We recently sat down with the lovely Mii Lemalu (FMIS Project Manager) and Natasha Areora (Finance Systems Analyst) of the Cook Islands Government in Agilyx’s Sydney HQ to learn about their tropical place of work and how the Cook Islands Government’s digital transformation project with Agilyx is going so far.
For the past 10 months, we’ve been working closely with the Cook Islands Government implementing an integrated FMIS solution and change program that will streamline the public financial management (from budget preparation and execution to accounting and reporting of line ministries, spending agencies and other public sector operations) in this unique Pacific nation.
Let’s see what they had to say!
Q: The Cook Islands seems like such a beautiful place. Can you tell us a bit about it and the Cook Islands Government?
A: The Cook Islands is a beautiful and remote nation of 15 islands in the Central South Pacific. Rarotonga is the largest island, and where the capital and seat of government exist.
The Cook Islands Government (CIG) is the official governing body of the Cook Islands and is made up of over 40 Agencies. This project is an initiative driven from within the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management for all of CIG.
Q: What kind of system is currently in place? What are the challenges?
A: The biggest challenge of having multiple finance software versions and disparate systems across all the CIG Agencies has created the opportunity for such a project like the FMIS Implementation to bring everyone into the same system and onto one platform.
Any organisation that chooses to embark on such a journey must address the requirements of the individual operations as well as the over-arching accountability with accurate and timely financial information – not an easy feat by any means!
Q: How will the implementation of Unit4 Business World help you tackle these challenges?
A: As mentioned earlier, we are standardising financial processes across the board and putting the entire government system onto one platform – and Unit4 Business World has a major part to play in the solution.
The immediate benefits we look forward to with updating the system is greater accuracy of data and timeliness of that information. These benefits will, in time, increase the transparency of our government organisation and lead to better decision making.
As a government agency, what we do is for the welfare of the citizens of the Cook Islands and it is crucial that our operations continue to perform our responsibilities in public financial management.
Q: How has your experience working with Agilyx been? How has the project gone so far?
A: We have been working with Agilyx for over 12 months and implementing for 10 of those months so far and, from the start, the Agilyx consultants have been consistently professional and communicative, and make up the ‘other half’ of the current Project Delivery Team.
Change Management is important and has always been included in the overall planning and delivery of the Project. The CIG realised the need for a dedicated team from the CIG PMU and anyone we partner with very early on in the timeline; this is where Agilyx came in and delivered.
Agilyx have indeed established themselves throughout the project with a highly effective joint approach to the way they work, meaning they integrated themselves into our team seamlessly and have been holding up consistent and easy communication throughout the project. As a result, we are truly working together and driving towards the same goals.