Decision Management and the Budget Deficits - Can better decision execution really help?
Cecile Poyet 270002RD4N CPOYET@US.IBM.COM | | Tags:  government operational-efficiencies buget-cuts cloud cost-reduction taxes social-services regulations business-rules citizen-services citizens new-delivery-models automation change deficits
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Budget crises are becoming a familiar, bad song -- for many governments, not just those in the U.S. However, in the U.S. alone, the National Association of State Budget Officers estimates that states will be facing $230 billion in budget gaps by the end of this year. The size of the deficits seems to be matched only by the size of the reports outlining hundreds of ways to reduce costs without necessarily cutting programs or levels of services. The challenge, of course, is recognizing the good ideas and making good on them. No easy feat since it’s generally easier to spend than save, easier to behave the same way than change the status quo even in the face of trouble.
Like most large organizations, governments have an uphill battle to change their operations because they’re often big collections of disparate, dug-in enterprises. This is why it sometimes takes a full-blown crisis to dismantle inefficiency before the requisite cultural, organizational and operational changes are made. There have been some great successes though like the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance that saved more than US$889 million while optimizing audit case selection. Successes we can emulate. But not enough of them, fast enough, in my opinion. And there’s really no excuse for it because the technology and talent is available to sustainably produce healthy budgets and first-class citizen service delivery.
Decision management to the rescue? I’ll go so far as to say that with decision management technologies alone, we could make a good dent in the current mess, special interests aside. As Maureen Fleming, program vice president of IDC’s BPM and middleware research explains very well: “Enterprises succeed or fail based on the decisions made by executives. They compete effectively or lose market share based on the operational decisions made by their managers. And they are more or less profitable based on the day-to-day decisions of the various knowledge and line workers who make up most of the workforce.”
If you’ve followed this blog, you’ve read our definition of decision management -- an approach combining software and expertise to automate, improve and govern operational decisions across the business. Those operational decisions, based on the expertise of your line-of-business managers, succeed when they are executed intelligently and consistently by line staff or online systems. And that happens by externalizing operational decisions from underlying processes and applications as distinct services and enabling business users to directly make and manage these decisions in language they use and understand. Only then can you reduce the time to implement change in response to changes in the global economy, regulations, civic environment or legislative policies. Only then can you deploy once and make changes immediately available to processes and applications across agencies. As an example, a Latin American tax collection agency has increased tax collection 8.1% within a year while reducing collection costs by 10% thanks to an SOA solution based on business rules. Now, we’re talking about smarter government services and operations!
Unfortunately, decision management’s not the answer to poor strategic decisions upon which operational or tactical decisions are based and then executed over and over again, but it is the answer to taking organizational expertise and actualizing it in every good decision that gets made, everyday.
To get a few more ideas about how technology can help government agencies save money and improve service delivery; ideas that include not only business rules, analytics and optimization, but also new delivery models like Cloud, download this new white paper – Five Ways to Reduce Costs and Drive Higher Efficiencies in Government.