UKRI extends the use of Verto across their research councils

Launched in April 2018, UKRI is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT).

UKRI brings together the seven disciplinary research councils, Research England, which is responsible for supporting research and knowledge exchange at higher education institutions in England, and the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

The challenge for UKRI

Previously, different parts of the organisation approached project delivery differently, but the formation of UKRI, presented the opportunity to work more fluidly towards having common practices when required. 

UKRI’s project scope was to identify and implement a portfolio management tool that would support greater collaboration and improved efficiency of its processes.

After initially assessing available software, they shortlisted potentially suitable systems before choosing Verto to run on a trial basis in early 2019. 

Onboarding Verto

The Verto team hosted an initial phase to identify the feasibility of the work and assess whether the needs of UKRI would be met. Throughout the trial phase, Verto achieved the goals set by UKRI to bring multiple parts of the organisation together providing greater visibility of projects and programmes to enable evidence-based reporting and planning, which would enable greater active collaboration.

Verto’s solution was a consistent workflow process with clear, easy to follow frameworks that allowed all data and information to be stored and managed from one central place. The objectives that Verto’s tools achieved, identifying them as the chosen platform for UKRI, were as follows:

  • Objective 1: Improves project effectiveness: Verto allows for project alignment. Common data requirements are mapped across large-scale workstreams, collaborative work has facilitated cross project learning, and ongoing consistency has been achieved. 
  • Objective 2: Improves strategic decision effectiveness: By using Verto, UKRI has been able to exceed its involvement target from partner organisations. Now portfolio stakeholders can come together to report on metrics that help to inform strategic decision making and include Major Projects Portfolio Reporting, which was beyond the original scope of work. 
  • Objective 3: Improves benefit management: Verto’s benefits mapping tool has been implemented as part of UKRI’s system requirements. Highlight reports link the benefits and track them across the project lifespan.
  • Objective 4: Improves efficiencies in resource time, resulting in financial savings: Resource mapping tools have been set up for use and will be rolled out across UKRI, which is now able to track time saved on reporting.
  • Objective 5: Allows greater career development opportunities: Using Verto to manage data and resources in turn creates opportunities for individuals to move between projects and programmes. This extends their in-work career experience to suit their own personal objectives alongside team and corporate objectives.

Additional scope

Further developments, such as portfolio reporting, within the whole of the Major Projects portfolio will now include teams that were previously out of scope. Additional roles and processes have also been developed including data administration, change management and approval processes.

UKRI’s Mark Bradley, Head of Project Delivery Profession, said: 

UKRI’s ambition is to work collaboratively and make our processes simpler and better for users, including both our own colleagues and the wider research and innovation communities. After a successful implementation, we are pleased to be further rolling out the use of Verto within UKRI and to be gaining from the team’s experience.

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