When Melissa Trute joined the Ventia team at the Leeuwin Barracks, Fremantle almost three years ago as the Reporting Manager for the Defence Base Services contract, she realised the job could be done more easily if it was digitised.

Six months later, an IT innovation initiative to achieve that came to life, which has won praise from the client. The concept is now being developed as a standard Ventia offering for clients of other contracts.

Melissa said previously the reporting process was manual and time consuming, as it was undertaken using computer programs, such as Word and Excel.

"The reports were quite detailed, with more than 100-line items that included information on KPIs, customer feedback and small to medium enterprise expenditure," Melissa said.

A digital platform concept was built so our client could directly interact with their online reporting dashboards via a web portal.

"They really liked the real-time reporting capability and the improved accessibility of the information."

When other areas of the business heard what Melissa had achieved for the client and how she'd streamlined the reporting process, they wanted to know how their reporting could be made simpler and easier using a similar solution.

She has now been promoted to National Digital and Data Program Manager to oversee all digital projects for the Defence Based Services contract. This program of works supports the contract's Digital Roadmap Transformation Strategy and the implementation of the technology required to deliver the vision.

While she has previously worked as a Business Innovation Manager digitising and automating processes, Melissa said she's a "non-technical person". The key to her success is approaching solutions from the customer perspective.

"I don't need to know the tech bit. I talk to users about what they need to do their job, I interpret those requirements and then liaise with the IT team to design something that is fit for purpose," Melissa said.

"I own the customer relationship and I help teams to define and build the business case for their initiatives, as well as providing project management oversight of the contract."

Melissa said many new innovations face resistance because they don't treat the user as the first priority.

"You need to talk to the target audience and use innovation they can handle and that can sometimes mean taking baby steps at first."

Melissa said it was satisfying to see an idea that solves a problem take off.

I like finding a solution to people's problems and implementing better ways of working for the user.

"If it's not better for the end user, you've failed," Melissa said.