There are several reasons that result to more failure in the public sector initiatives compared to the private sector initiatives. I think it is primarily a matter of culture. This includes the beliefs, morals, knowledge, habits and capabilities that people involved with technological projects in the public sector uphold. Among the culture that is prevalent in the public sector is that of business process complexity. The public sectors are fond of biting more than they can chew. The projects adopted are normally too complex, too big and too ambitious (Reynolds, 2015). Public institutions see themselves as entities that are supposed to bring about change in various areas of operation. This is the reason why they see the need of adopting complex projects that are not within the reach of the private sector. The government also has vast resources hence funding these projects is not an issue. The complex nature of these projects results in their failure. The people involved with the implementation lack in capacity and hence the projects tend to fail. If the public sector is to reduce the rate of failure being experienced at the moment, it should reduce the complexity of its IT projects together with the technologies that underpin the projects.
Another culture associated with the public sector and has resulted in the failure of IT projects is that of poor governance. Reynolds (2015) asserts that in most of the public sector failed projects, there is an indication of governance arrangements being less than effective. The responsibilities involved tend to be diffused to the extent of not being able to identify who is accountable. The senior officers tend to be reluctant in critical decision making. In this case, the projects fail since the steering committees lack in requisite expertise to move the project in the appropriate direction. People tend to lose the sight of what ought to be done as they muddy the waters in trying to identify who is responsible. While undertaking any project, it is good to understand that the project is not a customer in itself and hence does not have the ability to dictate what it wants (Reynolds, 2015). There ought to be a clear governance structure to ensure that everything is operating as intended. Everyone should be accountable for the failure emanating from their shortcomings. Playing the blame games only makes things worse. This is because everyone involved only aims at making themselves seem good in the eyes of the public.
The public sector also tends to have a different culture when it comes to progression in higher ranks compared to the private sector. This involves movement from a lower position within the organization to a higher one. Private sectors’ progression is normally dependent on an individual’s performance. The more positive results that employees have, the higher their chances of receiving a promotion. This cannot be said to be the case for the public sector. The progress is not necessarily dependent on how people tend to perform. It is more on how long they have been in the organization. There is an implicit assumption that the people that have been there for long have gained the necessary experience to carry the operations forward (Fox, 2014). This attribute tends to affect the IT projects undertaken in the public sector. The people involved do not put that much of an effort. There is no motivation to work extra hard since they feel that their efforts will not be appreciated in a deserving manner. The lack of incentive makes the employees perform below their capabilities. This results in failure of the IT projects being undertaken.
There are various management tools that can help to bring positive changes to the current situation being experienced in the IT public sectors. They include:
Business Process Reengineering
This is a fundamental radical redesign and rethinking of a business process. It is always aimed at bringing about dramatic improvements in critical areas such as quality, speed, cost and service delivery. BPR ensures that an organization re-examines its operations. The process does not believe in small changes but aims at total reinvention (Fox, 2014). The focus is mainly on process and not people, tasks or jobs. There is the belief as the processes change, the other aspects will follow suit. A process is more of the steps involved in the development of a service or product. This is common in IT projects. Several steps are undertaken before a system can be deemed complete. Failure is one step might result in failure of the entire system. The main objective in reengineering is the creation of more value compared to how things were initially. The organizational layers tend to be reduced in the process, and unproductive activities are eliminated too.
Business process reengineering would help public IT agencies in improving the current undesirable record of project failure. This is because it initiates changes to the activities that are redundant and still consume capital. It would also help in enhancing accountability with the reduction of organizational layers. This is because it would become to identify who is doing what, and who is doing it wrong.
The single most important element of BPR is the aspect of change. This is because through change, all the things that are not working for the organization can be eliminated. BPR emphasizes on complete reinvention and not small changes. Effects of a bad culture within the organization can only be negated through change.
It is more of a documentation and analysis of an organization in combination with its present and future prospects of IT integration in its operations (Reddick, 2012). This involves more of an alignment between the organization’s mission and technology. Enterprise architecture provides a conceptual blueprint which defines the operations and structure of the organization. The main objective is to determine how the entity can attain the current and future objectives effectively. The systems within the organization get linked together.
Enterprise architecture would help public IT agencies in reducing the redundancy that is usually prevalent with these institutions. There is always a lot of duplication when the departments are working separately. Having a defined blueprint can also help to reduce the aspects of poor governance while executing public IT projects. This is because there is a clear definition of what ought to be done and who is responsible for its execution. This improves the prospects of accountability.
The single most important element of enterprise architecture is the one involving integration. Through integration, all the systems are linked together. This means that a certain activity only needs to be done once. This helps in saving time and other relevant resources. There is also an aspect of efficiency on the side of employees since it is quite easy to trace where the problem originates from.
A strategic plan is a document that serves the role of communicating the organizational goals and the actions that should be taken to execute these goals. Strategic plan tends to outline the areas that should be prioritized within the organization. These are the areas that focus on resources and energy would be enhanced. The employees and other relevant stakeholders are always expected to work towards attaining a common goal. This means that no one has a different objective to the other (Fox, 2014). What one individual does affects the others in one way or another. This can make employees embrace the spirit of ensuring that their counterparts are doing what is required of them since it will have an impact on their own work.
IT agencies in the public sector can adopt this tool in the attempt of reducing the rate of failure that engulfs their institutions. The prospect of failure would be avoided since there is a focus on what is quite important in the execution of the desired project. There is also a definition of what ought to be achieved. As a result, anyone working on the relevant IT project will be aware of what is expected of them, and they will work towards its attainment.
The most important element derived from a strategic plan is the aspect of working in partnership. This ensures that everyone in the organization is doing whatever is required of them. This is an important success factor for the development of any IT system.
CSUSB IT Strategic Plan Rating: 5 (high) – 1 (low)
I believe the likelihood of the plan achieving its goals should receive a RATING of 3.
To begin with, the plan provides a favorable evidence of real collaboration. This is through the working groups, surveys, forums, alignment with CSUSB’s mission among others. When it comes to identification of stakeholders and their roles, it is not quite vivid, more so in the roles. With regards to changes that might occur, the plan has outlined various Key Performance Indicators in order to achieve the objectives of every goal. However, this is not sufficient since it has not outlined how this will take place. Obstacles that might be prevalent in the attempt to making the changes have not been identified too. This is detrimental since every change aspect has its own obstacles. It would be easy to mitigate the obstacles if the planners anticipated them from the beginning.
An important action that the managers can take to ensure that they improve the rating is the adoption of a holistic approach. A holistic approach will ensure that every element of the plan has been given the necessary consideration. This will ensure that collaboration is ensured, the changes are identified and even the prevalent obstacles so as to identify potential solutions. This is because failure on one side might result in the failure of the entire plan.
Fox, A. (2014). People tools for business. Midpoint Trade Books.
Laudon, K., & Laudon, J. (2013). Essentials of MIS (11th ed.). Pearson Education.
Reddick, C. G. (2012). Public administration and information technology. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Reynolds, G. (2015). Information Technology for Managers (2nd ed.). Cengage Learning.
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