Posted onin Leadership/Management
The financial thumbscrews are tightening everywhere, especially in government! But how do you cut costs and still provide the services John Q. Public demands? Consider this: every day, millions of us citizens contact our state in each of the 50 states of the union, to do the same something, and get the same end result. Oh, and ponder this – with respect to the applications that are used by individual government entities: after spending months building and implementing an application from scratch, it turns out that some IT elsewhere already built a bigger, better, faster app with a cherry on top! So time, trouble, money and resources were wasted doing “this” when they were desperately needed elsewhere doing “that.” What do these two scenarios have in common? Not “sharing.”
It’s not like nobody ever thought of getting rid of redundancies. The problem, according to Ken Theis, CIO of the State of Michigan, and Director for the new Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB), is that it’s hard changing the way things have been done over the past 30-40 years, commonizing processes, consolidating, and managing change. Economics are driving the change, and cloud services and middleware are making it feasible. (Beyond the envelope: The true “sharing” of services, CIO Talk Radio: September 8, 2010 6:44 – 7:25) As Thom Rubel, VP at IDC Research quipped, “bad budgets are good for IT because they force the behavior changes needed to deliver better for less!” (21:53 – 22:34)
There are good business reasons to bring services together in government. The drives in government are different because they are based not on creating/innovating, but on providing services to fulfill a mission. The potential with shared services is to get government to make a business move to an enterprise service delivery and implement processes that make government “smart.” (Thom Rubel, 12:45 – 14:57) Business may be watching to see how things go, but in Michigan, consolidation and shared services have been so economically successful, they are being extended to HR, finance, budget, facilities, and procurement. (Ken Theis, CIO Michigan 11:49 – 12:29)
Both CIO Ken Theis and IDC’s Thom Rubel see an acceleration of the shared services trend, by 2015. And there will be more intergovernmental shared services that will change the look of government as well. (25:30 -27:54)
Are shared services a tradeoff between more interconnected and possibly more intrusive government (along with privacy and security issues) versus lower costs and lower taxes? What do you think?