eGovernment – Success or Failure
Jan28

eGovernment – Success or Failure

This paper – eGovernment – Success or Failure – describes why eGovernment projects succeed or fail and what can be done do to prevent failure. eGovernment projects tend to need substantial tax money funding. To have a dollar well spent, it is required that stakeholders create the right environment. eGovernment projects need to be reality-checked all through the design, implementation and operation. It is essential for the success of eGovernment projects that the design team build profound knowledge of the gaps between reality and desired outcome. These gaps are related to eight dimensions: information, technology, processes, objectives and values, staffing and skills, management systems and structures, other resources, and the outside world. It is necessary to take measures towards closing the gaps as early as possible. Most countries have engaged into eGovernment initiatives. Where some eGovernment implementations have been successful, others have failed in achieving their objectives, ranging between: Success: most stakeholder groups attained their major goals and did not experience significant undesirable outcomes. Partial failure: major goals were not attained or there were significant undesirable outcomes. Total failure: the initiative was never implemented or was implemented but immediately abandoned. There is little data available about the rates of success and failure of eGovernment, but according to some studies, 60 to 80% of eGovernment projects fail. To prevent an eGovernment project failure, we need to understand why they fail. Every project has gaps between the design and the current state. A key factor to success or failure is the level of difference between the current reality and the model/conception and assumptions built into the project’s design. The larger the gap, the greater the risk of failure. If the gap between design and reality can be reduced, the risk of eGovernment failure can be reduced. Three archetypes of eGovernment failure are identified that highlight the need for better communication between those who need to use and operate the system, and those who are brought in to design it: Hard-soft gaps – Most governmental organisations are dominated by ‘soft’ factors – people, politics, emotions and culture. eGovernment systems tend to get designed according to harder notions of machinery, rationality and objectivity thereby missing the soft factor of government services. Private-public gaps – Many IT systems have been designed in the private sector and shoehorned into a public sector reality which operates very differently. These differences are large and the likelihood of failure is high. Country context gaps – Infrastructure and mind-sets are very different across the world. A system designed for one country may not suitable for another country eGovernment Dimension Model or eGDM provides an understanding of the gaps that can exist...

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eGovernment – How to Handle Change
Sep25

eGovernment – How to Handle Change

Get Buy-In for Change At the start of an Electronic Government or eGovernment program you need buy-in from the highest level of leaders of a country. You need to be able to show the benefits and reason for the change. People react differently towards changes. There are people who resist change out of fear of the unknown and the comfort with the present. That is why you need to spend more time and energy to convince those people to let them see the needs and the benefits of the changes. Some people embrace change eagerly as a matter of achieving potential opportunities. Others simply flow with the evolution of nature and allow change to play a constant role in their way of working. Over the past decade many governments have conceived and implemented programs intended to launch their government into the digital realm. eGovernment leads a country into the Information Age. It improves both how the government operates internally as well as how it delivers services to the people. It improves the convenience, accessibility and quality of interactions with citizens and businesses; simultaneously, it improves information flows and processes within government and as a result speeds up and increases the quality of policy development, coordination and enforcement. The vision of an eGovernment is that government and businesses work together for the benefit of the country and all its citizens. Map out the Existing Landscape Before starting to design a high level architectural vision, you need to know the current situation. What agencies exist, what departments they have, which internal and external services they provide, who are the consumers of those services, who are the 3rd parties that are involved to provide those services, who are the stakeholders, what is their involvement… You also need a high level planning for the preliminary phase. Estimate according to the number of departments involved, and this to map out the current landscape and to get a high level baseline. Schedule iterations and update your planning accordingly. The more knowledge you get, the more accurate you can plan. The next step is to baseline the high level goals, processes, inputs & outputs, roles & responsibilities, triggers… for each agency and department. Analyze those baselines and look for overlaps, gaps, workarounds, legacy processes. Find the quick wins, question the reason behind processes, and remove obstacles to get those quick wins in place. Make sure you have the correct figures before you try to prove the benefits. One of the ways I use to show the benefit of a change to a large variety of stakeholders is graphical, even an animated screenplay can be a real...

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How to Uncover Strategic Challenges and Opportunities
Dec08

How to Uncover Strategic Challenges and Opportunities

A successful organization starts out with the main question “What do we want to achieve?” and then “What do we want to provide?” Creating strategy is driven by a business’ vision, mission, and goals, along with its key competencies, and the competitive industry with which it has to contend. To uncover strategic challenges and opportunities, you need to learn the dynamics of an organization. The best way to do this is by answering strategic questions. What are the key capabilities and resources required to execute and achieve the strategic goals? Reviews of organizational resources, both human and financial, are used to prioritize which organizational goals and objectives will be targeted. Strategies are then developed to target those goals and objectives. Linking strategies to goals and objectives ensures the organization does not engage in activity traps: feel good activities that will not lead to desired changes. Once a strategy is defined then performance measurements and indicators are put in place to track progress and impact of the changes all through the change life-cycles. What are the key things the organization must do to execute the business strategy? Situation – Evaluate the current situation and how it came about. Vision – Define goals and objectives for long-term and short-term visions. Roadmap – Map out possible routes to achieve those goals and objectives. Design – Draw out the desired target architecture. Gap Analyse – Analyse the current situation – Base Architecture – and make gap analyses. Planning – What specific actions must be taken to close the gap between the current and the desired situation? Execution – What resources are required to execute those activities? What are the most valuable outcomes of the organization? There are four main business outcomes we need to consider, one often connected with another. Financial: generated revenue, sales, profit Reputation / Brand Equity: likelihood of purchase, minimum effect of a crisis, established credibility of products Employees / Internal Publics: Employee satisfaction and engagement, low legal costs, transparency, high commitment, good communication Public Policy: public awareness Before we can measure the value of those outcomes, we need to answer four questions: Whom is the organisation seeking to affect? What about them is the organization seeking to affect? How much must they be affected to be successful? By when does this effect need to occur? What are the major forces driving changes in the organization? Are those forces enabling the organization to achieve the strategic goals, instead of individual or departmental goals? To find out what the forces are which drive changes within the organization, you should look into the following factors: Globalization: The increase in overseas production of...

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Enterprise Architecture and Agile Development – A Love-Hate Relationship?
Nov18

Enterprise Architecture and Agile Development – A Love-Hate Relationship?

First we need to understand what we mean by Enterprise Architect and Agile Development. Enterprise Architecture and Agile share common ground, they are both decision-making frameworks. The main difference is that Enterprise Architecture focuses on the future vision for the enterprise, it’s about where the enterprise has to be tomorrow, it is also about algining business strategy with technology. Agile development focuses is on project delivery, where does the project need to be today. Agile is mostely implemented as a response to volatile levels of changes. Enterprise Architecture is most effective and needed when there are high levels of changes. While agile is not a direct enabler for Enterprise Architecture, its use might indicate the need for it. Some of the most common anti patterns for Enterprise Architecture is the “Ivory Tower Syndrome”. A significant aspect of this love/hate relationship is the difference between top-down architecture and bottom-up architecture. To ‘soften’ these two approaches is to end the perception of architects as obstacles to project. On the other hand, architects need to learn from agile development. ‘You don’t know everything up front.’ Enterprise Architecture and Agile can be viewed as different perspectives on the same objectives. My belief is that they can coexists if you follow the following rules: – Your Enterprise Architecture effort should be driven by the business, not by your IT department. – Enterprise Architecture should evolve over time. An evolutionary approach enables you to act on concrete feedback that you receive when you try to actually implement it, thereby enabling you to steer the development. – According to some surveys, Enterprise Architecture points to “people issues” being the critical determinants of success or failure. My experience is that the best Enterprise Architecture or Agile approach is to work closely with the intended audience, both business and IT. – Delivery teams and Enterprise Architects should work closely together so that they can leverage the common infrastructure, and to help build the project efficiently and effectively. Disciplined agile teams realize that they can benefit greatly by doing...

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What makes a Successful Enterprise Architect?
Aug20

What makes a Successful Enterprise Architect?

Successful enterprises prepare for opportunities and risks. They endure difficult economies, seize new opportunities, and grow their business. These organizations link productive initiatives to desired goals and results; that way they foster working conditions that will deliver true value to the organization. People enjoy the efforts when they know that there is a reasonable, thoughtful plan that the organization is following, and that their input is valued and recognized in achieving a level of success. To achieve this, the enterprise needs to recognize, support and advocate the use of an Enterprise Architecture as a competitive differentiator. Enterprise Architecture is about understanding the Enterprise; they need to have a strong understanding of the business, its strategic direction, its strengths, weaknesses… Writing more computer code just won’t get you there. Enterprise Architecture is the anchor for delivering consistent value throughout the Enterprise’s lifetime. But how does someone become a successful enterprise architect? What does it entail? Through practice and the use of different frameworks (Zachman, TOGAF, FEAF ….) we recognize a set of required components for success. You need: Architectural Models – To represent artifacts from the perspective of several business viewpoints. A Framework – To logically structure the subjects, relationships, and perspectives. A Methodology – To guide, simplify, and standardize processes. Solution Models – To understand and combine independent architectural elements to begin to build something. Beside these components, an Enterprise Architect needs to have a passion for EA, be able to quickly adapt activities to changes, needs to be able to motivate and inspire, negotiate to get things done, be able to think quickly on an abstract (helicopter view) and detailed level, have a great complex problem solving mind, be process oriented, have great people skills, be able to lead and to make quality decisions with a high level of stakeholder...

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