Posts

Measuring IT Value: Designing Metrics and Dashboards

IBM For a third year in a row, I have been fortunate to receive a grant from the IBM Center for the Business of Government.

Measuring IT Value in the Public Sector:  Designing Metrics and Dashboards

IT investments are varied, unique, and integral to all efforts including service delivery, citizen engagement, and running of internal business processes. While it is commonly accepted that IT investments have organizational value, quantifying the value impact of IT remains elusive. Metrics can be a powerful mechanism for agencies to assess and achieve their goals in an intelligent, evidence-driven manner. They offer agencies the ability to identify problems, target issues, evaluate processes, establish performance goals, monitor efforts and communicate results. This report will study how CIOs employ metrics for evaluating IT investments and projects, and can communicate the value of IT to stakeholders both within and beyond their agency.

Past reports published my the IBM Center for the Business of Government

Intrapreneurship – Government Technology

download Kendra Smith and I wrote a piece for Government Technology on Intrapreneurship. Public agencies need to build a capacity for intrapreneurship. Intrapreneurs invent new practices, programs, and solutions to address problems and opportunities faced by an organization. These individuals are passionate about the organizations they work for and do not just accept the status quo. They bootstrap and bootleg, they might be viewed as radical (or guerilla) by their peers, and they want to move their organizations ahead. To read more, please click here.

Talks in Norway – BI, Norwegian Univ. of Science and Technology, and SINTEF

Starting on Thursday, I will be visiting Norway to give several invited lectures. My first stop will be at the BI Norwegian Business School in Oslo. I will be delivering my talk to the Leadership and Organizational Behaviour group.

imagesDisastrous Large-Scale Technology Projects in the Public Sector: Unpacking Complexity
I will examine what accounts for ‘complexity’ when we consider large-scale technology projects in the public sector. There are several examples of such projects from the IRS Business Systems Modernization to the Seattle Monorail Project and, most recently, healthcare.gov. Complexity could arise from the ‘public’ nature of these efforts. Issues to be considered include: the ability to manage expectations of a diverse stakeholder population, the lack of capabilities when it comes to IT management and governance, the fact that these projects are laden with a higher-level of risk from the start as the efforts have a higher degree of innovativeness, setting up of false expectations, escalation of commitments, etc. The paper develops a series of propositions based on data drawn from cases of large-scale technology projects that have turned out to be disasters. A theoretical model is put forth for consideration.

ntnuI will then head up to Trondheim, where I will deliver a talk to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The talk titled, Data Governance versus Big Computation: Tortoise and the Hare, draws on my current work on big data and analytics for the public good.

Over the last few years, we have certainly seen a flurry of activity around big data. Widespread efforts by a number of academic communities – including computer science, engineering, mathematics, and statistics - have led to advancements in how we capture, store, analyze, visualize, and apply big data. Unfortunately, these advancements have not kept up with innovations in data governance. Deficiencies in data governance limit our ability to truly take advantage of computational advances. In this talk, I will highlight challenges and opportunities in data governance in the context of big data. I will draw on illustrative examples from my work in big data in the public sector and from tackling social challenges (e.g. countering human trafficking).

sintefDuring my visit to Trondheim, I will also spend time with researchers at SINTEF, the largest independent research organization in
Scandinavia, discussing issues of knowledge management and process improvement in the context of software engineering systems and organizations.

Big Data Analytics and the US Social Security Administration, Information Polity

15701255Rashmi Krishnamurthy and I have a paper accepted for publication in Information Polity. The paper, Big Data Analytics: The Case of the Social Security Administrationis one of the many case studies conducted during my research for my report on Big Data, published by the IBM Center for the Business of Government.

Public agencies are investing significant resources in big data analytics to mine valuable information, predict future outcomes, and make data-driven decisions. In order to foster a strong understanding of the opportunities and challenges associated with the adoption of big data analytics in the public sphere, we analyze various efforts undertaken by the United States Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA, which is commonly referred to as the “face of the government,” collects, manages, and curates large volumes of data to provide Social Security services to US citizens and beneficiaries living abroad. The agency has made great strides in the burgeoning big data space to improve administration and delivery of services. This has included: (1) improving its arcane legacy system, (2) developing employee and end-user capability, (3) implementing data management strategies and organizational architecture, (4) managing security and privacy issues, and (5) advocating for increased investment in big data analytics. Despite these efforts, the SSA is still in the early stages of developing capability in the domain of big data analytics. By outlining challenges and opportunities facing the SSA, we discuss policy implications and explore issues to consider when public agencies begin to develop the capacity to analyze big data. 

The paper is scheduled to appear later this year, in Vol. 19, Issue 3.

Mobile App Development in Highly Regulated Industries Report Released

TSIMReporthe Advanced Practices Council of the Society for Information Management has just published my report, Mobile App Development in Highly Regulated Industries: Risks, Rewards and Recipes. I co-authored the report with my former graduate student, Paul Simons, who serves as the CEO of iHear Network.

Executive Summary

Mobile computing has the potential to be as disruptive to the status quo as the Internet in the 1990s or the Model T in the early 20th century. A driving force behind mobile computing is the adoption of mobile apps, which increase revenues through new and refined business models, greater brand awareness and customer loyalty, and tools that increase employee productivity. However, not all organizations that launch mobile apps end up with successful products. The rewards may be lucrative, but there are risks of entering the marketplace with new products. In highly regulated industries, the risks are compounded by additional constraints for developing mobile software related to protecting and communicating information. Firms in such industries must implement comprehensive security solutions that go beyond standard industry regulatory systems. Since regulations always lag behind technological advancement, organizations must anticipate how their actions might trigger future legislative responses and the impacts on users’ expectations of privacy and trust. Another risk that stems from rapid growth of mobile software is the reduced barrier to entry for emerging companies, especially from startups that circumnavigate existing regulations on the use of mobile technology.

Due to the rapidly changing nature of mobile apps, design thinking has emerged as a methodology to help guide an organization through the process of developing mobile apps. Traditional linear modes of development are not sufficient or flexible enough to keep up with innovation in mobile hardware, software, and mobile operating systems. Design thinking has grown beyond just a methodology for developing software products and experiences to a means of developing business strategy. This non-linear mode of strategy development is better suited for mobile strategy because it provides greater insight into the needs and desires of end users, fosters innovative and creative solutions, and provides greater flexibility to adapt to the changing circumstances caused by disruptive forces of the mobile revolution. This enables the Chief Information Officer (CIO) to provide greater leadership in exploiting internal and external opportunities. This report provides a number of recommendations to CIOs in mobile app development.

Stanford Social Innovation Research – Big Data

Summer_2014_Cover_small_170_223I co-authored an article on the role of big data for social innovation in the current issue of Stanford Social Innovation Research.

Nonprofits and other social change organizations are lagging their counterparts in the scientific and business communities in collecting and analyzing the vast amounts of data that are being generated by digital technology. Four steps need to be taken to improve the use of big data for social innovation.

This article builds on my provisos work that looked at big data opportunities and challenges in the public sector funded by the IBM Center for the Business of Government.

Big Data goes to Germany and Slovenia

fis tumI will be giving two talks this week on my Big Data report. The first presentation will take place at the Fakultät für InformatikTechnische Universität München on March 12 (See here for more details). I will then fly to Slovenia to give a talk at the Faculty of Information Studies in Slovenia on March 14.

Open Innovation in the Public Sector – Challenge.Gov – Public Administration Review

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Ines Mergel and I have a paper accepted in Public Administration Review

Implementing Open Innovation in the Public Sector:
The Case of Challenge.Gov

As part of the Open Government Initiative (OGI), the Obama administration has called for new forms of collaboration with stakeholders to increase innovativeness of public service delivery. Federal managers can utilize Challenge.gov to crowdsource solutions from previously untapped problem solvers and leverage collective intelligence to tackle complex social and technical public management problems. We highlight the work conducted by the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies at the General Services Administration (GSA), the administrator of the Challenge.gov platform. Specifically, we feature the work of Tammi Marcoullier, Program Manager, Challenge.gov, and Karen Trebon Deputy Program Manager for Challenge.gov, and their role as change agents mediating collaborative practices between policy makers and public agencies in navigating the political and legal challenges within their local agencies. We provide insights into the implementation process of crowdsourcing solutions for public management problems as well as lessons learned designing open innovation processes in the public sector.