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A CIO’s Guide to Digital Government

A CIO’s Guide to Digital Government

While private sector organizations are innovating their processes and technology to improve their customer service, government organizations must race to keep up with citizens’ increasingly higher expectations. In the midst of this race, government organizations are finding that digital government is much more challenging than it sounds.

Government CIOs are not giving up, though. They’re using digital transformation to provide better services to citizens, and they’re seeing benefits such as decreased operational costs and increased citizen engagement.

Top 5 Digital Government Challenges

1. Scalability

The societal benefits of digital government increase when delivered at scale, but government organizations are struggling to scale new technology and processes across all of their operations. They’re encountering silos and resistance to change that prevent their digital government initiatives from impacting citizens.

2. Accountability Without Authority

While government CIOs are increasingly accountable for the success of digital transformation projects, their level of authority remains limited. They struggle to obtain the authority to manage their own budgets and make hiring decisions. Sometimes, they’re even left out of crucial strategy meetings with fellow executives because their role is viewed as strictly technical.

3. Red Tape

Political agendas, existing legislation and procurement controls can create roadblocks to innovation. For example, CIOs considering IoT often encounter resistance from leadership due to security and privacy concerns. While these concerns are well-founded, there are new ways of mitigating risk that should be explored.

4. Myopic Focus

Some government organizations focus on the technical aspects of digital transformation as opposed to the people and process aspects because they don’t understand the project’s overall purpose. When organizations define project goals without considering the organization’s mission and vision, CIOs struggle to realize the full benefits of transformation. They have virtually no budget for organizational change management or business process reengineering.

5. Resource Constraints

Funding for the technical aspects of digital transformation is also scarce for many government organizations. CIOs who wish to implement the latest technology may find that their IT departments can’t provide the necessary back-end IT infrastructure. Without funding to hire additional resources, CIOs struggle to manage and scale digital government initiatives.

SAP vs. Oracle Case Study

SAP and Oracle both invest heavily in cloud technology. However, our client was skeptical about cloud scalability and unsure if the products were mature and proven.

Tips for CIOs Pursuing Digital Government

Develop a Business Case

Digital transformation is more than a transition from “green screens” to modern ERP software. It’s a strategic, organization-wide initiative that changes how citizens interact with their government. Developing a business case will help you outline expected benefits that align with organizational goals and objectives. A business case justifies an IT investment by demonstrating the potential ROI.

Prioritize Integration

Technical integration and process integration enable government organizations to efficiently address citizens’ most pressing needs. Integration requires organizational alignment, collaboration and strong project governance. Strive for integration as disparate systems create inefficiencies that impede citizen engagement.

Optimize Inefficient Processes

Before selecting new ERP software, you should map your processes, improve your processes and define your requirements. The most inefficient processes deserve the most attention as they can bring the most value when optimized and automated. These processes should translate to “must-have” requirements, which determine software functionality.

Reduce Resistance to Change

Ensure the project team doesn’t get lost in the technical “weeds.” New technology, new processes and new operational models lead to monumental change throughout an organization. Developing an organizational change management plan can help you prepare employees for digital transformation.

Enhance Security

While technologies like IoT have many applications in the public sector, adoption has been slowed by security concerns. You can address these concerns by adopting API management practices that enable safe data transfer. Consider implementing advanced detection systems and backup systems.

Emerging Technology Trends in the Public Sector

The adoption of cloud technology has been on the rise for government organizations that want cost savings and easier data sharing. Organizations are ensuring security by storing classified data on private clouds.

Blockchain technology

This technology hasn’t been widely adopted by the public sector, but once cost-effective solutions are developed for the government, adoption is expected to increase. Government organizations that have experimented with block-chain have realized benefits such as increased security and efficiency.

Hyperconverged infrastructure

This infrastructure combines all of an organization’s technology into a single platform. Many government organizations like this option for it’s scalability and cost-saving possibilities.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

This technology holds great opportunity for government organizations. While the Department of Defense accounts for the majority of IoT spending, civilian agencies stand to benefit as well. For example, organizations could use IoT to improve their visibility into public transportation systems.

Conclusion and Essence

These are just a few of the technology trends you can incorporate into your digital government strategy. As a government CIO, you’re probably facing many roadblocks to adopting this technology, but you’re determined to improve operational efficiency and citizen engagement. If you develop a digital government strategy that prioritizes integration, security and organizational alignment, you can overcome some of the common roadblocks to government innovation.

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Addressing the Challenges and Opportunities of ERP in Developing Countries

Addressing the Challenges and Opportunities of ERP in Developing Countries

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems have proved effective in streamlining business processes in many highly urbanized countries. The enhancements it brings to organizations like private institutions and even governments are significant, especially in terms of delivering better customer service. By integrating data systems from various departments and subsections of an organization, ERP systems save money and improve decision-making time.

The benefits of ERP implementation are readily apparent in most developed countries, even though it’s not without its own challenges. For developing countries, however, those challenges appear steeper by comparison.

Addressing Complexities and Habits

ERP is fundamentally complex for a single person to grasp. Opting to use ERP in an organization means a massive overhaul in existing processes and habits to adopt wholly new ones. If that sounds hard, think of how people struggle when they try to quit smoking, or pledge to start a grueling exercise regimen. It’s often not a pretty picture, and people are likely to give up halfway and fall back to old habits. Now imagine doing that with hundreds or thousands of people, and we’re looking at a tremendous organizational change management challenge.

Adapting to New Systems

Compounding the challenge for developing countries is a particular set of factors unique to their setting. The most prominent of these key challenges is the inherent design of ERP systems as a product catering to western audiences. ERP’s implementation strategies were developed with western firms in mind, which makes their adoption in a market like India an exercise in futility.

Another key factor is the number of iterations that ERP systems embedded in western companies have undergone since its inception. This gives developed countries better capabilities and flexibility in adapting to changes. For developing nations with relatively new enterprises, tackling such changes that come with ERP can be much tougher.

Legacy systems like spreadsheet software (or even pencil and paper) often get in the way of implementing ERP. In relation to the previous points, it can be hard to pry old systems away from people who have been using them for years, even if it means replacing them with more efficient ones. Humans are creatures of habit, and resistance to change is quite natural especially in business settings.

Crucially, ERP stakeholders seek simplicity most of all. If we’re proposing increased efficiency in an organization’s work processes, an IT approach (as most ERP solutions are nowadays) is bound to reduce interest due to the perceived complications it brings in terms of usability, features, etc.

Using ERP Competencies to their Advantage

This doesn’t mean that ERP can never work with businesses in developing countries. These systems have plenty of promise when utilizing its core competencies. One study observed how a company in Asia used an ERP system to reduce ideation-to-implementation time, slash operational costs by 40%, accurately identify planning errors, and use the centralized data system to generate reports and devise unified strategies.

A Solution in the Cloud

The advent of cloud computing brought a new dimension and agility to ERP solutions. Using cloud-based ERP systems ensures businesses with more savings in operational costs, constant and timely system updates, and faster deployment compared to on-site ERP systems. The continuous expansion of internet access across the world makes it even easier for a business in any part of the world to acquire cloud-based ERP.

We can therefore infer that ERP systems have tremendous potential in accelerating progress in developing countries by introducing their local enterprise to the opportunities offered by such systems.

This is precisely the reason why experienced independent ERP consultants like Panorama Consulting exist: to provide expert insight on ERP systems that suit an organization’s requirements and conditions, be they infrastructure- or location-wise. Contact us today, and let’s work together on an ERP solution to optimize your burgeoning business for growth.

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One Reason for IT Failure in the Public Sector

One Reason for IT Failure in the Public Sector

A common thread among many public sector ERP failures is the presence of a flawed RFP process. The flaw is this: public sector organizations issuing RFPs tend to attract low-quality bidders, and organizations are apt to accept these bids due to the allure of lower costs.

Software vendors underbid proposals to win contracts, and they inevitably take shortcuts to stay within their tight budgets. Using boilerplate methodologies and calling them “best practices” is one way that ERP vendors manage to save the client money. While low bids are tempting to accept, there is more to be considered.

RFP Considerations

Digital transformation requires innovation. Out-of-the-box ERP systems do not foster the type of innovative thinking that leads to outstanding services for citizens. Software vendors often use implementation plans from prior engagements and modify it only slightly to fit specific requirements. This approach squeezes the organization and its processes into the vendor’s template. The vendor does not take the time to get to know your agency, understand your operational model, get to know your people and find the right fit for your processes.

When accepting a bid, organizations should also consider the caliber of the resources being offered. Many consultants lack the experience and expertise required for public sector IT projects. When releasing an RFP, organizations should ask bidders for three or more references that can attest to the bidder’s recent and relevant experience.

Preventing a Flawed RFP Process

  1. Avoid Templates. Your RFP should cover all of your organization’s unique requirements. The government “best practices” found in RFP templates are not necessarily proven methodologies that will lead to IT success.
  2. Release Multiple RFPs. Many public sector organizations release one RFP for both selection and implementation. Although it will cost more upfront, it will ensure the selection of the right implementer.
  3. Find a Vendor-neutral Advisor. An independent advisor or consultant can work with vendors to negotiate the best price. Following selection, many organizations rely on a consultant’s expertise throughout implementation.

The More Detail the Better

RFPs tend to place a significant amount of power in the hands of respondents. Many public sector organizations issuing RFPs provide only a minimum amount of requirements and information. Respondents are free to offer whatever products they have that will meet this low bar.

An RFP for ERP software is not the place to be short and sweet. Before pen hits paper, your organization must make a roadmap for your ERP initiative. This roadmap will guide the research and requirements gathering necessary for drafting a comprehensive RFP for ERP procurement. Your citizens will thank you for the time you took to select technology to make their lives easier.

Attention Public Sector Organizations: Are Your Citizens Happy?

Attention Public Sector Organizations: Are Your Citizens Happy?

As a public sector organization, your desire to improve service to citizens is most likely what drives your desire for innovation. So naturally, if you’re pursuing a digital transformation initiative, it should be focused on one main objective: Return on citizenship (ROC).

Return on citizenship is a similar concept to return on investment, and is best described as, “the amount of social value that citizens receive in return for their tax dollars.” Many public sector organizations are focusing on maximizing return on citizenship because, in the eyes of the taxpayer, it’s all that matters.

Maximizing Return on Citizenship

One way to streamline and improve your service to citizens is to embrace the concept of digital government by evaluating IT solutions that can potentially streamline your services, data sharing, security, processes and decisions. Public sector innovation is enabled by IT solutions that facilitate interactions between a government and its citizens. Implementing an ERP system provides an organization with the opportunity to rethink and redesign inefficient processes and deliver a higher return on citizenship.

Innovation Essentials

  • Project Management Oversight (PMO) – An independent PMO office can oversee your software implementation and hold software vendors accountable to the functional requirements outlined in the initial contract. A PMO office also can provide quality assurance to ensure that each deliverable aligns with organizational goals and expected benefits.
  • Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) – An IV&V team can help your organization with requirements validation and project plan adherence. Releasing a separate RFP for this type of oversight will help your organization select an IV&V team that is truly independent and able to take an objective view of deliverables and results.
  • Organizational Change Management (OCM) – An organizational change management plan that addresses communications and training can go a long way in preparing your employees for change. In the public sector, change management encompasses external buy-in as well. As “end-users,” citizens must be informed of coming changes.
  • Requests for Proposal (RFPs) – While your organization may be drawn to the lowest bidder, there are other, more important, factors to consider: 1) An RFP should cover all of your organization’s unique requirements, 2) Release separate RFPs for selection and implementation to ensure the selection of the best implementer.

On-par With the Private Sector

Public sector organizations are under increased pressure to provide convenient service to citizens, as citizens have come to expect the same level of service and responsiveness from the government that they do from private entities. It’s not surprising that an increasing number of public sector organizations are focusing on process improvement and enterprise systems in order to achieve a high return on citizenship.

Five Common Mistakes in Public Sector ERP Projects

Five Common Mistakes in Public Sector ERP Projects

iStock_000012107860_MediumAny project, ERP or otherwise, will live or die by its project planning. I recently jumped in halfway through an ERP project to find that the project plan was a chocolate mess and had to be rebooted halfway through the implementation – the project team had to scrap the old plan and engineer a completely new project plan. There were five common issues that derailed this project plan, and these mistakes are  common in every failed public sector project:

  1. Day-to-day management of the project plan
  2. Resource allocation
  3. A single point of failure
  4. Traumatic budget mismatches
  5. Last minute policy and procedural changes

Let’s dissect each of these issues and consider ways to avoid them on future projects:

The first and most time-consuming issue is the day-to-day management of the project plan. A project plan is like a pet; it needs love, attention and food every single day. Just like a pet, a project plan,  is a constant struggle that demands vigilance, even on the weekend and holidays. There are many ways that a project manager (PM) can give the project plan love and attention. My favorite technique is a daily meeting at the same time every day where the PM can take the temperature of the project. Key project resources, champions and the PM should meet for focused discussions on what must be accomplished that day. Effort can be reallocated on the spot and everyone should receive an update on the status of the project. While this takes discipline, it does not have to be time-consuming. A focused PM can hold a daily meeting, make decisions and move out in less than 30 minutes.

The second issue is proper resource allocation. It is not only important to get the right human resources for the project, but it is equally important to use them wisely. Nothing is more corrosive to a project than the “hurry up and wait” syndrome prevalent in the public sector and in particular the U.S. Department of Defense. Forcing a project team member to travel all night or on a weekend to be on a jobsite at 7 a.m. on Monday can be counterproductive if there is not a solid resource allocation plan. The real coffin nail to motivation is to have them sit on their hands while the PM figures out how to use them. “Hurry up and wait,” a favorite tactic of most U.S. airlines, does not work well with ERP implementations. It is much better to have a consistent schedule with surge periods laid out well in advance to allow project team members to mentally prepare, obtain a backfill person if necessary and plan out their personal lives.

If your project is behind, don’t make the mistake of throwing people at it to speed things up. At the beginning of a project, create a thorough plan that includes risk mitigation and contingency, and be sure to use your resources wisely. Having a plan in place will allow you to achieve higher productivity, more project buy-in and more resources who will work with you again in the future. It is also vital to plan around holidays and vacations well in advance. Giving someone Christmas Day off but working them 18 hours on December 24 and 26t is not only counterproductive but could lead to valuable resources finding a reason not to work on your project.

Single point of failure is another common issue in public sector ERP implementations. Every organization has one or two employees that do more than their fair share of work on a project. They often have a portfolio of skills that make them incredibly useful and attractive for your project, but don’t fall into the tiger trap of letting them be involved in every aspect of the project. Eventually, their Herculean efforts will fail and fail hard. They will be pressed into crazy hours on another project or will shatter like a dropped mirror. Sadness ensues and the project schedule will definitely slip while the PM and the project team picks up the pieces and looks forward to seven years of bad luck. Everyone on the project must carry their fair share of the burden. While single-point failures love the challenge and the attention of being involved in everything, do not let them take over your project and hold you hostage. A savvy PM will sit down with the single-point failure, understand their pressures and allocate reasonable time and effort commitments to them. If the single-point failure cannot give your project enough time without jeopardizing other projects, then you need to hire a new employee, contractor or consultant to help both projects succeed.

The fourth item is a mismatch in budget expectations. Most public sector PMs are under a lot of pressure to finish the project on-time and on-budget. Occasionally, issues will come up that will jeopardize the delicate balance of schedule and budget. The PM should unambiguously present the issue to the stakeholders in a decision forum, like a steering committee. The budget issue usually is resolved by slipping the schedule or cutting capabilities to minimize the impact on the budget. Another tactic is to crash the schedule and dramatically increase the budget. A recent client of ours wanted to throw people at a go-live date by working overtime and weekends, yet held the expectation that the budget would only minimally increase. I am no Warren Buffet, but these are contradictory expectations and will unfailingly lead to a demoralized project team. The PM must calmly but firmly map out the options, let leadership make a choice and force them to choose their poison: go live on a specific date with increased budget and diminished capabilities or go long and let the budget be king. The most important concept is that the decision must be owned by the client’s leadership team. Crashing the schedule, throwing people at the problem and working longer hours cannot be accomplished within the original budget.

The fifth project planning issue in the public sector is policy and/or procedure changes. I was on a recent project where the host organization let us conduct a fairly hands-off ERP implementation. Halfway through the implementation, the host organization got involved and forced several new policies and procedures on the implementation team. Several of the policy changes, particularly the process to introduce new project team members and the new decision matrix for the project, were time-consuming and caused schedule slippage in key aspects of the project. It goes without saying that all policies and procedures should be agreed upon before the start of the project. However, this sometimes cannot be avoided with some stakeholders, sponsors and organizations. In these cases, the PM should have a contingency plan for anticipated mid-project changes.. . If the client changes policies and procedures more than their underwear, a sharp PM should inform the client of the danger of mid-project changes and allocate slack time to prevent inevitable schedule slips from jeopardizing the go-live date.

What is Return on Citizenship?

What is Return on Citizenship?

Return on Citizenship– or “ROC” as we like to call it—is one of our key deliverables on the public sector side. It is very similar to what the private sector likes to call Return on Investment or “ROI.” What we look at in ROC is the value that we help governments provide to their citizens.

When we go into a government engagement, we put a lot of thought into what the end result will be to the citizens that the agency serves. One of the ways that we look at streamlining and improving government services is via digital government.

In digital government, we look at the digital tools to improve the interactions between the citizens and their governments. We look at services, data sharing, security, processes and decisions.

As an example, I recently got married and I had to go to the social security office, the passport agency and the DMV just to change my name. However, if these agencies were sharing information then this process would be much more automated and you wouldn’t have to go from one agency to the next. This would provide a much easier and better service to me instead of having to stand in line at three different agencies in order to give them the same information which, in turn, improves the interaction that citizens have with their governments.

Our hope is to transform government and get government on par with the private sector.

Panorama has a long-standing tradition of helping the private sector transform their organizations, and we hope to really move government into the 21st century by putting together those digital resources that are already available to the private sector.

We have become the government’s partner in serving their citizens via ROC. As a citizen myself, I really want to both interact and hold my government accountable to providing better government services for my tax paying dollars.

Who Did Your Project Manager Vote For?

Who Did Your Project Manager Vote For?

Like a lot of organizations – we try to stay quiet on our political choices. Not every person is going to agree with your points of view, so it’s best practice to keep your views to yourself. However, it is hard to stay in the middle with such a polarized political environment. So….who did your ERP project manager vote for? Stay tuned because the answer may shock you. The candidate your project manager (PM) voted for was…project governance.

Not the answer you were expecting, right? So, why? Well, a project governance document addresses key statements and processes that support the objectives of project sponsors, decision-makers and stakeholders. Good governance documents don’t just spring from a specific party or even from a burning bush – they are the results of careful thought and well-reasoned logic.  Your project team, led by the PM, invested a lot of time into developing it.  It will thrill them to no end if you ask them a few questions about it.

The vital running mate of project governance is a chap we call the project charter.  The project charter takes into account information developed during the executive-level strategy sessions and contains:

  • A validated project vision
  • A validated list of objectives that support the vision
  • A list of the expected business benefits that the project will bring
  • A clear depiction of what constitutes success for the project
  • A high-level scoping statement, timeline and budget
  • A high-level list of project variables
  • A high-level list of assumptions and anticipated risks
  • A responsibilities matrix
  • The plan to ensure and maintain alignment between executives, stakeholders and the project team
  • A list of standing project meeting schedules, agendas and reports
  • Change procedures that address how changes to budget, scope and time are treated

Like most running mates, the project charter should be taken very seriously.  Simply put, the project charter’s job is to ensure that the project stays on track and completes within time, scope and budget.

So, who does Panorama endorse? We endorse a well-reasoned, balanced and strong project governance document. The project charter is the perfect running mate for governance and makes up an unbeatable ticket, unless you are not concerned with achievable timelines, reasonable scope and thoughtful and realistic cost estimates.

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It’s ALL About the People

It’s ALL About the People

More than ever before, high performing government agencies are resembling well-run corporate organizations. They both set defined goals, are both process-oriented and they choose effective leaders.  However, one of the biggest mistakes that any company or government agency makes is underestimating the need of change management during an ERP implementation. Any organization that perceives it as an avoidable piece that can be cut at any time is set for an unsuccessful ERP implementation.

While both sectors are dealing with people, the main difference between the public and the private sector in regards to organizational change management is their employee’s motivation for changing. Public sector organizations have their roots in social objectives and they are created to promote a particular aspect of the public’s welfare. Maximizing shareholder’s investment is not a concern for government staffs, taxpayers pay for an effective and efficient execution of their mission–this is what motivates agency workers. The reception to change and acceptance process in the government environment also differs substantially from commercial enterprises. Public careers are considered safe; longevity in the system gives seniority, creating employees who feel protected from internal pressure and have no obvious needs to respond to process and organizational change since there is no financial measurement of success with direct implications for them.

An ERP implementation is quite a complex project, and assuring buy-in across all the levels of the organization is vital for success. This is especially challenging for many government agencies that have had long time employees. Agencies’ leaders come and go and often technology and process improvement initiatives have no impact over time. However, longevity can also be helpful for change management. Long-time employees know a lot about how the organization runs and where it falters. By taking advantage of their operational knowledge, agencies’ leaders may not only obtain the intellectual foundation for the change, but also help gain the employee support needed for it to succeed.

Within the organizational change management strategy, a well-designed Communication Plan must be in place. The agency team should not only understand where the overall project stands, but they need to know exactly how their individual jobs are going to change due to the new system and processes. The plan should include a strategic external communication to the citizens, informing the constituents about anticipated benefits. By doing so, the agency creates accountability and the public perception may improve in regards to its accomplishments.

Finally, the organizational change strategy must be customized to fit the agency’s culture. Not all government organizations are the same and every agency may have a particular set of needs. Conducting an early risk and readiness assessment prior an ERP implementation determines the most appropriate strategy.  It will also identify the root causes of resistance within the organization so organizational efforts can be better targeted.

For more information, visit www.panorama-government.com.

Vendor Negotiations: Software Functionality

Vendor Negotiations: Software Functionality

ERP is a journey and sometimes it takes us to places we don’t think we want to go. To get the right functionality, the best way is by finding someone who has done it before. Third-parties coming in to help are great because, while they are not necessarily the smartest guys in the room, they’ve done this before. They use different business verticals and different business practices in order to make your organization better.

One of the most common questions I get from government is, “we are a little bit different than the commercial industry.  We’re held to different rules, standards and protocalls.” And to that I say “absolutely you are, but I tell you that even though government is not a “business,” sometimes business rules do apply.”

One of the things we like to do is bring in our experience to make sure you get the right functionality out of your system. We also challenge you to make you think that even though it’s not something that you’re asking for now, is it something you ought to think about? One of the biggest boons to government is the use of mobile applications and mobile devices. While that is not a function that they would not have considered five years ago, but now you have to think about your clientele and your constituents all wanting to have mobile applications. It may be time to drag your government organization from the industrial age to the information age and we will help you get the right mobile functionality.

We make sure that you’re thinking of the things that you would not normally think of and even though we are not the smartest guys in the room, we have a lot of experience. We have a lot of folks that have been in different business verticals throughout healthcare, manufacturing and government.  I said it before and I will say it again, ERP implementations are like an ecosystem. They have a lot of disparate, but very interconnected and interlocking parts. We want to make sure you get all the parts to get your system working right.

Vendor Negotiations: Costs to Consider

Vendor Negotiations: Costs to Consider

vendor negotiationsWhen you think about ERP systems, everyone immediately asks “how much is the maintenance fees/licensing fees?” and “how many users can I have on this?” But really, the cost of an ERP is much more than that. I think a lot of times people are shocked when they look at the total cost of an ERP system. Here at Panorama, this isn’t our first BBQ. We have done this before, so we are able to help people see this as more than just the physical labor costs, and it is more than just the software costs. A lot of the costs that are not considered are the people-ware costs or the opportunity cost for not doing it.

We have a three-phase plan. We do a technical fit so that you understand what kind of hardware is needed. Maybe you need an IT refresh; maybe you need to re-look at your IT strategy with how many IT folks you need or don’t need. You might need a bigger internet pipe to facilitate the new system. We look at the standard ERP fees: the licensing, the enterprise fees, the maintenance fees as well and any kind of training fees. We also do a business case for you, so that you are aware of the opportunity cost of not committing to this system. We also look for where an ERP could transform your business as well as doing a dollars-and-cents cost so that you can see the labor and non-labor benefits as well, too. We even wrap it up in a nice, pretty bow called total cost of ownership.

The costs are more than what you will see on a website and it is more than just servers, hardware and software. There is an entire ecosystem of costs that need to be considered. We don’t like to hide things and will help you think of the costs you haven’t even considered. One of the big things left on the table after go-live is recurrent training after every 24 months or so. People will forget what was learned in the first training, and you will hire new employees who will need training as well. It’s a great way to maintain the capability you are getting from your ERP system at a very reduced rate if you have negotiated up front.

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Vendor Negotiations: The Way Everyone Can Win

Vendor Negotiations: The Way Everyone Can Win

winningAs we all know—but don’t always practice—communication is the first step for everyone to get what they need. This is especially true in ERP vendor negotiations. If you have parties who are not talking together, they are probably not going to work together and you definitely will not be able to achieve the results that you would like.

Panorama approaches vendor negotiations from a spirit of abundance. We believe that everyone can win and that a rising tide will lift all boats. We believe that having open, honest communication with all parties not only helps everyone get what they need, but also makes everyone feel better about what they get as well. Communication draws out clients’ needs—even the ones that the client hasn’t articulated yet.

A lot of times, vendor negotiations gets a bad rap. Clients feel as though they were overcharged, especially over capabilities that they did not want or need; when realistically, this is merely a symptom of poor communications. Often times, clients don’t know what they need because ERP is new for them. The unknown can create decisions driven by anxiety which easily results in poor decision making. To avoid that, it is vital to look at the long play. Working with an ERP consultant can help achieve goals and work with the vendor to get exactly what you want.

Free and open communication also helps everyone get what they need from the negotiation. There is no passing papers back and forth like you see in the movies. Panorama excels at getting people out of their shells and pushing client’s past their comfort zone to achieve everyone’s goals (see our Value Proposition here). We are the catalyst that will help the vendor right-size the product and talk to the client in the way that makes sense to them. We will help you make the right decisions. But that doesn’t stop with you. We will help the vendor teams as well. We don’t treat them as adversaries, they are our teammates. We want to make everyone win.

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The Challenges of the Public Sector in the Age of Uber

The Challenges of the Public Sector in the Age of Uber

UBERThe digital transformation in the public sector needs to move beyond the technological bias and begin focusing on a real cultural transformation. No one will deny that the past decade has seen an incredible appetite for improving administrative procedures in the public sector, but unless governments understand that in order to meet citizen’s expectations, they need to truly understand their citizen’s needs first. The idea of customer experience will continue to be a concept reserved mostly for the private sector. Delivering public service in the 21st century demands a fundamental shift in the attitude of governments.

The idea of public service has been one that gravitates around transactions instead of one focusing on customer experience and interaction. Imagine that governments would think of public service the same way that Travis Kalanick, UBER’s CEO, thinks of his clients’ expectations whenever they call an UBER. It is all about service, and governments should carefully reconsider the way they deliver these services to their citizens. Merely adding mobile services is not enough. Public service needs to rebrand its purpose and cement a new reputation. It needs to not only change the way its perceived by citizens throughout the world, but also the way it perceives itself.

Nearly two thirds of Americans are now smartphone owners. And, for many, these devices are the gateway to the online world. Governments need to embrace this structural societal shift and use this opportunity to promote a public entrepreneurial mindset within the public sector in order to deliver agile and effective public services into the digital world of the 21st century.

Public expectations are at an all-time high; therefore, governments need to begin delivering an improved experience for its customers. Governments must own the overall customer service experience and integrate customer-centric thinking and business processes across their entire organization. If you look at the way companies in the private sector encourage entrepreneurship and promote exemplary service to their customers, then you will understand why the private sector excels in keeping their clients engaged and satisfied.

The public sector needs to embrace digital analytics to measure performance at their digital services. If your agency is looking for ways to improve government service delivery, please contact us to learn more about Panorama’s digital transformation strategies and how we can help your organization deliver high-impact initiatives to improve customer experience.

Download “Everything You Need to Know About Digital Transformation.”

How Smart is Your City?

How Smart is Your City?

smart cityThe concept of digital transformation has been resounding in the private and public sector leaders’ minds for the last couple years. While this is not a new idea, the conversation around it and the initiative on how to apply digital technology for human society’s benefit is gaining momentum. Throughout the public sector, technology has created not only the opportunity to provide a more efficient and interactive service for constituents, but also the challenge of how to sustain the escalating demand of an increasing population.

Today, more than 80-percent of the US population lives in urban areas. It is estimated that by the year 2050, 70-percent of the world’s population will reside in urban centers. When there is a fast growth rate in population, there becomes a greater need to supply all kind of resources. This includes everything from the reliability of energy and power, the quality of the air, and the flow of traffic. City government’s idea of digital transformation has evolved into a trendy concept: “Smart Cities.”  Local government transformation pivots around sustainability development, flexibility and finding innovative ways to meet citizen’s expectations.

Cities have realized they need to become “smarter” in order to attract investments, new businesses and talent. Creative, entrepreneurial and data-oriented companies will relocate to cities with an innovative technology strategy to create new socio-economic opportunities in both the private and public sector. As a result of the implementation of new technologies, citizens will benefit from improved management of resources and cost-efficient tactics that will translate into a higher quality of life.

In the next 20 years, cities in the United States will invest around $41 trillion dollars to upgrade their technological infrastructure. Last September, the White House launched the Smart Cities Initiative to make it easier for cities, federal agencies, universities and the private sector to work together to research, develop and test new technologies that can help make cities more inhabitable, cleaner and more equitable.  As part of this initiative, the government will invest in federal research to create new technology collaborations and help local communities tackle challenges including traffic, crime and economic growth.

Evolving into a Smart City brings multiple benefits for local governments. Once a smart initiative has been implemented, the city will see the return on its investment by realizing a significant reduction in operating costs. For example, investing in wireless sensors will reduce energy costs by managing city and traffic lights more efficiently. Major cities that install smart transport systems will realize savings of about $800 billion annually from 2030 onwards. Also, cities can deploy technology to improve service delivery to its residents.  A good example would be water supply systems fitted with sensors to measure water pressure, chemical composition and flow. When undesirable changes occur, relevant authorities can take corrective measures immediately aided by real-time data.

By 2025, the world will have an estimate of 88 smart cities. The United States already has 21 cities committed to invest in smart technologies to help emergency responders, firefighters, law enforcement officers, traffic control workers and utility providers to become more efficient and to improve the management of city resources.

Download “Everything You Need to Know About Digital Transformation.”

Public vs Private Sector: ERP Implementations

Okay, I will admit it. I was on the government payroll for almost my entire adult life. Like a dutiful parent, Uncle Sam fed me, clothed me and sent me away to far off places for years at a time. The U.S. government was good to me but since I left government service for the “real” world of serving as a multi-sector ERP consultant, I have noticed a number of huge differences in philosophy, mindset and oversight between the private and the public sectors, especially when it comes to ERP implementations.

In my marketing class, the professor described the value equation as:Value Equation

In this equation a solution is a reasonable answer to the issue; good feelings are the benefits to the organization and the client; price is labor, materials and costs all rolled up into a single figure; and hassle is how hard the program would be to implement (e.g., how much organizational change management was required, what the risk was, etc.).

Download our white paper, The Need for Public Sector Innovation: Facing the Challenges Posed by Public Sector IT Initiatives.

What I have discovered while working on commercial and government ERP implementations is how different the emphasis on the four variables can be between these two sectors. Press releases and public pronouncements notwithstanding, most government agencies or departments really do not care about price other than trying to spend their entire annual budget. A Google search of government ERP projects as well as various reports by the Congressional Research Service yield program after program over budget and time. A good case in point is the U.S. Air Force’s Expeditionary Combat Support System (ECSS), a cautionary tale of a failed ERP implementation. It lingered for seven years at a cost of one billion dollars before it was cancelled in November 2012 with a negligible system in place. Before pulling the plug, the Air Force estimated it would take another billion dollars and seven more years to implement the ECSS ERP solution. In vivid contrast to the private sector, “no one was fired or reprimanded because of the program’s failure. Brigadier General Kathryn Johnson, USAF, did not believe that was necessary,” according to the Air Force Times.

The solution is also a much ignored variable as requirements creep and scope changes hobble large government programs. The Air Force kept adding requirements to ECSS, forcing a much larger scope and massive budget overruns. ECSS was the largest attempted ERP implementation and is a compelling case study of how not to conduct an ERP implementation. There was a lot of blame to be shared for all participants but the bottom line is that the taxpayers were charged a billion dollars and the Air Force did not have any semblance of an ERP solution at the end of the program. Most likely, they will ask for bids to try and do this all over again.

In the government, the two most important variables are “good feelings” and “hassle.” Good feelings, in that the program managers are providing a return to their public sector clients, even if it is not necessarily what the clients requested. Programs usually start out with the best of intentions to give the clients what they need and end up with add-ons, engineering and requirements creep as well as schedule overruns because of the constant modifications. Again, the ECSS failure is a textbook case of constantly changing requirements and pushing all the decisions and hassles onto the consultant.

The “lack of a hassle” is important to the government in that most of the rank and file will get paid whether or not the program fails. As stated in a recent Government Accounting Office report, government program managers are not always held accountable for their decisions, are reluctant to share bad news and need to communicate and collaborate more. Therefore, whatever a consultant can do to make management’s life easier and move the implementation along will be more embraced than a better solution at a lower price.

Working in the private sector was a real change of pace. The importance of the variables in the value equation could not be more different. Price was the most important followed closely by the solution. Good feelings and hassle were not that important to private firms unless they directly impacted profitability. In stark contrast to government programs, the small to large manufacturing firms I have dealt with are incredibly focused on price and how ERP software could allow them to operate more efficiently and cost-effectively. Private sector program managers scrutinized every invoice with an eye on profitability and return on investment. They needed a good solution as it would increase productivity, growth and profitability. The private sector employees were also very accountable. Unlike ECSS and the Air Force, they were rewarded for success and fired if they failed.

Scope and schedule were very important as they directly translated into dollars. Private implementations are very close to schedule and scope (as compared to their public sector peers) and it would be career-ending for any private sector employee to spend millions on a program that was years over schedule, over budget and failed to meet major milestones. (Well, except for the CEOs but that is another article.)

To sum it up, commercial and government ERP implementations each have a long laundry list of pros and cons. The wise consultant will know which levers in the value equation to pull and the different mechanisms vital to either sector that must be addressed. In short, the grass is always greener on the other side but in the end it still tastes like grass.

ERP vs Pokémon Go

iStock_000077692387_DoubleHow can I claim that ERP implementations and ERP utilizations are just like Pokémon Go? Read on and all will be revealed. Ask any pre-teen and they will tell you (in a snarky tone) that Pokémon Go is a free-to-play, location-based augmented reality game developed by Niantic for Apple and Android devices. While ERP is rarely free to play (sigh), it too can be a location based, augmented reality game. ERP is also developed by thousands of software developers for use on multiple platforms. Additionally, ERP services, like Pokémon Go, attempt to capture, battle and train creatures. However, ERP uses much more pedestrian names for its elusive creatures. Names like “Business Intelligence or ‘BI’,” “Benefits Realization,” “Business Risk,” and the Pikachu of ERP: “Return on Investment.” ERP avatars tend to be very realistic. They are often called Super Users and End Users but are also called Employees. ERP avatars (e.g. employees) appear before computer monitors in the same real world location as the ERP, unless it is cloud based. But who really knows what the cloud is anyway? For the sake of this blog let’s just agree that it is another creature to capture, train and trout slap.

Just like Pokémon Go, ERP is more often than not released to mixed reviews with critics praising the ERP concept and the incentive to be more active in the real world. Just like Pokémon Go, ERP users criticize frequent technical issues that are apparent at launch, or what we call “go live.” Despite such reviews, ERP, like Pokémon Go, has become a global phenomenon. ERP has been credited with popularizing location-based and augmented reality gaming, called financial dashboards and predictive analysis as well as for promoting physical activity like shouting at the implementation team and throwing office supplies across the cubicle farm. To be fair, both ERPs and Pokémon Go are helping businesses grow. However, both also have attracted controversy for contributing to accidents and becoming a public nuisance at some locations–particularly outside the IT Manager’s office.

But let’s face it. Do you really want to play Pokémon Go with your government organization or non-profit? Let the professionals at Panorama Government Solutions walk with you down the path to not only find, but train those Pokémons to work for you. Panorama knows how to prevent the Pokémon’s from eluding you or heckling you. ERP is not a game or even a virtual reality to Panorama, but it is the key to increased efficiency, productivity and employee happiness, even if it does not have a cute online avatar, like your immediate supervisor.[vc_cta h2=”” color=”peacoc”]

Written by Rich Farrell, Senior Account Executive at Panorama Consulting Solutions.

Local Leadership: A Key Factor in Long-Term Recovery

disaster-management3Federal and state governments across the U.S. are becoming better prepared for natural disasters. They work to ensure extensive destruction is avoided or minimized by planning and preparing for such events, as well as providing funding and guidance for a long-term recovery and mitigation after a disaster has occurred. Even with this, there is still room for improvement. Having a clear vision in the aftermath of a disaster is fundamental.  Local officials are not only dealing with structural or material losses, but also with the trust of their communities to get back to normal life as soon as possible.

The recovery process should begin when the situation is no longer deteriorating. Regardless of the community size or the nature of the disaster, it is the local government’s responsibility to lead immediate response and oversee the four phases of emergency management: Preparedness, Response, Recovery and Mitigation. The emergency management cycle is an ongoing process that could take several months or even years before completion.

Effective communication and collaboration will play a key role in any successful recovery strategy. Government officials at every level, from hospitals to businesses, should become involved as the crisis unfolds. Focusing on a long-term recovery goes beyond performing an evacuation, removing debris or restoring power.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), long-term disaster recovery is about “the need to re-establish a healthy, functioning community that will sustain itself over time.”

As part of the Mitigation phase of the Emergency Management cycle, relocation programs have been implemented in many communities in order to break the disaster cycle. Dependent on the scope of the disaster, rebuilding and repairing structural damages may be the right path. For communities facing significant destruction, public acquisition of developed land–also known as buyouts-may be a better long–term strategy to avoid further disaster affecting the same communities again.

FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) allows states to use federal funds to purchase properties destroyed or damaged by a natural disaster. As a voluntary program, it includes the purchase of vacant property, relocation of existing structures and the demolition of disaster-damaged buildings. Buyouts permanently reduce a community’s vulnerability to disasters by moving people out of harm’s way.

The buyout program includes taking applications for assistance, carrying out appraisals, surveying lots, searching titles and the demolition or relocation of single family homes. States must review and prioritize every application and then submit them to FEMA for approval. Once FEMA approves the application, the state begins its acquisition process. Properties are purchased by the state at a pre-disaster market value and transfer of title must be conducted for every property. Once the buyout and acquisition process is finalized, the state may auction the properties off to investors.

Unlike disaster relief, acquisition provides permanent protection by ensuring open space is preserved and no additional disaster assistance could be granted in the future. By doing this, local governments are able to save money. This is because it is cheaper to buyout properties than to repair or rebuild the same structures multiple times. Furthermore, public costs are significantly reduced by avoiding not only emergency services, but also evacuation and emergency shelters in case another disaster strikes again.

Helping homeowners and serving the community after a disaster should be the first priority of local governments. Natural disasters are stressful as is and performing numerous tasks simultaneously could be challenging for local governments. In order to take leadership and create a well-defined recovery plan, it is a good idea for agencies to find expert guidance and resources to better understand federal regulations and funding.

Panorama Government Solutions is the only firm that deploys proprietary case management software that allows for automated HUD compliance tracking at the transactional level.

Learn more at www.panorama-recovery.com

Written by Adriana Mateus, Capture and Marketing Analyst for Panorama Government Solutions. 

Digital Government: Bridging the Communication Gap

Digital transformation can address complex social issues and challenges, and social innovation is critical to this process. Social innovation can take several forms, including innovation within public services, innovation in the nonprofit sector and innovation in the private sector.

e-Government is a term that emerged in late 2005 in the bi-annual e-Government survey launched by The United Nations Public Administration Network. It refers to “the utilization of Information Technology (IT), Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and other web-based telecommunication technologies to improve and other web-based telecommunication technologies to improve and/or enhance on the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery in the public sector.”

In essence, the effective deployment of technology allows governments to deliver better services to its citizens and allows for citizens to directly access services and information. While the private sector is driven by profits, the public sector does not experience the same type of pressure – until recently.

Download our white paper, The Need for Public Sector Innovation: Facing the Challenges Posed by Public Sector IT Initiatives.

It is now, more than ever, necessary to radically transform government in order to improve the delivery of public services. Such transformation can only take place by government reform and creating new policies that remove inefficient processes and procedures. The most effective way is by moving away from silo-based delivery and toward an integrated platform that allows government, as a collective whole, to deliver services to citizens and businesses where they need it most.

The benefits achieved are government operations that can become less costly to its citizens and capital that is able to be re-deployed to areas where government is lacking in social services instead of increasing their budgets and, in many cases, their national debt. During the last two decades, governments around the globe have invested in e-Government platforms with an aim to decrease the cost of public services while increasing the services and quality of life for their citizens.

Social networks based on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are also gaining importance both as social innovation in themselves and as producers of social change (De Biase, 2009). These networks should no longer be neglected. The increased use of ICT by social enterprises and civil society is strengthening the links between technological innovation and social innovation. This will widen the impact that social innovation can have at a global level.

You must think about connected governance with a holistic view toward the reengineering of technology, processes, skills and mindsets of public officials in government. The consolidation of government systems is important as we move toward a more connected government and provide integrated enterprise solutions.

Several countries around the world are attempting to revitalize their public administration to make it more proactive, efficient, transparent and more service-oriented. To accomplish this transformation, governments are introducing innovations in their organizational structure, practices, capacities and in the ways they mobilize, deploy and utilize the human capital and information, technological and financial resources for service delivery to citizens. In this context, the appropriate use of ICT plays a crucial role in advancing the goals of the public sector and in contributing to an environment of social and economic growth.

Written by Vanessa Giacoman, Managing Partner at Panorama Government Solutions. 

The Stark Difference Between Private and Public Sector ERP Implementations

Okay, I will admit it. I was on the government payroll for almost my entire adult life. Like a dutiful parent, Uncle Sam fed me, clothed me and sent me away to far off places for years at a time. The U.S. government was good to me but since I left government service for the “real” world of serving as a multi-sector ERP consultant, I have noticed a number of huge differences in philosophy, mindset and oversight between the private and the public sectors, especially when it comes to ERP implementations.

In this equation a solution is a reasonable answer to the issue; good feelings are the benefits to the organization and the client; price is labor, materials and costs all rolled up into a single figure; and hassle is how hard the program would be to implement (e.g., how much organizational change management was required, what the risk was, etc.).

Download our white paper, The Need for Public Sector Innovation: Facing the Challenges Posed by Public Sector IT Initiatives.

What I have discovered while working on commercial and government ERP implementations is how different the emphasis on the four variables can be between these two sectors. Press releases and public pronouncements notwithstanding, most government agencies or departments really do not care about price other than trying to spend their entire annual budget. A Google search of government ERP projects as well as various reports by the Congressional Research Service yield program after program over budget and time. A good case in point is the U.S. Air Force’s Expeditionary Combat Support System (ECSS), a cautionary tale of a failed ERP implementation. It lingered for seven years at a cost of one billion dollars before it was cancelled in November 2012 with a negligible system in place. Before pulling the plug, the Air Force estimated it would take another billion dollars and seven more years to implement the ECSS ERP solution. In vivid contrast to the private sector, “no one was fired or reprimanded because of the program’s failure. Brigadier General Kathryn Johnson, USAF, did not believe that was necessary,” according to the Air Force Times.

The solution is also a much ignored variable as requirements creep and scope changes hobble large government programs. The Air Force kept adding requirements to ECSS, forcing a much larger scope and massive budget overruns. ECSS was the largest attempted ERP implementation and is a compelling case study of how not to conduct an ERP implementation. There was a lot of blame to be shared for all participants but the bottom line is that the taxpayers were charged a billion dollars and the Air Force did not have any semblance of an ERP solution at the end of the program. Most likely, they will ask for bids to try and do this all over again.

In the government, the two most important variables are “good feelings” and “hassle.” Good feelings, in that the program managers are providing a return to their public sector clients, even if it is not necessarily what the clients requested. Programs usually start out with the best of intentions to give the clients what they need and end up with add-ons, engineering and requirements creep as well as schedule overruns because of the constant modifications. Again, the ECSS failure is a textbook case of constantly changing requirements and pushing all the decisions and hassles onto the consultant.

The “lack of a hassle” is important to the government in that most of the rank and file will get paid whether or not the program fails. As stated in a recent Government Accounting Office report, government program managers are not always held accountable for their decisions, are reluctant to share bad news and need to communicate and collaborate more. Therefore, whatever a consultant can do to make management’s life easier and move the implementation along will be more embraced than a better solution at a lower price.

Working in the private sector was a real change of pace. The importance of the variables in the value equation could not be more different. Price was the most important followed closely by the solution. Good feelings and hassle were not that important to private firms unless they directly impacted profitability. In stark contrast to government programs, the small to large manufacturing firms I have dealt with are incredibly focused on price and how ERP software could allow them to operate more efficiently and cost-effectively. Private sector program managers scrutinized every invoice with an eye on profitability and return on investment. They needed a good solution as it would increase productivity, growth and profitability. The private sector employees were also very accountable. Unlike ECSS and the Air Force, they were rewarded for success and fired if they failed.

Scope and schedule were very important as they directly translated into dollars. Private implementations are very close to schedule and scope (as compared to their public sector peers) and it would be career-ending for any private sector employee to spend millions on a program that was years over schedule, over budget and failed to meet major milestones. (Well, except for the CEOs but that is another article.)

To sum it up, commercial and government ERP implementations each have a long laundry list of pros and cons. The wise consultant will know which levers in the value equation to pull and the different mechanisms vital to either sector that must be addressed. In short, the grass is always greener on the other side but in the end it still tastes like grass.

Workforce Transition in Public Sector

pexels-photoAt first glance, high-performing government agencies resemble well-run companies. Both have defined goals, developed processes, strict accountability and effective leaders. Yet the profound differences in their purposes, cultures and the contexts within which they operate conjure up very different obstacles in the way change management needs to be implemented.

Government organizations exist and work towards fulfilling a social purpose. These social services can range anywhere from the postal service and law enforcement to visible citizen services such as licenses, permits and social security. The tax revenues collected from the citizens are used to provide these services to the citizen. There is an underlying patriotic theme to such services that can be referred to as a citizen’s “return on citizenship” (ROC).

In the corporate world, if the client does not feel like their return on their investment (ROI) is high enough, then the client will take their investment elsewhere to another business. The same is true in a government organization. If a citizen does not feel like their return on their taxes is high enough, the citizen can take their taxes elsewhere, and choose to live – and pay taxes – in a different city, state or country. A citizen’s social needs are met if he/she feels that his/her taxes are coming back to him/her in the form of consistent, basic services that enables him/her to be effective in society. In order for government to satisfy its role, it must continually transform itself to deliver on its mission to its citizens. A common, but impactful change that government organizations can undertake to improve ROC is an ERP implementation.

Conventional change management models for an ERP implementation that work effectively in private, corporate settings have limited impact in government engagements. The size, scope and duration of an ERP implementation for a government organization differ from one of a corporate engagement and require a unique an enhanced knowledge of the market on part of the workforce transition consultants. The selection, evaluation, implementation and post-implementation strategies must take into account a different reality. While both corporate and government organizations are exposed to economic, technological, political and social forces, the implications of organizational change differ substantially.

In order to account for these differences, workforce transition in a government institution should not be considered a single project with a defined start and end, but a continuous strategic plan of action that, while incorporating some of the similar tools and methodologies that are utilized in private companies, is tailored toward the nuances of government organizations.

Be sure to check out our white paper, The Need for Public Sector Innovation: Facing the Challenges Posed by Public Sector IT Initiatives.

Written by Daniel Rivero de Aguilar Consultant of Industry Relations at Panorama Consulting Solutions. 

 

Public Sector Change Management Challenges

iStock_000012107860_MediumSome would argue that change management strategies and tactics are synonymous across the public and private sector. While the overreaching principles are the same, each organization must take into account things like culture, unions, employee mindset and the abilities of leadership to drive changes. With ERP implementations we often find that resistance to change is often driven by fear of the unknown. This translates to the need for clear and understandable communications around goals, impacts, timetables and overall implementation details.

In the public sector, these shared issues with the private sector can be exacerbated by budget constraints, rules and regulations, employee morale, accountabilities and, in some cases, lack of motivation.  Leaders must take the extra steps to include a comprehensive change management plan in their ERP implementation. In many cases, this starts with comprehensive training of the leadership team. Following are five key steps to address potential challenges:

  1. Clearly Define Implementation Goals and Objectives. Spend the time explaining how the ERP implementation fits with mission of the public sector entity. At Panorama, we start with the concept of return on citizenship (ROC). Similar to what the private sector calls return on investment, ROC is the bedrock of the any public sector entity that spends taxpayer dollars to provide a service to their constituents. An ERP implementation is a way to enhance and improve that service. While it sounds obvious, ROC is often overlooked.
  2. Provide Comprehensive Training for Leadership. Comprehensive ERP implementations are not common in the private sector, much less in the public sector. Therefore it is important to take the time to train and inform leadership and project team about the purpose of the ERP implementation, their roles and responsibilities and what to expect throughout the implementation.
  3. Include Organizational Change Management. We know from our own research that companies with effective change management and communications plans are 3.5 times more likely to outperform industry peers. In the public sector, this number is even higher. A change management plan includes taking the time to establish organizational readiness, conduct business process mapping, prepare workforce transition and training strategy documents, conduct change agent training, and prepare a change impact analysis. In addition, a communications plan needs to be prepared that includes strategies, tactics, target audiences, key messages, timing and activities.
  4. Acknowledge the “Elephant in the Room.” An ERP implementation will change the way employees perform their jobs. There will be resistance not only from the expected areas but also from unexpected and maybe even unknown areas. Be honest about this fact and address the naysayers by having a plan in place. There will plenty of unexpected bumps along the way so be wary of passive aggressive personalities, especially among key influencers within work groups.
  5. Embrace and Address Unions. Make unions a partner in the process and engage them from the onset of the ERP implementation to ensure they have a clear understanding of goals and impacts. If there will be staffing implications, resolve them before you go-live. Partnering with unions will pay huge dividends in the success of your ERP implementation.  Ignore them at your own peril.

There are many more considerations regarding change management in the public sector but these five are the critical first steps to ensure success. At Panorama Government Solutions, we have a comprehensive and proven change management methodology that can be tailored to the unique needs of each engagement. We pride ourselves on helping our partners in government navigate the ERP selection and implementation process with our PERFECT Change™ methodology.

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