Can government expand services and lower costs at the same time?
Can government improve or expand services and lower costs at the same time?With nearly 14 million people unemployed and 2.5 million that have given up looking for a job, most agree that government needs to be more efficient and lower costs. But in tough economic times like these, is it really possible for government to improve or expand services while lowering costs?
Is it really possible to "do more with less"?
We all know that the global economic downturn has really gotten people down. In September of this year, the US economy added 103,000 jobs, but the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.1%. The large number of unemployed makes an impact to businesses, governments and individuals. For individuals that are unemployed, or are experiencing the results of the economic downturn for some other reason, they have an increased need for services delivered by the government. For government organizations around the world, their budgets are shrinking, but the demand from their citizens for services is rising.
At the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, this is exactly what happened. The demand for services has been increasing and their resources have been declining, but this agency is not delivering less. In fact, they have been able to identify and reduce redundancies across the organization resulting in lower costs. They have also been able to increase collaboration across the agency allowing them to devote their shrinking resources to expanding their services and meeting their citizens needs.
See what Oklahoma Department of Human Services did to transform redundant systems into an efficient IT infrastructure.
These days, almost everyone feels some need to be more efficient with their resources and to be more mindful of wasteful practices that cost money. In the face of challenges to deliver services more effectively while coping with increasing demand, shrinking budgets, inflexible staffing, and rigid applications, government organizations have an opportunity to get smarter, move to a citizen-centric model and optimize operations to meet future business and technology needs.
The case study at OK Department of Human Services is a great example of how comprehensive strategic planning through enterprise architecture and requirements management can address these challenges, as well as help an agency to demonstrate compliance with government standards and show traceability for audits.
How government can transform their organizations to be citizen centric and dynamic at the same time
Software is the invisible thread that enables you to optimize results through clear linkages from the software to the citizen, to integrate across organizations connecting software,systems, and tools; and to collaborate to unify teams and break down silos inside an agency and across agency lines. This is a time when the world is under constant upheaval and transformation and government agencies are losing budget and resources and the people need more from their government and for their tax dollars.
I go back to the concept of doing more with less, and my thoughts turn to the idea that sometimes when we try to do more with less we end up sacrificing quality and often may lose the capability of some very important requirements. I think about the spork - a combination of the spoon (sp) and the fork (ork). 1 utensil with 2 functions; it is designed to perform as a fork and a spoon. In my opinion, this design is flawed. While it does combine the functionality of a fork and a spoon, it does so at a cost and does not account for the full capability needed by either the fork or the spoon.
Doing more with less isn't just about being resourceful, it is about being efficient, it is not about sacrificing quality, and it is about leveraging technology to be better. What are your thoughts on this? Most of us agree that government needs to do more with less, but is it really possible? How do you think government can expand services while lowering costs? Let us know in the comments below.