By david.gourlay on Jun 05, 2009
An Introduction to Oracle's Canadian Performance-Driven Government Program
David Gourlay, Director of Business Development (Public Sector, Canada) Oracle
As governments respond to insecurity in the global marketplace and job losses across Canada, they emphasize a familiar, yet critical, operating principle; doing more with less and ensuring public expenditures demonstrate value for money. This is no more relevant than in today’s uncertain fiscal environment where increased public spending is focused on stimulating and foster economic growth. As stimulus often means responsible spending, it must be supported by legitimate internal performance and reporting tools that deliver accountability, transparency and accessibility to show management leadership during recessionary periods.
However, it can be quite a challenge to deliver efficiency through a decision-making culture based on an integrated, enterprise-wide IT platform supported by performance / reporting business intelligence tools. Regrettably, barriers exist preventing organizations to maximize IT solutions to transform systems and leverage data and information sources into innovative performance measurement drivers and eventually, reporting vehicles for constituents. Complicating this is a more technologically savvy constituent base that has increased political and service expectations for their daily interactions and transactions with their government.
From a transformative perspective, an evolving paradigm is to accelerate the integration of focus points to concentrate on constituent needs and expectations over service/regional/functional silos to improve responsiveness, service delivery and operating efficiencies. This new governance model addresses barriers such as unsynchronized channels, inefficient business processes and redundant technology. Timely new thinking will enable a transformation to foster accountability through enabling technology and a process workflow model to mature governance beyond departmental- centric silos and align constituent interactions more seamlessly.
This model seeks to provide a 360º view of the constituent based on a multiple communication channel approach (web, phone, face-to-face, etc) to traverse channels and organize incoming data. Tools such as a 3-1-1 Contact Center for enterprise-wide integration of workflow, centralization of back office processes and finally, business intelligence & analytics support a performance reporting environment. It is within these parameters that tracking and analysis of service performance and budget data translates into a more effective resource reallocation regime and a lifecycle approach to constituent relationships that assist to measure program performance to better manage service issues.
At the heart of a successful performance driven culture is a “Citizen Relationship Management” (CRM) model that provides a single environment to integrate departmental systems to capture, analyze and answer constituent-driven requests. It engages constituents and government employees as key stakeholders, provides streamlined access to government information and services by encouraging interagency IT initiatives that, while improving constituent services, also consolidates disparate systems, decreases paperwork, increases productivity and saves money.
By introducing a holistic and lifecycle approach to performance measurement and management, Canadian governments regardless of size or program / policy / service mandate are able to deliver piece by piece a management vehicle to accelerate the delivery of accountability for citizens.
To emphasize this, a model can be found in New York. The City’s approach demonstrates how best to deliver this model through executive leadership. Upon taking office in January 2002, newly elected Mayor Michael Bloomberg, inspired by similar systems that were being piloted in a handful of cities nationwide, announced as one of his first acts in office plans for the creation of a 3-1-1 Service Center for New York City. This service acts as a centralized repository for citizens to make requests, lodge complaints or simply get straightforward answers to questions about the city government and its services.
It is now a model of excellence for all municipalities based on the platform supporting service delivery automation with CRM which allows the City to not only more efficiently respond to calls and the program is also designed to proactively address with situations that lead to a high volume of calls or incidents. This proactive approach is what Mayor Bloomberg means when he says, “It’s not just a citizen service hot line, it is the most powerful management tool ever developed for New York City government. I can’t imagine running the city without it.”
Now, the City of New York has delivered on the potential transparency and accessibility functions by launching the Citywide Performance Review (CPR) website that is a comprehensive reporting vehicle to track the effectiveness of municipal services based on a series of indicators. It does not discriminate from the good news or the bad news using CRM and Business Intelligence tools that result in dashboards and scorecards for the public to view how well their public resources are used.
Traditionally, CRM has been a commercial business application to provide business a more strategic competitive advantage by delivering a seamless, unified customer experience for interactions regardless of internal organization. Now, CRM is an attractive tool for government organizations as they transform themselves to foster the translation of citizen-relevant data into actionable information by providing the right information to the right person at the right time. Also, CRM embeds a proactive culture as it extends an understanding of citizen needs throughout an enterprise thus enabling all functional areas to make informed, citizen-based decisions. As CRM can capture incoming data from multi-channel inputs, a 3-1-1 program highlights a workflow process for citizen contact, workload tracking process and finally, performance management. With careful thoughtful leadership such as the model Mayor Bloomberg delivered in New York City, a service delivery regime can be transformational, streamline processes and align service and program tasks more seamlessly to drive down costs and enhance decision making.
This is a story about executive leadership and a vision for not only what the requirement is; a citizen facing service to centralize and simplify, but also a management tool to support better decision making. Municipal leaders whether they are elected officials or senior administrators must champion models of performance metrics to align their accountability, transparency and accessibility mandates with the technology that is available to support such opportunities.
Momentum is building for support of how a 3-1-1 citizen-facing service culture can transform performance measurements and drive reporting so that 3-1-1 is a management tool. For instance, last November, the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard unveiled a report, “3-1-1: The Next Wave: Nine Imperatives for Leadership of 3-1-1 – Enabled Government” that articulates 3-1-1 programs as key transformative initiatives that not only represent a single entry point to a government, but leverage data to make stronger policy, financial and service delivery decisions. As local governments are predominantly focused on service delivery, a 3-1-1 program leads directly to supporting a performance / reporting environment.
Several municipal jurisdictions in North America currently have 3-1-1 programs and in Canada, the Region of Halton in Ontario and the City of Calgary are leading the way with their comprehensive business models and tools to support a complete citizen experience. Now we see more opportunities for smaller municipalities to engage in 3-1-1 despite lower population bases. As the Harvard report advocates, regionalization of programs that share resources and information regardless whether it is across municipal boundaries or jurisdictions is a major new trend for 3-1-1 and CRM programs to drive better performance reporting.
Canada has an opportunity to learn from international pioneers on how executive leadership, proven business models and IT solutions can deliver a lifecycle approach of performance-driven government. By demonstrating a commitment such as Mayor Bloomberg has done in New York City to deliver accountability, transparency and accessibility , this will lead to legitimacy of any exercise that undertakes to reduce costs of service delivery and enhances efficiency of a public sector organization. This speaks to the very heart of democratic institutions that allocate public resources to deliver on their core mandates and the dialogue on how best to move this agenda forward is central to any transformative processes.