Assetic, VHBA and allaboutXpert – Transparency and Collaboration: Informed Decision Making for Victoria’s Health Portfolio


1. Summary of the project, product, framework

The Victorian Health Building Authority (VHBA) leads planning, delivery and oversight of Victoria’s health infrastructure, operational management of which is via stewardship with 86 health services.

In 2019 VHSSBA set out to advance overall asset management maturity via implementation of a unique Asset Information Management System (AIMS) to manage cost, risk and performance of:

  • 10mil+ hospital bed days / year[1]
  • 2500 critical health asset facilities
  • $16.6bil built infrastructure

The resultant AIMS now ensures the systematic, coordinated availability of all asset information, fuelling capital investment decisions with accurate lifecycle information and powerful analytics.

2. Description of the project or framework addressing the assessment criteria

VHBA faced a challenge common among agencies with large asset portfolios operated by separate partners or health services – ageing technology and assets, shifting service requirements and a lack of an accurate, centralised view of distributed assets and their related financial sustainability. This put VHBA at significant risk; there was little visibility as to the state of these essential assets, how they were performing and the cost to maintain them.

Further, if we apply industry standard asset degradation assumptions of 3-4% per year, a lack of coordinated intervention could result in consumption equating to up to $664mil lost value to the VHBA portfolio every year (refer Section 4).

The combined AIMS Delivery Team (VHBA, aaX and Assetic – refer Section 3) set out to solve this problem, providing a platform which:

  • Collated asset data from partners and agencies in a standard format to verify key asset condition and performance metrics
  • Provided data analytics to show performance trends by (i) agency/partner and (ii) across the whole portfolio in powerful, digestible reporting outputs
  • Supported sophisticated data analytics to drive evidence-based funding decision making for the VHBA

Use of Best Practice Asset Management Principles

VHBA operates within the boundaries of a regulated environment and is driven towards achieving AMAF target asset management maturity and ISO55000 alignment with one source of asset data truth and evidence-based capital investment planning.   

This AIMS project enabled VHSSBA’s journey to uplift asset management capability and achieve the following:

  • Compliance with AMAF requirements
  • Improved visibility of asset portfolio health and subsequent investment requirements
  • Development of data analytics to inform strategic planning and decision making
  • Improved management of risk to critical infrastructure
  • Effective and efficient management of the performance of the asset portfolio
  • Greater efficiency and transparency with external health services providers

As a result of this project VHBA can now manage the ongoing risk cost and performance of assets in a reliability-based asset management model, utilising the AIMS platform which enables business capability shift and modernisation of overall organisational asset management.

Degree of originality and ingenuity of the solution

The AIMS brought together a complex web of data across VHSSBA and its health agencies (simple spreadsheets from small agencies, detailed EAM databases from larger) safely, securely and in-line with regulations.

Agencies can now access and manage data through a secure AIMS Portal, allowing aligned strategic asset management planning for each agency and the entire State from one source of truth.

AIMS PowerBI dashboard reporting generates a wide range of outputs for individual scenarios and scenario comparison across a range of metrics. These are available for insertion into agencies’ dashboards, with an overarching VHBA dashboard consolidating this information. Comparison reports illustrate how today’s budget decisions affect asset performance, service levels, and subsequent risks into the future. This information is available to all agencies and is consolidated at a State-Wide VHBA level to support options analysis for AMP and SAMP definition.

See below AIMS Solution architecture supporting the dashboard reporting capability:

Architecture components:

  • VHSSBA AIMS Single Sign On capability with the Oracle Solution met DHHS IT Requirements for the Department’s Azure Active Directory Authentication
  • Oracle Cloud Technology provided security of data and workflows across Portal access by external Health Services Agencies and internal VHBA Staff
  • Oracle Integration Cloud Middleware provided the integration to Assetic by calling Assetic APIs integration end points
  • The Assetic solution is based on the recommendations in the International Infrastructure Management Manual (IIMM) and supports the requirements of the AMAF state-specific asset management guidelines
  • Future capital investment models were published to PowerBI and accessed from the VHSSBA PowerBI Workspace using the Oracle Cloud Technology

Figure 1: System Architecture Components

See below examples of asset dashboards available to VHBA and agency staff powered from a single source of truth, mitigating asset risk and aiding efficient investment decisions:

Additional Dashboard reporting included:
1  NPV Scenario Analysis
2 Cashflow Projections
3 Asset Service Levels
4 Funding Distribution Analysis
5Renewal Gap (Backlog Funding Report)
6Capital Renewal and Work Plans
7Year Level Comparisons
8 Service Level Comparisons
9Benefit Cost Comparison Report

Figure 2: Dashboard Examples

Program and project management

At the outset of the project a structured, accelerated delivery approach was used to identify, document, track and manage the consequences of all risks throughout the project lifecycle. Ordinarily this means delivery of pre-scheduled showcases of the solution with significant development between every workshop.

However, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic meant this complex, transformative work was to take place under unforeseen pressure, yet could not risk VHSSBA’s ability to deliver vital day-to-day health services to the community.

Success during the pandemic

Thanks to agile project management the AIMS team and agencies quickly adapted to working remotely. This in fact improved access and broadened the network of stakeholders involved, fostering an even-greater transparent working relationship. Rather than iterating between scheduled showcases and then gathering feedback, collaboration was more immediate; identification and development of next steps was more iterative and responsive.

Successful delivery was now reliant on a change from the normal vendor-public sector entity relationship. The AIMS Team (refer Section 3) brought their respective areas of subject-matter expertise to better understand the project complexities and solve problems pragmatically with no view of blame.  Agencies were brought in quickly as required, increasing their access and subsequent ownership of the AIMS. Having the ‘right people’ involved in sprints increased exposure to complex problems; the AIMS Team’s new motto was to “fail fast”, resolve problems and move forward.

AIMS functionality was therefore added more incrementally and a proof-of-concept AIMS was rapidly developed for testing by VHBA stakeholders, showcasing the target state based on best practice asset management reference models and user journeys from Assetic and aaX.

Subsequent solution delivery and adoption of business change was tightly aligned – absolutely key to success during the pandemic while working from disparate locations for a state-wide rollout. 

Benefit/Value of the project or service to the community or organisation

The resultant AIMS will drive benefits to the State and wider Victorian community through two main aspects.

Firstly, it enables the proactive monitoring of asset risk – the goal of all asset managers, but increasingly challenging in this complex environment with such varying levels of resourcing, data and maturity across agencies. Assets can now be replaced before failures, preventing serious incidents that can have major impact on staff and patients, and ensuring essential health services are available to the community whenever there is a need.

This intervention is driven by proven modelling using best-practice principles and minimal human intervention to drive objective, data-driven decision making and ensure that failure events are predicted before they occur.

Secondly, the AIMS will enable asset investment prioritisation through an evidence-based approach relying on key data relating to asset condition, performance, and risk. This will ensure investment allocation is prioritised, money is spent wisely to realise efficiencies across the health system, and these essential community assets are providing the services required of them at the optimal cost.

3. Opinion as to specific contribution made by the nominated individual/team/organisation

The health industry has faced a number of challenges in recent years. An increase in health risks, aging systems and equipment, changing patterns of supply and demand, rapidly degrading assets – all while trying to balance a reasonable budget. For many agencies, implementation of an EAM (Enterprise Asset Management) system and strategy helped combat these issues while also maintaining community service, meeting patient service demands and managing overall operations as outlined in the Health System Statewide Planning Document. However, for the overarching department (VHBA) this lead to disparate systems, incompatible data, and little to no visibility of asset state and subsequent financials.

At the outset of this AIMS project VHBA had no assurance or visibility that partners were appropriately managing (i) the condition, and (ii) future financial sustainability of the assets.

Much of the asset information was contained within disparate EAM systems or (in the case of smaller partners managing a handful of assets) manually maintained. Information was fragmented and inconsistent across systems, with limited visibility of critical asset information such as performance metrics, condition and criticality.

This project saw the bringing together of three forward-thinking organisations to solve this complex problem:

VHBA – sought, facilitated and embraced technological change to launch a platform which tackles the challenges common of so many similar large, complex State agencies in a new way. Furthermore, this was achieved during a time of extreme communication upheaval thanks to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in 2020.

Assetic – experts in strategic asset management and predictive analytics, brought best practice asset management knowledge and latest-tech software to deliver decision making analytics with powerful visualisations.

allaboutXpert (aaX) – as leading project managers with strong experience in complex system integration, aaX were able to connect Assetic’s analytics platform with the Oracle Cloud Solution and with VHBA data inputs in a secure, centralised environment.

The combined aaX and Assetic team collaborated closely with VHBA to deliver a platform which solved this problem securely and efficiently – delivering results today, and using best-practice asset management structures to allow it to further improve and mature into the future.

From a delivery perspective, aaX and Assetic collaborated with VHBA to rapidly gather, align and amalgamate agency data and expose it to users as quickly as possible. This approach allowed dramatically reduced project risk; new features were reviewed swiftly and collaboratively, issues resolved quickly under a “fail fast” motto, and buy-in and ownership encouraged from the outset.

4. General comments you may wish to add

The AIMS project has practiced the main four asset management principles of:

  1. Output-focused
  2. Capabilities
  3. Level Assurance
  4. Learning Organisation

The alignment between the AIMS project implementation and the VHBA’s Strategic Asset Management Plan and its objective created a clear line of sight from the department’s strategic directions to the expected functionalities of the system (Figure 3 – Babushka model).  

Figure 3: Babushka Model of output focused and alignment
of AIMS objectives with department’s strategic plan

This AIMS project not only uplifts the operational, maintenance, planning and delivery capability of the health asset portfolio, but also enables capabilities from other parts of the department through interactions with Health and Wellbeing, VAHI, Capital Projects divisions and external health services. This is shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4: Capability enhancement and interactions with internal divisions and external health services

Assurance processes played an important part in the design of the AIMS system to ensure validated and assured data enters the system and is part of the evidence-based decision making and scenario generations. While as stated the agile project management and consultations with advisory groups refined implementation in stages, allowing for responsive, iterative development. This mean in-built AIMS capabilities, such as request logs or reporting flexibility, were shaped with extensive feedback and review to ensure not only that the current system is robust and mitigates asset risk today, but is also future proof to be able to flex and improve continuously as the system matures and the requirements or the direction of the organisation change. 

Figure 5 also depicts the interrelationship between VHBA’s overall asset management system and Asset Information Governance Strategy, performance monitoring and asset lifecycle as main components of the Asset Information Management System.

Figure 5: Interrelationships between the VHBA’s overall asset management system
and the main components of AIMS

Ultimately this project has taken vast steps towards protecting VHBA from significant financial risk through optimised, data-driven investment decision making. It is estimated that the average asset portfolio degrades at average 3-4% per annum. By optimising interventions in line with strategic asset management best practice this consumption rate can be reduced by a conservatively estimated 0.5% – which when applied to VHBA’s $16.6bil portfolio could realise savings of up to $83mil every year.

[1] Victorian Agency for Health Information (VAHI) Jan-Dec 2020

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