A Smarter Government will provide an open platform

Governments at all levels, local, state, national, and transnational, are exemplifying the benefits of leveraging technology to improve outcomes for their communities. In Rio de Janeiro and Davao in the Philippines dynamic leaders have made public safety a priority and encouraged the unification of multiple agencies to create a safer environment. The United Kingdom and Singapore educate citizens about ways to obtain services through the most convenient and efficient channels through a multi-channel strategy approach to service delivery. These are all examples of Governments embarking on the journey to Smarter Government.

The term “Smart” has been used as a label and descriptor for everything from cities and their processes to the planet in general. But in all cases the term encompasses effectiveness and efficiency – the two words which are the cornerstone of “smarter” thinking..

In a Government context, “effectiveness” means delivering the outcomes required of the communities we serve.  This is not just about each government agency delivering services, it is more about the impact those services have on the people that consume them.  For example, if Social Services follows policy and “delivers” the service defined, it does not necessarily mean that vulnerable children are protected and abuse is avoided. We think it should because that was the outcome intended when the service was defined but Social Services on their own may not be able to achieve the outcome desired by the community. The outcome may require services from Health and the Police, who both contribute to the same outcome, to be considered together and measured accordingly.

Efficiency for Government means consuming less resource to deliver the same output.  A Smarter Government will leverage its assets across all agencies so that waste is removed and the right people are doing the right things to deliver the right outputs at the right time to achieve the desired outcomes of the community.

Characteristics of a Smarter Government

A Smarter Government needs to think differently about how services are consumed and how they are delivered to increase their effectiveness and efficiency.  A Smarter Government will transform itself from the constraints of current operating models.

Smart Government

Today business transformation is often about technology transformation.  This will remain true in the future for the most part.

The innovative use of new technology is at the heart of the journey to Smarter Government.  But this will require a new operating model to make best use of the technology; this is one of the cultural barriers governments need to overcome.

The new operating model for Smarter Government will require a Government moving from department centric to community centric behavior, from process orientation to service orientation, from output-based assessment to outcome-based assessment and from an organizational view to an integrated view across all stakeholders involved in delivering the service to the community.

Characteristics of the New Operating Model

The big change from today’s operating model will be a cultural one of sharing and collaboration. The role of a future government will be to govern, monitor and control the outcomes for its community. It will deliver fewer services itself and collaborate more with private sector and not-for-profit sector organizations to deliver the best outcomes for the lowest cost. One of the key services it will deliver is the business platform and governance model to enable organizations to share and collaborate both from a process and a technology perspective.

An operating model is an abstract representation of how an organization operates across process, organization and technology domains in order to accomplish its function. An organization is a complex system. An operating model breaks this system into components to improve understanding and suggest opportunities for improvement.  At IBM we use 11 such components; 8 falling into the process and organization domains and 3 falling into the technology domain.  These are shown in the diagram with a definition of each component.


An operating model can describe the way an organization does business today. Alternatively, a fictional model can communicate how the organization wants to transform its business. Such a fictional model is often referred to as a “Target Operating Model” (“TOM”). When building a TOM each component needs to be considered individually and holistically so that the best aggregate model is constructed to deliver the strategic outcomes for the lowest cost.

Impact on Government

The impact of this model on today’s Governments will mean they become leaner, more innovative and more efficient with a focus on effective outcomes for the community.  They will be able to respond more quickly to changing patterns of demand from the communities they serve.

The operating model components of “Component Model” and “Sourcing and Alliances” will look very different.  Governments will deliver fewer services themselves and work more in partnership with other agencies and the private sector to deliver the outcomes expected by the community.  Government activity will be more focused on policy making and compliance with service delivery being the responsibility of their partners.

However, they will continue to be responsible for the delivery of the outcomes expected by the community so changes will be required in both the “Performance Management” component of the model to make the metrics more transparent and in the three “Technology” components to make data available to partners and to enable data sharing and collaboration to take place between the partners to deliver the outcomes.

With the increased use of mobile and social business technology, the community will expect  innovation to happen frequently and quickly.  This will have a significant impact on the three “ Technology” components of the TOM.  There will be a clear differentiation between the governments system of engagement with its citizens and the underlying system of records.

The “People Organization” and “Process” components of the TOM will change significantly with the adoption of mobile technology in the field and the use of social tools for collaboration between teams to deliver the outcomes expected. Field workers productivity will increase sharply and the quality of decision making and therefore outcomes will rise too.

This will be possible because the field worker will access information more easily and collaborate with experts more quickly at the point of need. They will spend more time with their community delivering the outcomes and less time traveling or sitting in an office.

The common strategies for successful public governance involve insightful leadership and the effective use of technology.  The “Governance” component of the TOM will need to be redesigned to manage the partnerships that will now exist. New approaches will be required that use analytics, shared services and collaboration to deliver real transformation that benefits the public and government alike.  The new collaboration tools will enable governments to change the culture and transform relationships with citizens and employees creating an environment where efficiency and management by performance are the norm.

The Journey to a Smarter Government

Smarter Government Client Value Narrative v0.2Once the TOM has been designed at a strategic level the challenge will then by how it should be implemented.  This would be best done as a program of work over time because we are building a new set of capabilities and it will take patience and perseverance to embed these capabilities into the culture of the government organization. The diagram shows the full transformational journey delineating between the stages of the transformation and the capabilities that will be required at each step.  While the diagram suggests a timeline from left to right, the actual work can start on a number of stages at the same time.  However, the plan will need to reflect the linkages between the stages because advancing in one stage will, in some cases, be predicated on the existence of a capability in another.

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