I have to admit this is a great read.
I preface, I am not an IT expert by any way shape or means.
I have some knowledge. And, these are indeed huge tasks, no they go well beyond huge. It’s a major paradigm shift.
But, something each agency can and should do is a full analysis of their entire IT landscape with an internal data call that looks across Internet and Intranet related Web costs, all hardware costs, all associated Internet and intranet human resource related costs both FTE and contracted.
If a big picture was compiled and analyzed across all organizations within a single agency on where spending is and where is will be. What is old, what is replaceable/decommissionable (not too sure that is a real word) and what can be streamlined or cut back on. This is indeed a first step.
Instead of just building more widgets, gadgets, tools, acquiring COTS products, bodies and other IT related accoutrements.
What is hard is the disparity of older antiquated systems/databases/inefficiencies which are still running and being used but not compatible, no longer useful, needed nor inline with newer systems across differing agencies.
Ok my simplistic analogy is…likened to one agency with multiple internal organizations who are all speaking and living their own foreign language like a single country. And there is no commonality in being able to work together not better because nobody can understand each other. Everyone one has a different system, different language and different outputs.
Solving the systemic disparity issues is in deed a tough one, even for one single agency, let alone all agencies collectively.
And, let’s just put it on the table, then there is the whole internal political dynamics of merging/consolidating systems/organizations within an agency.
Therein lies another huge people challenge as well. Let’s admit it, being human beings, we do not like to give up, give in to what we have birthed, built or grown with our hands and our hard earned efforts. As “they” become our “babies”
How do you tackle the people dynamic with such huge systemic changes?
I read within the past year a short book by Harvard Business Review.
It is worthy of a read. It’s is fairly easy to digest, good for commuting.
It provides excellent information and insight on leading organizations during times of change.
In Kotter’s essay, “Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail”, he analyzes common errors of leading through change, and converts them into 8 steps for transforming an organization: (1) establishing a sense of urgency, (2) forming a powerful guiding coalition, (3) creating a vision, (4) communicating the vision, (5) empowering others to act on the vision, (6) planning for and creating short-term wins, (7) consolidating improvements and creating still more changes, and (8) institutionalizing new approaches. Kotter shows how these 8 principles can lead to either the downfall or the success of an organization.
I also found Ram Charan’s essay, “Conquering a Culture of Indecision”, to be extremely helpful. He outlines the steps for creating greater communication, turning that into action, and providing follow-through and feedback.’s a quick read. Found on Amazon.com
Who has performed such a baseline internal data call?
Successful? End result?
If there was a common data call set sent out for use for all agencies then this could be a starting point. Has anyone done that? Plausible? But, again the disparity across all agencies is so gigantic.
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