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BPM: A Firm Foundation for the Five Pillars of Open Government

Malcolm Ross, Senior Vice President, Product Strategy, Appian
October 20, 2010

Ever since his appointment as Federal CIO, Vivek Kundra has championed the idea that technology can truly transform government. And not just transform it ñ he wants to make it more open through what have come to be known as Kundra's "Five Pillars" for IT priorities -- innovation, cyber security, transparency, engaging citizens, and lowering the cost of government.

The push for greater openness has even prompted the General Services Administration (GSA) to offer incentives to respond to the challenges of better engaging citizens through an agency-wide platform for innovative solutions.

At its heart, open government is about making agencies more accountable to citizens across the board. It's about giving citizens more opportunities to connect with government in ways that leave them better equipped to understand and navigate the complex federal bureaucracy. It's about improved efficiency, transparency, and collaboration.

In short, it's about better business processes.

Business Process Management software can offer a firm foundation for open government. Increasingly, BPM is being used not just for the "easy stuff" in agency operations, but in targeted core mission responsibilities within an agency or a department. The BPM management methodology directly supports what the Obama Administration is telling agencies about how to relate to both internal and external customers.

Organizations such as the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) are embracing BPM as central to their operations. DAU uses BPM to enforce processes and increase efficiency, reliability, and visibility ñ ensuring that business rules and approvals are met every time. That reduces processing time, eliminates needless repetition and identifies process bottlenecks.

As mentioned in a previous blog, the Food and Drug Administration has picked Appian as its BPM vendor of choice, and has extended its use of the Appian BPM Suite under a new five-year Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA). Having successfully tested out proof of concept, FDA is using BPM technology licenses and support services across the entire organization, targeting core processes agency-wide.

BPM has always had deep value ñ beyond just trimming the edges of cost reduction and efficiency. As agencies continue looking at more ways to implement the five pillars of open government, they'll find that BPM is a solid foundation on which to build a real connection with their constituency.