Monday, October 17th, 2011 - 11:26
Monday, October 17, 2011 - 11:24
Transformational change is not easy, particularly in government organizations. This blog provides tools and insights that will help guide migration efforts.
Change does not happen quickly in government institutions. Indeed, some argue that change should not happen too swiftly—that stability is more important than agility—and government should evolve slowly and deliberately rather than shift rapidly with political agendas.
Migration to Shared Services is a long-term, strategic, transformational proposition. Transformational change can be challenging in any environment, but can be particularly challenging in the public sector. Budget cycles and funding models do not always support long-term initiatives. Strategic priorities change when administrations change. And in a culture that stresses collaboration and consensus over top-down decision-making, tough decisions are sometimes avoided.
What can public sector organizations do, then, to move migrations productively and predictably forward?
Begin with the basics
First, as simple as it sounds, the most important thing that can be done at the onset of a migration to Shared Services is to acknowledge the effort as a project and adopt disciplined project management methods. Work with stakeholders to understand and articulate project objectives. Develop a detailed migration roadmap and project plan, and build a project team focused on execution and committed to success. Implement project tracking and reporting mechanisms to track and report progress and impediments to progress.
Build one project plan, not two
A technology migration project is often a first experience for the young Shared Services provider-customer relationship and represents an ideal opportunity for these parties to build their partnership. Successful migrations are the result of these two parties coming together to establish a common set of project objectives, develop and manage to a single comprehensive project plan, and commit to working together to resolve issues and remove roadblocks.
Lead with leadership
Ideally, an agency executive steps up as a Shared Services project sponsor to visibly and vocally lead and support the migration effort, enthusiastically personify outcomes, relentlessly remove issues and roadblocks, and work hard to inspire results. However, in the absence of a single sponsor, or in an environment where leadership shifts regularly occur, strong governance can be put into place to provide broader, more permanent leadership. This governance should be participatory, fully representing stakeholder constituencies and providing for a full cadre of subject matter expertise. This governance should be transparent, providing full and open communication about the Shared Services effort. This governance should be accountable and fully committed to moving the effort forward.
Expect the unexpected
As with any major deployment, problems are going to happen, issues are going to arise, and roadblocks are going to get in the way during a Shared Services implementation. A good risk mitigation strategy includes procedures to log issues and risks, tracks progress toward issue and risk resolution, and leverages lessons learned to avoid or minimize future issues and risks. It also monitors how effectively communication and change management methods are addressing the impact of change on people. The risk management process involves both provider and customer personnel so they operate in tandem to address risk—avoiding blame and preventing damage to the young provider-customer relationship.
Stay the course
Shared Services migrations are not easy; they take a long time and people get distracted and discouraged. Keep people focused on the benefits and celebrate every single success.
Coming up next
Join us next time as we discuss how to manage people in the Shared Services equation.
Adam Jelic has over 18 years of Business Transformation and Information Technology experience. He has deep expertise across several industries including financial, industrial, communications, and the public sector. Mr. Jelic has led large and complex programs including Strategic Business planning, Shared Services, Enterprise Infrastructure, Supply Chain, Human Resources, and Customer Relationship Management.
He has an excellent track record of delivering successful programs for Fortune 50 firms and government agencies in the United States and Canada.
Adam Jelic (firstname.lastname@example.org)