Government projects have a unique set of conditions that free market enterprises do not have.  Layers upon layers of oversight are often in place at any given government organization with legacies of solutions that have been hammered and tweaked and patched, possibly for decades.  Budgets are fixed and subject to legislation.  Products that work effectively “enough” stay in place long beyond their expiration date because of a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality and the need to keep people working, minimizing down time, and avoiding the kinds of problems that buggy new products can create. In some cases, processes have been mandated by law, and cannot be changed without formal approval.  And, depending on the government entity in question, resources may be limited due to contract limitations or obligations.

BUT—there is good news!  Utilizing a Business Process Management (BPM) solution can improve some of the pain points caused by the last decade’s (last century’s?) lingering technology.

  1. BPM provides streamlining of processes, compressing a multitude of steps into a simplified pathway, which results in workflow efficiency and increased productivity. 
  2. BPM can reduce the reliance on any paper-based aspects of the workflow (where not mandated by legislation), reducing the cost of paper handling (printing, mail, fax, etc.).
  3. Full integration of disparate aspects of legacy solutions (or a group of legacy systems that users need to access separately) offers a means to present multi-channel data in one application.
  4. Users perform all work in a single, “one stop shop” application with modernized, intuitive, and user-friendly screens.
  5. One successful utilization of BPM can lead to other BPM project solutions.

Once government organizations begin to see the improvements to processes that BPM specializes in, leadership will begin to shift more projects and/or lines of business toward BPM solutions.  Positive results will also convince government organizations to more readily adopt Agile or Agile hybrid methodologies, as oversight and legislation allows.  Delivery schedules can adapt to the recommended “early and often” approach that BPM promotes, especially for new projects that can respond to an organic requirement discovery process.

For upgrades and “switch overs” from legacy systems, keep in mind that the older solution is often still there because it works…maybe not as efficiently as BPM products, but reliably.  In cases where legacy systems are being phased out, it’s best to focus on real value-add deliveries that directly address any shortcomings of the existing system.

For more information about how BPM products can improve government systems, check out Pegasystem’s upcoming conference, Pega World 2014, in Washington, D.C.  June 9th is Government Day at Pega World and all government employees may attend for free. 

Architech Solutions, a Pega Partner, will be there with a booth and more details about our own Pega-based solutions.

Amy Barth is a Senior Business Analyst with ArchiTECH Solutions