Background and Challenge

A state government department was seeking to upgrade its Digital Train Radio System (DTRS), which was facing technological obsolescence and a corresponding reduction in vendor support.

The department had been approached with a proposal from a supplier but wanted to more broadly evaluate prospective systems given developments in technology and changes to the competitive landscape.

The department required assistance to understand the best way forward to deliver a new communications solution, whilst maintaining its existing DTRS system until implementation had been finalised. The solution needed to deliver global best practice outcomes for customers.

Approach and Recommendation

L.E.K. approached the project from the perspective of both capital planning and contract strategy, independently evaluating future technology options whilst being cognisant of the need to maintain the existing system. The support was provided through four modules, each building off the previous ones to ensure stakeholder buy-in and comfort.

Given the multiple stakeholders involved in the project and their differing concerns, module one involved a problem assessment in consultation with key stakeholders. This assessment evaluated the concerns, issues, and risks for the current DTRS system, future state requirements and capabilities needed to deliver required future functionality. This module concluded with stakeholder agreement on the problems that needed to be solved.

The second module developed options for the client to pursue. This involved a series of interviews, workshops, and research to identify and detail cases of global best practice, for comparison against existing options already being considered, including the option proposed by the incumbent vendor.

In the third module, L.E.K. worked with the client to shortlist and review three options for consideration. To do this, L.E.K. developed a balanced scorecard evaluation framework that included technological pre-requisites, client specific criteria and the risks associated with switching from the incumbent provider. The CapEx and OpEx costs associated with each option was also estimated through discussions with management.

Finally, a roadmap for change was developed through extensive consultation with relevant stakeholders to understand the steps required to implement the new system. This roadmap included a detailed transition plan and stakeholder matrix to ensure seamless service delivery while the new system was being implemented, including steps to appropriately maintain and operate the existing system should vendor support diminish.


As a result of the four modules, the client received a collation of global best practice examples for DTRS solutions, evaluated using a balanced scorecard. This provided the foundation for selecting the best possible option for a new DTRS system. The client continued the process of implementing a new DTRS system using the implementation plan developed in module four as a guide to ensure a stable DTRS for the near future and a smooth transition to the new system.

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