Posts

Unpacking Complexities of Mega-Scale Public Sector IT projects – Systèmes d’Information et Management

Page Header Isabelle Fagnot, Chen Ye, and I have a paper in the current issue of Systèmes d'Information et Management.
Mega-scale information technology (IT) projects in the public sector are significant undertakings operating within an ecosystem of stakeholders, resources, and constraints. The track record of these projects is abysmal. Employing an ecosystems lens, we study three failed mega-scale public sector IT projects: the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Virtual Case File (VCF), the U.S.federal government’s HealthCare.gov project, and Great Britain’s National Programme for IT (NPfIT). A forensic analysis of these projects was conducted employing the Qualitative Media Analysis (QMA) methodology. The findings suggest several stakeholders in a public IT project assume roles analogous to different types of species in an ecosystem, with the public agency sponsoring the project as the keystone species. Specifically, the findings show that the public agency is susceptible to failure in hiring key personnel with proper knowledge and experience, and failure in responding to early signals alerting the impending implosion of the project ecosystem. In addition, flawed relationships between the public agency and contractors, and flawed relationship between the legislature and the public agency also contributed significantly to project failure.

Systèmes d'Information et Management (French Journal of Management Information Systems) is the major French language journals addressing information systems intended for organization management.

Mechanics for the Future – Salzburg Global Forum

Credit: Salzburg Global Seminar/Ela Grieshaber.

I am looking forward to participating in the Mechanics for the Future: How Can Governments Transform Themselves? session at the Salzburg Global Forum.

Governments worldwide are under pressure to meet complex needs as populations age, countries urbanize, and technology transforms lives and work. They have lead responsibility to prepare their societies for a radically changing world, yet face shrinking budgets and declining trust in the public sector. The machinery of government has changed, requiring governments to transform themselves, both in terms of the methodology they use and the people needed to implement the change.  What is the role of government in driving innovation?  How can countries and cities learn from each other?  How can governments recruit and retain the best people in public service with the right skills?  How can governments better harness the market, and strengthen constructive partnerships with civil society and the private sector?  What types of public communication work best to rebuild public trust?

See here for a list of attendees.

As part of the meeting, I will be leading a discussion on the potential for advances in artificial intelligence (AI) to transform how we govern. We will employ a case study that I co-authored with Richard T. Watson (Regents Professor and the J. Rex Fuqua Distinguished Chair for Internet Strategy, University of Georgia). The case study takes place in a country, Intelligensia, and is focused on deploying AI systems to modernize the national healthcare system and improve quality of life outcomes.

Delivering Artificial Intelligence in Government – New IBM Center for the Business of Government Report

The IBM Center for the Business of Government released my new report today.

Delivering Artificial Intelligence in Government: Challenges and Opportunities

This report reviews recent progress made in applying artificial intelligence to public sector service provision, drawing on lessons learned from commercial experience as well as burgeoning cognitive computing activity by Federal, State, local, and international governments.

To access the report, please click here.

Visiting Professor – Università Bocconi, March 2018

I will be spending time at the Università Bocconi during March 2018 as a Visiting Professor. I will deliver several lectures as part of the Innovation and Big Data in the Public Sector course taught by my colleague, Prof. Maria Cucciniello. In addition, I will be working on several research projects with colleagues in Milan.

Europe Research Visit – France, Belgium, England

I will be visiting colleagues at Audencia Business School (France), University of Antwerp (Belgium), and Lancaster University (England) over the next couple of weeks. During my visit, I will deliver several public lectures, attend research forums,  and work on collaborative research projects.

Schedule:

Audencia Business School - Research presentation: November 13, 2017
Antwerp Management School – Research presentation: November 15, 2017; IT Governance Discussion with Graduate Students
Lancaster University Management School – Research presentation: November 16, 2017; Centre for Technological Futures Round Table

2017 Global Cities Forum, China Institute for Urban Governance, Shanghai Jiao Tong University

I am looking forward to my upcoming trip to Shanghai. I will deliver a keynote address at the 2017 Global Cities Forum hosted by the China Institute for Urban Governance at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

The Smart City Bandwagon: Have We Lost our Way?

Cities around the world are investing significant resources to transform themselves into smarter (more intelligent) entities. While there is no doubt that these efforts are important and valuable, I am troubled with how these efforts have evolved. Too often, I see efforts that focus predominantly on the technical and data elements of the equation, without much care to how they impact the social, economic, and civic elements. Drawing on my recent research, I will argue that we need to reframe the dominant conversation on smart cities. Cities across the globe have become more fragile over the last few years. Infrastructure, economic, social, political, and civic elements impact the level of fragility in a city. We need to focus our conversation on how we can use technology for social good to address issues such as a preserving and strengthening the social compact, implementing technical solutions responsibly, and designing governance frameworks that account for a diversity of interests, aspirations, and values. I will outline design practices to reflect upon as we work toward making our communities more livable, just, sustainable, and resilient. As John Christopher Jones reminds us " design everything on the assumption that people are not heartless or stupid but marvelously capable, given the chance.

Paper at 2017 Assoc. Budgeting & Financial Management Conference

Alfred Ho (University of Kansas) will be presenting our paper at the 2017 Assoc. Budgeting & Financial Management Conference in Washington, D.C.

Performance Budgeting in U.S. cities: A Multi-Level Analysis

Many past studies have documented different types of performance information usage in the budgetary process.  Many also show that various organizational factors influence its usage.  In this study, we take a new theoretical approach by analyzing the practice of performance budgeting through a multi-level perspective. Using data from a survey study of U.S. local departments, this study analyzes how service nature, organizational capacity, leadership, organizational culture, and political institutional forces influence how performance analytics is used or not used to impact budgetary decision-making. The empirical results show that there are different dynamics for performance-informed performance budgeting and high-impact performance budgeting.  Politics do not necessarily eliminate a need for performance-informed budgeting, but executive commitment to data-driven decision-making is necessary to achieve high impact in using performance budgeting.

Authors: Alfred Ho (University of Kansas), Rashmi Krishnamurthy (Queens University) and Kevin C. Desouza