A number of government organizations are considering the idea of merging internal IT departments and infrastructure by sharing service arrangements. There are financial savings and potential operational advantages to this approach. Relying on one, centralized IT organization ensures improved performance, better security measures and synergistic resilience.
Due to budget pressures, changing work habits and citizens’ expectations, public sector organizations are being pressured to be more mobile, adaptable and capable. “Cheeks in seats” is no longer the only option for public sector organizations and their workforce. There are many cloud, SaaS and hybrid approaches available that can give the public sector workforce the mobility and flexibility required to remain relevant in the 21st century.
There have been numerous IT success stories in the private sector where organizations took advantage of centralization facilitated by cloud solutions. The public sector, on the other hand, is not as agile and bottom-line driven as the private sector – and for very good reasons. Rather than saving money, some public sector IT initiatives actually have a negative ROI – and a negative return on citizenship (ROC). Failure to manage organizational change and a tendency to adhere to old and inefficient processes are the two of the main culprits.
Public sector organizations need third party guidance in order to achieve an optimal mix of technology upgrades and organizational change management. An independent third-party can walk a municipal, city, state or federal agency through the tall cotton and capture, validate and join long-term strategic goals with short-term functional, IT and user requirements. An independent organizational change management consultant can facilitate frequent horizontal and vertical communications and ensure that long-term employees do not feel threatened by new technology or the concept of shared and centralized services.
While the cloud provides several possibilities, a complete move to the cloud is not always practical, particularly for large agencies or organizations. Specific departments or agencies within a larger organization should migrate distinct offices or operations to the cloud in a three-step process:
- Define clear IT policies. The organization should implement a central IT infrastructure with clear and distinct policies that are standardized for crucial capabilities and applications. There needs to be a storefront for applications and a single IT throat to choke for management and control.
- Acquire private cloud infrastructure. By acquiring a private cloud infrastructure, the organization can highlight the automation and provision behind a single point of management and control.
- Evaluate who is using the services. Total cost of ownership can be calculated by determining which applications and capabilities are required and who is using each service. The CIO should evaluate the return on investment and decide which services can be efficiently used in the cloud and which ones need to be provisioned internally. Public sector organizations can also offer cloud services to smaller agencies and bill those customers based on their usage.
Organizational transformation and innovation cannot happen without the right technology and strategic organizational change management. You will not only save money in the long-run, but you will maximize your agency’s quality of service and its ability to achieve a high return on citizenship.
Learn more about how to ensure a successful IT project by listening to our webinar, How to Spot Warning Signs and Integrate Quality Assurance Into Your Project.
Written by Rich Farrell at Senior Manager of Client Services at Panorama Consulting Solutions.