It is often difficult to define, never mind embrace, a silver lining from occurrences that are so profoundly negative. However, government can, or more pointedly should, greatly benefit from our current, prolonged economic downturn.

In short, government at all levels (Federal, State and Local) is required to change its overall operational model – some entities already have or are well down the path. Operations, processes, and most importantly stakeholder/citizen interactions must change to accommodate current and future budget constraints. All of these changes must occur while providing citizens with enhanced customer services.

This is not a novel transformation – private industry made these changes years ago for the primary goal of running organizations more profitably by permanently decreasing their bottom-line cost structures. The positive outcome is that it not only created more efficient operations but also created a much happier consumer of services and in some cases increased top-line revenue. You don't need an MBA from a top-tier school to quantify the value.

Our citizens/stakeholders are demanding that government provide robust citizen centric, self-service models as well – think online banking. The complaint by government is that they don't have capital to invest – but there is no choice because they cannot continue to operate as a disparate bureaucracy. Government modernization needs to be focused on doing the job of government more efficiently. From issuing drivers licenses and benefit allocation to supporting private industry, government must run these organizations by harnessing clean, structured data and rules driven operations not by pushing paper in disparately connected bureaucratic organizations.

How does government make the change?

Enterprise Data Sharing / Enterprise Services

  • Securely share data across the enterprise to have one view into citizen and business stakeholders
  • Turn commodity operations into common services that are cost effectively offered to the enterprise

Efficient & Accurate Operations

  • Focus the transmission and display of data electronically and continue eliminating paper from operational processes
  • Structure data that can be mined and is actionable
  • Let rules and automated decisioning drive the organization to only deal with outliers

Customer Service

  • Make it easy for citizens and businesses to access services and information via self service channels (e.g., web, mobile devices)
  • Decrease citizen / access points (citizen and business one stop shopping & support)

Proactively target fraud & non-compliance

  • Use data to decrease fraudulent activities
  • Use data to validate program eligibility

Further, government does not have the time or more importantly the investment capital to modernize thru the traditional means. Modernization for government should not take the shape of previous multi-year, multi-million dollar programs but should capitalize on a high-value agile approach that provide achievable results within quick sprints. These changes will not only decrease cost but they may actually support healthy economic development.