Ongoing project

Directorate of Information Gateway tool

Improving how the Directorate of Information manages their services.
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Overview

Client

British Army Headquarters: Directorate of Information (D Info)

My role

Research, analysis, interaction design, user testing, development

Team composition

1x UX Designer
1x Power Platform Developer

Timeframe

3 months so far (ongoing project) - currently delivering the first phase.

Due to the nature of the client and for privacy reasons, I'm unable to share many artefacts or go in great detail on the process.

The solution

Summary
Our team was tasked with producing a web app for Army personnel to access services within the directorate. Accompanying this is a Case Management System (CMS) for the directorate to triage and manage the allocation of services.
Outcome
We built a bespoke solution that provides enhanced management capabilities as well as richer Management Information (MI) reporting. This allowed senior leadership to make data-driven decisions that inform resourcing and strategic planning within the directorate. Another benefit to the tool is the improved situational awareness and collaboration across the different business functions.
My impact
Shipped full end-to-end service within a short period, collaborating with cross-functional partners across all stages, from research, design, to development.
Conceptualised the vision, ran user research, and defined the solution by producing visualisations of business processes and concepts to provide clarity and direction.
Created cohesion and flexible integration by delivering designs that can be tailored to specific business processes and applied to a variety of services.
Streamlined the design to development process with a bespoke design system and accompanying component library as well as being involved with development.

The problem

Activity within the directorate is sparse and not centrally managed, hindering the ability for senior leadership to make data-informed decisions. The departments are siloed, resulting in duplication of effort, breakdowns in communication, as well as lack of collaboration across the different business areas. This presented the following problems:
Work being done not relating to the Army Chief Information Officer's priorities or the Army's strategic objectives
Senior leadership unable to accurately measure resourcing to fund projects and programmes
Inaccurate reporting and flow of information throughout the directorate from top-down and bottom-up
Confusion about who is responsible for what and who key decision-makers are
Backstory
The directorate has a wide-ranging portfolio of services, encompassing various business functions such as software development, business analysis, data governance & assurance, cyber & security, and more.

Although the intention for the app is to accommodate for a wide range of services, we focused on two key services for this phase of the project. These were digital change requests to be processed by the Digital Discovery team and Requests for Information (RFI) for general enquiries.

Approach

Discovery (research)
We undertook a qualitative research approach by conducting user interviews to understand pain points and how that affected the wider business. We spoke to the heads of department as they were the appropriate user group to get feedback from a strategic perspective. The questions were geared around uncovering the following:
What their department's function is and how it related to the directorate's objectives
What their business process looks like
What systems and tools they use to support their work
What Management Information would be beneficial to the business managers
Where they sit in the directorate's operating model
What blockers they face with their work?
Business analysis
Once we understood the scope of the project we investigated each business areas operating model and other artefacts to understand their business processes and how they fit into the big picture.
Process mapping
We worked closely with the directorate's strategic team to map out the operating model of the directorate to understand the scope of services provided by the different business areas and produce a service catalogue. This helped us understand the directorate's business process as well as what information we needed to capture for reporting.
Excerpt of the directorate's operating model
Proof of concept
We were able to rapidly produce an MVP of the solution using a model-driven Power Apps interface to demonstrate the efficiency and value of our solution. The tradeoff with this interface is that the UI is not as flexible or customisable as a canvas Power App, however the next step was to iterate and develop the MVP into a fully-fledged canvas app.
Design decisions
The overarching goal of the tool was to provide the customer with a sense of transparency and clarity, as well as streamline the process of accessing services within the directorate.

Taking into account variables such as users not being familiar with what the directorate does, we wanted to ensure the interface was straightforward to new users.
Key screen breakdown
One screen I'd like to highlight is the overview screen, which users can see when looking into a submission profile.

Feature

Stepper/Wizard.

Action

This enhances user guidance by breaking down the process into manageable steps. This is supplemented by status tags which provide visualisations of status updates.

Benefit

Each step is clearly defined, allowing users to track their progress and understand where their submission lies in the op model's process to provide clarity.