London Borough of Harrow embarked on a strategic initiative to modernise its planning system by implementing the Idox Cloud Built Environment solution to replace its current NEC M3 on-premise platform. The project aimed to replace the existing, outdated system with a more efficient, user-friendly, cloud-based SaaS planning solution. This initiative was driven by a commitment to enhance service delivery, resident experience, streamline internal processes, and ensure compliance with changing regulations.
31ten were brought in due to our experience with system implementations in this space and tight project timelines which resulted in the system needing to be live within eight months of project inception. This was a high-profile project and needed to be completed to a high standard within record-breaking timescales.
Our assignment was to lead the planning system replacement. This encompassed managing the project lifecycle, supporting the system configuration to meet Harrow’s specific planning needs, and overseeing a comprehensive data migration strategy. The project demanded a meticulous approach to risk management, stakeholder engagement, and data and quality assurance, especially during the critical phases of User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and data migration.
Project Management: Guiding the project through its various phases, building a critical path, ensuring milestones were met, and deliverables were achieved within the agreed timelines and budget.
Customised System Configuration: Working closely with both the Idox team and London Borough of Harrow’s Planning department, we tailored the planning system to fit the specific needs of the Council’s planning services. This included custom module development, interface design, communication templates, and functionality enhancements.
Comprehensive Data Migration Strategy: Understanding the criticality of data integrity, we developed a detailed migration plan. This involved support for data cleansing, mapping, testing, and a phased migration approach to minimise operational disruption.
Robust Testing and Quality Assurance: We led a rigorous testing phase, involving iterative cycles of scripting, testing, feedback, defect management and improvements. This ensured that the system was not only functional but also aligned with user expectations.
Stakeholder Engagement and Training: Recognising the human element in system implementation, we conducted extensive training sessions, workshops, and ongoing support initiatives to facilitate a smooth transition for all council staff and stakeholders.
Post-Implementation Review and Optimisation: Following the system going live, we conducted a series of reviews to ensure the system was delivering the intended benefits, leading to further refinements and optimisations.
Successful System Implementation: The Idox Cloud planning system was implemented on schedule, meeting functional and technical requirements with downtime of only a week, which was significantly reduced from the initial four weeks in the original plan. This was commended by all stakeholders due to the implementation being completed in record time and to plan.
Smooth Data Migration: A successful data migration strategy ensured that all historical and operational data was accurately transferred to the new system with minimal downtime.
Enhanced Planning Processes: The new system provided a more efficient, user-friendly interface, improving the overall efficiency and accuracy of the council’s planning services.
Reduced Risks and Issues: Through proactive risk management and defect resolution, the project maintained its scope and quality objectives, ensuring a stable and reliable system.
Improved Stakeholder Engagement: The project’s focus on stakeholder engagement led to improved collaboration and communication between the council, services, and other stakeholders, fostering a more inclusive and user-centric platform.