IntegrationBy Faisal Hoque Print
The problem stems from numerous inefficiencies caused by non-converged oversight, insufficient (or nonexistent) management, deficient accountability structures, and spending programs that are misaligned from intended outcomes.
When most people hear the word ‘integration’ they often immediately associate with the fallout of Wall Street’s latest M&A announcement or the failure of a large system integration project in private or public sector. But whether one sets out to bring together companies, departments, agencies, or ideas, there is a method that needs to be employed in any type of consolidation effort. Integration, whether it’s about organization, process, or technology is never easy. And it doesn’t apply to the private sector alone. It is taking place across a number of federal agencies as you read this article. President Obama stated:
“Now, we have made great strides over the last two years in using technology and getting rid of waste. Veterans can now download their electronic medical records with a click of the mouse. We're selling acres of federal office space that hasn't been used in years, and we will cut through red tape to get rid of more. But we need to think bigger. In the coming months, my administration will develop a proposal to merge, consolidate, and reorganize the federal government in a way that best serves the goal of a more competitive America.”
As I have discussed in previous writings regarding the management of business and technology in enterprises, establishing a governance process is a major part of this integration process. In government organizations, that process begins by establishing effective feedback and review processes of the agency’s current state and desired future state. A key element of this feedback is the clear articulation of the criteria that will be used to judge the success of each initiative undertaken to achieve a strategic goal.
Communication is often a prerequisite for establishing an effective “mission-driven” strategy, which is the result of a predictable planning process used to define and document the specific organizational capabilities that must be put in place to achieve goals and objectives. Once an agency has decided on its course, it must communicate the expected outcomes to its internal and external stakeholders. That means that in addition to documenting and planning for the execution of strategic initiatives, an agency must monitor the outcomes of each decision using mission-focused metrics that measure success in terms suitable both for agency executives and oversight groups. In order to do so effectively, and in a repeatable manner, they need practical yet analytical capabilities that can:
- Visually portray and assess an organization’s operating models and associated cost optimization
- Measure an organization’s governance and management structure as it relates to its service delivery and operations
- Move from current state to a higher value future state by following a Roadmap
- Assess alternative scenarios and strategic options
- Link between mission, execution process, and technology automation through modeling scenarios
The ultimate responsibility for all organizational initiatives and productivity resides squarely in the executive corner. Without executive buy-in and support, major strategic initiatives and even many operational programs will stall or fail. However, executive endorsement isn’t enough to make programs work. Putting improvement plans into action requires the vigilance of management at all levels to ensure programs are carried out according to the organization’s needs and goals.
This means active involvement in articulating the mission’s strategic vision, establishing metrics for its deployment and operations, and providing oversight of risks and compliance management. These capabilities ensure that required decisions are identified, assigned and effectively executed at the executive, agency, and program levels of government.
None of these things will happen overnight, and pitfalls and challenges are attached to each. An organization—private enterprise or government agency—setting out to improve the way it manages business and technology must realize that changing its governance and the organization will require time and attention.
Faisal Hoque is the founder and CEO of BTM Corporation. A former senior executive at GE and other multi-nationals, Faisal is an internationally known entrepreneur and thought leader. He has written five management books, established a non-profit research think tank, The BTM Institute, and become a leading authority on the issue of effective interaction between business and technology. His next book, The Power of Convergence, will be available in May 2011.
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