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In it for the Long Haul: Sustaining an IT Investment’s Impact Over Time

You’ve asked the right questions. You’ve taken steps towards measuring the ROI to make sure you’re getting the most out of your project. Congratulations — your project is implemented and running along, and everybody is seeing the value. But there’s yet more to do. Now, it’s time to make sure: is this IT investment you’ve spent so much time really going to be there for the long haul? How?

This is a particularly important question to consider today, when IT investments to make better services for citizens are more important than ever. Citizen expectations are very high, and they want to access government services 24/7, from any device, be it desktop or mobile.

This dynamic in government means you must now focus on how services can be transformed through IT, linking constituent and operational needs. This process often starts with smart investments and proper document management. For instance, with enterprise content management (ECM), online services can effectively deliver a higher level of service to constituents. Yet, the transformation potential that technology presents today goes far beyond just dollars and efficiencies, technology is facilitating the underlying theme demanded by constituents – a more responsive and proactive government.

So once you’ve invested to meet those needs, how do you ensure your investments will last and be effective?

According to this recent Governing report, Selecting and Sustaining IT Investments in Government, “the follow strategies are important to implement throughout the IT project lifecycle, not just at the start or the end. By adhering to these steps, you’ll help you ensure your organization is investing in a sustainable solution that supports the enterprise vision for the long run.”

  • Process maps. Clear and detailed diagrams, flow charts, or lists of systems and work processes give you a solid understanding of IT roles in your organization’s business activity today. These visuals can also help you define where IT needs to go for the future. Create these process maps as part of your discovery activity for a new IT project, then remember to update them after the new system is in place.
  • User introduction and training. Educating users is critical to adoption of a new IT solution and to the project’s overall success. Internal user groups and user days are great ways to demonstrate and share information about new IT solutions. For example, you can illustrate how a new solution will yield improvements in the user experience and/or reductions in user workload. Current users can explain to new adopters how they work with and benefit from a particular technology solution in clear, relevant and non-technical terms. Additionally, the education resources available through your vendor can be a costeffective way to train users instead of developing your own programs or bringing in a consultant.
  • Reporting results. For many users and business managers, IT is invisible until they experience a problem. A government IT annual report can discuss issues and progress on your organization’s challenges as well as improvements in systems, processes, information access, and other technical and business parameters.
  • Revisiting the enterprise vision. The work of IT truly is never done. So it’s important to follow a regular process for evaluating IT progress and defining new plans at the enterprise level. This review will help IT and business stakeholders recognize and plan for new directions in technology and the enterprise vision.
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