Investing in business process management – a must for today’s Federal IT
As an agency CIO, it is easy to find more projects and ideas than you can actually take on. There’s cybersecurity, cloud deployment options, consolidation, hardware upgrades, modernization, etc. The list goes on forever.
But which of those will your program staff remember you for? Recent news suggests you may be facing budget cuts and smaller staffs. Grappling with those realities could easily stop any modernization progress you are making. And, while those are necessary projects, they may not help your agency cope if you lose staff and funding.
In recent blog posts, I’ve written about some of the ways that an enterprise information platform can transform federal IT. To date, much of that discussion centered on the value, agility and scope of those platforms and the business process management (BPM) tools they offer.
One of the key capabilities BPM offers is workflow software. Workflow provides benefits that help deal with less staff and reduced budgets. It also supports the crucial need to improve and accelerate your agency’s processes.
5 ways to improve processes with workflow
Imagine an agile, codeless workflow engine, and consider how the changes it creates can benefit your agency:
1. Speeds processes
By automating processes, you complete tasks without staff interaction. You can even eliminate certain tasks. Using workflow management translates into the completion of more tasks and automated flagging of exceptions that require the attention of a staff member.
Processes are faster when a workflow handles tasks and humans become involved only when it’s time to review or make a decision.
2. Prioritizes important work
A workflow process that knows the rules of programs – things like supporting documentation for eligibility or deadlines that you must meet – can help turn that pile of work into a prioritized set of tasks. That way, it organizes work into what is ready for staff to move along based on order of need, statute or other rules.
3. Supports compliance
While faster work and processing is great, another piece of program delivery is compliance. Federal staff running programs have rules to follow, as do your grantees. Workflows can remind staff of required documentation or tasks and email the same reminders to your grantees, applicants or extra-agency colleagues with whom you collaborate.
4. Links up with online transactions
Eliminating paper means removing dreaded government forms. By recognizing that interacting with today’s citizens means having an online presence, you can use workflow automation to move your processes online.
This eliminates the cost of paper and lost documents and offers your services in a way that your constituents now expect. And, because of workflow, the transaction is immediately traceable and visible.
5. Provides process transparency
Moving to paperless processing with workflow means understanding where a transaction is in a process and simplifying the identification of bottlenecks and impediments to faster processes. It also helps managers understand the status of individual transactions and see the speed at which program and service delivery move.
Sometimes, the challenges of political cycles and change create additional problems for CIOs. In this case, the potential of significant workforce reduction can complicate the ability to make good IT decisions. Fortunately, you can meet this challenge with technology.
Looking for an enterprise information platform with an integrated workflow engine can accomplish a number of goals including modernization, online services, cost reduction and faster program and service delivery. But, the thing that might make the most impact in your agency is the positive benefit to your program teams.
With business process management tools, that’s a must-do scenario that would be a high priority for any CIO.