Posts

Creating a Balanced Portfolio of Information Technology Metrics

DesouzaCoverMetricsMy new report published by the IBM Center for the Business of Government is now available.

Creating a Balanced Portfolio of Information Technology Metrics

Information technology has made possible the availability of real-time data and the tools to display that data, such as dashboards, scorecards, and heat maps. This has boosted the use of data and evidence by government decision makers in meeting their agency and program missions. But what about the use of performance metrics by agency chief information officers themselves?

Typically, CIOs have a good inventory of metrics regarding the performance of their technical infrastructure, such as server down time. Metrics on non-technical elements, however — such as innovation capacity of the IT department and the health of the overall IT organization — are in earlier stages of development. These metrics are critical for CIOs to effectively manage their IT departments, and to convey the strategic value of IT capabilities for attaining agency-wide objectives.

A balanced portfolio of metrics are needed: for project management, for operations management, and for innovation. Based on interviews with over two dozen seasoned government CIOs, the report identifies illustrative metrics that CIOs might consider adopting and offers a set of recommendation for how CIOs might go about designing, implementing, and evaluating the effectiveness of their metrics initiatives.

Deakin University – Research Seminar

Deakin_Worldly_LogoI am enjoying two weeks in Melbourne. I have been collaborating with colleagues from Deakin University and the University of Melbourne on research projects. On Tuesday, I will deliver a research seminar at the Faculty of Business and Law on IT Experiments for Social and Policy Innovation: A Design Science Perspective.

Information systems are critical assets that need to be strategically leveraged for social and policy innovation. In this presentation, I will highlight ongoing research projects showcasing how analytical, computational, and visualization technologies can be employed to solve some of the pressing global and public challenges from combating human trafficking to urbanization and sustainability. I will discuss these projects as learning experiments focusing on creating applied IT solutions while furthering evidence-driven policy design, implementation, and evaluation. Finally, a design-science inspired model to co-create innovative IT solutions will be presented.

On Wednesday, I will be spending the entire day meeting with researchers and faculty at the University of Melbourne.

Local Government 2035: Strategic Trends and Implications of New Technologies

11295579_10155567198015471_2381307221559114104_nToday, the Brookings Institution released the Local Government 2035: Strategic Trends and Implications of New Technologies paper as part of the Issues in Technology Innovation series.

Technological change is increasingly disruptive and destabilizing. In order to maintain effective governance systems, public sector entities must overcome stagnant tendencies and take a proactive stance—acting in the face of impending technological innovations. Future government entities must evolve into lean, responsive, and adaptive organizations capable of rapid response to societal shifts.

In this paper, we illustrate how technological advancements, such as the proliferation of drone technologies, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, and peer-2-peer services, will introduce data privatization challenges and destabilize existing governance systems. In order to maintain effective service delivery, public sector entities must increasingly consider the ramifications technology will have on income inequality, fragile and conflict states, and immigration—just to name a few.

They conclude by urging policymakers and government managers to chart out trends based on data, model the interactions within complex systems, and study the pathways towards outcomes to unearth intended and unintended consequences of strategic choices. The authors argue that designing a path forward for local governments will require deliberate collaboration among diverse stakeholders, an immersive engagement with the data and scenarios that will shape local communities, and employment of decision-tools to model and simulate alternatives.

Click here to download the paper.

The Sharing Economy and IT Metrics

Gov_logoI recently authored a piece for Governing on how the sharing economy has interesting implications for the future of local governments. Click here for the article. This paper is based on a research study that my team completed on how technology is shaping the future of government. The complete report will be released by the Brookings Institution.

 

fcw-logoMy article with Alison Sutherland on information technology metrics appeared in the April 15 print edition of Federal Computer Week. Click here to see the article. The web version of the article is available here.

Dashboards, More Cybersecurity, Citizen Disengagement, and …

It has been a busy few weeks, so here are some research updates:

Centralization of IT Governance in the Public Sector

HICSS-b1James Denford, Gregory Dawson, and I have a paper accepted for presentation at the Forty-Eighth Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.

An Argument for Centralization of IT Governance in the Public Sector

Using a configurational crisp set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (csQCA) approach, we find that effective public sector IT governance is structured differently than in the private sector. While states adopt a variety of IT governance structures, it is unmistakable that centralized yields better organizational outcomes than decentralized. As such, this paper makes a case for additional research in public sector governance in order to understand and explain these differences.

Jim Denford will present the paper at the conference. Click here for the conference program.

We have written several practitioner notes based on this paper, see InformationWeek and Brookings Tech Tank.

Capturing the Wisdom of Crowds – Planning

APAI have an article in the current issue of the American Planning Association's Planning magazine.

Capturing the Wisdom of Crowds

Combining citizen intelligence and online civic platforms.

By Kevin C. Desouza and Kendra L. Smith

Technology platforms for citizen intelligence are springing up quickly. Platforms such as Deliberatorium, DebateGraph, Cohere, YourView, and CoPe_it! all allow for extensive discourse. Each has special features such as multiple ways to contact other users and participate in discussion boards. Additionally, these platforms employ social analytics, discourse analytics, and social network maps. These sites allow users to gather information and debate ideas and solutions to specific community issues.

Users can also add evidence and information to other users' claims, which triggers conversations and sharing. In many U.S. cities, leaders are finding value in citizen intelligence. Online civic platforms tend to fall into four main categories, as one of us has also noted in an upcoming Journal of Urban Technology article. To read the more, please click here.

To read the print version, please click here.

Chennai: City Profile – Cities

30396Rashmi Krishnamurthy and I have a paper accepted in Cities

Cities around the world are experiencing tremendous population growth, and this is especially true in the developing world. In this profile, we feature the city of Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, India. Chennai is the largest industrial commercial center in South India; it is often referred as the “Detroit of India” and the “Gateway to South India.” In recent decades, large industrial facilities have been established in Chennai and its suburbs—resulting in large-scale population growth. However, this explosive growth has strained the urban infrastructure of this prominent city. In this profile, we provide an overview of Chennai’s urban history from social, economic, political, and environmental perspectives. We highlight the current and future challenges faced by the city, and we argue that it is well poised to leverage emerging smart city technologies. However, to effectively implement these technologies, city administrators need to undertake several measures; for example, a database capturing all dimensions of the city must be developed. By clearly delineating the urban planning and policy efforts to the present and offering a way forward, this paper contributes to the growing literature on smart cities and the unique urban challenges faced by cities in the developing world.  

The Perils of Petascale IT Projects

PetascaleITProjectsI have an article published in the current issue of FCW: The Business of Federal Technology on petascale IT projects.

Good news: We no longer have to talk about megascale IT projects. Large-scale ventures that typically cost $1 billion or more, megaprojects used to be all the rage, but they are quickly being superseded by petascale IT initiatives. Those projects can cost even more, involve complexity on a truly massive scale and require petaflops of computer processing. Despite the horrendous track record of delivering on even moderately complex IT projects, public-sector CIOs continue to embrace the design, planning and execution of petascale IT projects. To read more, please click here.

To view the article in the digital edition of the magazine, please click here.