Serving the Province of Ontario (Canada’s most populous province with 14.57 million people), the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is a regulatory agency that registers and licenses over 52,000 businesses and individuals in the sectors of liquor, recreational cannabis, gaming/gambling, and horse racing. Established in 1998, with 680 employees across nine Regional Offices, AGCO regulates the alcohol, gaming and horse racing sectors in accordance with the principles of honesty and integrity in the public interest.
In 2015, AGCO undertook a sweeping enterprise-wide business transformation and modernization program, the “Regulatory Assurance Solution” (“RAS”) initiative. RAS would update and migrate the corporation’s operating model to a consolidated, risk-based/risk-centric program incorporating streamlined go-forward licensing and enforcement business processes.
The robust solution AGCO envisioned would be provided by Computronix’s feature rich COTS+ alcoholic beverage control software, POSSE ABC.
A multi-phased project culminating in the full enterprise deployment of POSSE ABC across all AGCO departments, the project would provide AGCO with a new “iAGCO” Customer Portal, a new Staff Portal (back office system), an integrated, iPhone-based Mobile Enforcement component, and extensive, integrated ad-hoc reporting, real-time dashboarding, and business intelligence services.
Of equal importance, POSSE’s agile work management platform would provide an exceptional foundation for continuous improvement and internal optimization of the system by internal staff to help meet the province’s ambitious goal to make Ontario the most advanced digital jurisdiction in the world.
Through its “open for business” focus, the Government of Ontario articulated the need for agencies such as AGCO to deliver services in a way that minimizes the burden of regulation on Ontario businesses, fostering competitiveness and welcoming new business to Ontario by reducing red tape.
To minimize the burden on businesses and individuals and deliver a quality service experience, AGCO was keen to offer modern, streamlined service delivery options and channels, making effective use of technology to respond to stakeholder needs and expectations. In addition to offering electronic service delivery, the agency needed to enable access to real-time information for inspectors and investigators in the field.
In order to successfully address the new and unique regulatory vulnerabilities and risks arising from these changes, and stay ahead of the industry, AGCO needed to adopt more sophisticated tools and approaches to make informed, reasoned and appropriate tactical and operational decisions. This required the ability to collect, store, extract and analyze accurate and complete data, and to manage operations and case-flows across and within functions in an integrated manner that enabled seamless information-sharing. AGCO was also keen to make investments financially sustainable through the use of tools and approaches that optimize the use of limited resources by focusing on key risks.
AGCO’s transformation agenda supports evolving government initiatives in gaming and broader government priorities for efficiency, effectiveness and accountability. Through this transformation, AGCO looked to redefine the way it manages itself and its approach to regulating the gaming and liquor sectors in Ontario, positioning the agency to be flexible, transparent and adaptable in a constantly changing environment, anticipated to include an expanded mandate from new lines of business. A cornerstone supporting this transformation is the Regulatory Assurance Solution (RAS) initiative.
To realize the full scope of the RAS initiative, AGCO’s implementation of POSSE ABC as the foundation of the iAGCO customer portal placed a strong emphasis on reducing regulatory burdens and the streamlining of the online customer user experience to deliver simpler, faster, and better services:
In October of 2020, the fourth and final phase of the RAS Initiative went live with the provision of streamlined services for electronic gaming equipment, charitable gaming, and horse racing, completing a truly comprehensive breadth of online offerings now available on iAGCO:
Special Occasion Permits (SOP)
Ferment on Premise Facility Licences
Liquor Delivery Service Licences
Services for the Public
iAGCO has been the largest transformational project the AGCO has undertaken to modernize how the agency conducts business, aligning with AGCO’s goal to be a modern innovative regulator. iAGCO also meets the agency’s Service Experience objective of offering customers an easy, convenient, and digital way of doing business, anytime from anywhere. With iAGCO live, the agency was especially well positioned during the COVID-19 pandemic with the newly launched online service platform allowing most customers to continue to transact with the AGCO despite unprecedented emergency measures, while allowing AGCO Back Office staff to seamlessly transition to working remotely. The new system also proved agile in enabling AGCO’s rapid response to the Government of Canada’s aggressive timeline for cannabis legalisation, enabling the agency to easily incorporate the necessary updates without any negative impacts to project scope or budget.
For this initiative, Computronix provided all software, implementation and training services, including project management, business analysis, system configuration, system integration, training, data conversion, knowledge transfer and support. The system includes interfaces to on-line payment and address validation systems with over 600 AGCO internal staff users supported.
Efficiently executed in 4 robust phases (liquor control, gaming, horse racing, and recreational cannabis), the RAS Initiative epitomized the transformation that is possible when government agency and software solution provider work in true partnership to achieve a long-term innovation vision.
The AGCO Project Goals that were achieved or exceeded as a result of this initiative include the following:
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