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BPM Can Help Government Agencies Deal With Challenges of Scale in IT Projects

Joshua Hoffman
August 27, 2015

Government IT projects don't always have the best reputation, but many of the problems that arise in such initiatives are understandable. That said, public sector organizations can use business process management software to streamline collaboration between departments and accelerate innovation. A recent report from the Brookings Institute highlighted the scale of government IT project struggles and emphasized that many of the issues facing public sector organizations are justified, and can be overcome.

Understanding the scale of government IT project challenges

Citing a Standish Group study, the news source pointed out that just 6.4 percent of federal government IT projects with a cost of $10 million or more in labor were considered successful. This figure comes from analysis of projects that took place from 2003 to 2012.

While the research makes circumstances sound fairly dire for the public sector, Brookings explained that many of the issues facing government organizations are easy to justify. Government bodies are the sole stakeholder in their IT initiatives, so they take on the entirety of risk. At the same time, projects tend to be initiated within a "Conspiracy of Hope," as coined by a 2006Defense Acquisition Performance Assessment, that creates unrealistic expectations for projects.

These core issues emphasize the way that government IT projects are often set up for failure from the outset. The report added that many problems arise along the way. Even the smallest projects require collaboration across agency boundaries, that projects are so large that they are nearly impossible to manage and that public sector organizations need to deal with legacy IT systems.

According to the news source, potential solutions to these problems are available. Some of them are:

    • Break large projects into small entities.

    • Increase transparency.

    • Transfer risk away from government agencies as possible.

Streamlining business processes can play an essential role in helping public sector agencies streamline IT projects.

Using BPM to fuel project efficiency

Coordinating processes across disparate user groups is increasingly important as government agencies work to complete large-scale IT projects. BPM solutions enable public sector organizations to share data and connect projects with diverse users, making it easier to collaborate effectively when multiple agencies have a stake in a project. Furthermore, modern BPM tools can serve as an application development platform, making it much easier for government agencies to customize their apps and services to meet specific project requirements. Giving non-technology workers the freedom to customize their application experience empowers government employees to streamline project management and create opportunities for success.