Efficiency. It’s the buzzword making its way around the corridors and conference rooms of many government agencies in late 2014. Like most catch phrases that make their way into government reports and agency directives, the idea has strong merit, but the question is always, how does an agency define efficiency and put a plan into action that drives towards that goal?
As is often the case, IT has a central role in helping agency leaders comply with mandates and support their mission goals. While IT is most often associated with being a cost center, that reputation is largely undeserved. Sure, IT does consume its fair share of CapEx and OpEx to keep pace with the growth of big data, the demands of cyber security, and increasingly complex missions, but, if leveraged correctly, IT can enable more data to be processed, protect systems from attack and downtime, and help an agency deliver more services faster and better to citizens.
Chris Steel, Chief Solutions Architect for Software AG Government Solutions, recently highlighted three ways in which IT is integral in the drive for efficiency. In a recent interview with Information Week, Steel outlined three key principles which can turn IT from a cost center into a savings tool, and not just in terms of dollars spent, but in how time is used, how systems operate, and how the agency meets its mission. His basic principles to approaching IT as an efficiency hub are to “embrace and extend” IT systems, rather than rip and replace; to “try before you buy” to ensure a solution does what it says it will and what the agency wants it to do; and to “start slow and build upon success.” If these three principles guide IT departments, it’s possible to not only improve the efficiency of operations but also to be parsimonious in how budget is used.
But, these are just the starting principles for how government agencies can leverage IT for more efficient operations. This month, ModernGov will take a close look at the myriad of ways that IT can help government agencies work smarter, not harder. Over the next few weeks we will explore how agencies are streamlining operations to minimize duplication, cooperating and sharing best practices, and using IT tools to combat waste, fraud, and abuse.
So, make sure to stop by ModernGov to see what you can incorporate into your IT team’s best practices, or to be more efficient. Also, why not sign up to have the latest stories delivered to your inbox?