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BPM Offers the Key to OMB s Governance and Accountability Concerns

Malcolm Ross, Senior Vice President, Product Strategy, Appian
January 25, 2011

Part Four of a Four-Part Series (see Part Three)

In the previous blogs of this series, we looked at OMB's recently announced 25-point plan for restructuring federal IT from a variety of perspectives ñ shared services, program management, and improving the acquisition process. What's driving this comprehensive review of federal IT policies and procedures is the consistent message from the current Administration for more open, transparent government.

In discussing the OMB's proposed IT overhaul, federal CIO Vivek Kundra has said that oversight has been hindered in the past by as many as seven oreight layers of governance between OMB and the control authority for a particular IT system. This culture of"faceless accountability," as Kundra calls it, is one of the chief obstacles to better visibility into government.

The bottom line is that agencies need visibility in three areas:

    • Governance ñ To prove to constituents, Congress and the Administration that they are spending money wisely,

    • Accountability ñ To monitor and track how an agency and its employees are doing at their jobs, and

    • Performance ñTo create processes to do those jobs better

It's here that Business Process Management software offers a key benefit to government. After all, BPM is by its nature about visibility - making transparent the business processes that were previously opaque. Process improvement in a government agency starts with seeing more clearly how that agency truly operates today, and maintaining that visibility to measure improvements as changes are implemented.

With BPM in place at the agency level, OMB will be able to reform and strengthen investment review boards, as the restructuring plan calls for, through BPM's inherent strength in data analysis and reporting. Creating models for technical review could likewise be expedited, and the Administration could finally make real strides toward its goal of better transparency in government.

So, in concluding this post series, I'll say again that the OMB's 25-point plan for public-sector IT improvement is tailor-made for business process management software solutions. BPM for government can be a strategic driver for leveraging the cloud for shared services, improving program management, increasing governance and accountability and streamlining materials and services acquisition processes.