Victorian grant administration overhaul sparked department-wide change

The Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions used the overhaul of its grants administration system to take a look at its entire toolset and how it could work with the rest of the Victorian public service.

The Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, among other things, awards grants covering sectors such as agriculture, regional development, and sports.

It set out to revamp the system that it used to administer grants, choosing to continue its now 10-year partnership with Salesforce, turning to the tech giant for its Lightning solution.

See also: How Salesforce builds loyalty by investing in the success of its developers, admins, and customers (TechRepublic)

The department's director of program transformation Megan Smart said the new system is expected to go live within weeks.

"We were early adopters of the Salesforce platform. We had been using it as an internal tool, particularly around engaging with our external clients," Smart said during Salesforce World Tour Reimagined on Wednesday.

"So the CRM module -- eight years ago, we actually used the system to manage all of our grants. So it's actually become a tool that was quite extensively used to manage a very large grant portfolio."

In making the choice to upgrade to Lightning, Smart said the department knew its existing solution was no longer fit for purpose. It was also reaching its end of life.

"So we took the opportunity rather than just doing a like for like transformation, giving us ubiquitous nature right across not only our department and other departments across the Victorian public service to actually reimagine what we were using the tool for," she said.

"Have a consistent approach to government across a variety of different grant programs."

Smart said the overhaul project was a chance for the department to take a look at its operations and seek opportunities to work with other state departments.

"We had to consider it not only as a system but as a digital enabler, so not only for our pipeline management for the grant management component, but ensuring that staff had access to the information," she said.

"We actually took this piece as a large reform. And then certainly as the technology evolves, and with the three releases a year, that will be an important and ongoing process.

"It was an opportunity to down tools to retool and then we'll evolve as contemporary IT practices come in … where we're at now is such a fundamental change and opportunity to go hand in hand with new technology."

With the system set to deploy in the coming weeks, Smart said the department is undertaking a "very significant" uplift program with its staff. She said it's the first time staff will have access to an end to end, streamlined digital solution.

"And then for us, it's the ability to have engaging conversations with other departments in the Victorian public service, who are already using Salesforce to adopt the project principles and the underlining technological architecture," she added. "Going forward, [it's] just such a huge opportunity … having real-time data to inform great policy outcomes."

MORE FROM VICTORIA