been made available to be exploited via the Common Data Service, with Power BI providing enhanced reporting capabilities to drive better business decisions. The MVP was implemented with the
full functionality required on time (which was specifically important due to GDPR legislation) and within budget. Following go live, NTT DATA provided hyper-care via the development team, who were located at the Met Office. Once users were proficient with the system and there were no issues outstanding, solution support was handed over to the Met Office’s internal support service.
After four months the team moved onto the full operational capability roll out. This included enhancements to support further process improvements and efficiencies, additional integrations with other applications and enhanced document generation with automated SharePoint upload. Dynamics 365 provides a scalable platform for the future, offering easy configuration of out-of-box tools to support an evergreen platform.
The more modern user interface was better integrated with Met Office systems
The impact of the solution has been immediate. Supported by a clean and modern user interface and greater integration with internal Met Office systems, the two-way integration with the Finance System saw an immediate improvement in the flexibility of Financial interactions for Credit Checking, Invoicing and Credit Notes within the first three months of go-live.
Equally important, this increase in demand was achieved while also realising a significant increase in efficiency in the sales process – with less admin and more time freed up for selling. In just the first two months of implementation, a total of 328 days’ time was saved by the sales team.
Commenting on the success of the project, Chris Jones, Head of Central Government for NTT DATA UK, said: “To realise such immediate benefits, while also delivering on time and on budget, takes strong working relationships between all the parties involved, clear objectives and clear ownership. In this project, the partnership between the Met Office, Microsoft and NTT DATA achieved on every count.”
Andy Clough, Director Public Sector Business Applications at Microsoft, added: ‘We are really pleased with the business outcomes that have been enabled for the Met Office. Our joint-working has been at the heart of the programme’s success and builds on our track record of delivering transformation programmes with NTT DATA.”
Amanda Squires, Product Owner at MetOffice, added: “NTT DATA proved themselves to be ethical and trustworthy both in terms of the value for money they provided and in their knowledge of CRM.”