Implementing digital transformation no matter the budget
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Implementing digital transformation no matter the budget

April 27, 2023 | Updated on May 3, 2023

Federal agencies are increasingly adopting innovative methods, like agile, that prioritize iteration and user experience to transform digital service delivery and better serve the American public. To meet this moment, the Partnership for Public Service hosted a four-part series of workshops titled “Agile Government and Digital Transformation” with Slalom and Fearless.  

This blog, the third in our series of four, draws from our workshop session featuring Kimberly Howell, a Senior Technical Advisor at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Office of Information Technology, and Maroya Faied and Lindsay Goldstein, a product manager and program analyst, respectively, from the Office of Natural Resources Revenue.   

Budget management is often a top priority when discussing technological modernization, and digital ways of working are often seen as more expensive.  

However, adopting digital services does not have to conflict with a lean budget. Sharing services and investing in people and processes will save costs and pay dividends later. Change can happen at every level of an organization without breaking the bank. Here are three opportunities to implement lower-cost digital transformations: 

1. Employ open-source software.

Open-source software is publicly accessible source code that anyone can adopt, study or modify for their needs. Open-source code helps developers and teams save money and increase the quality of their software., the federal government’s repository for open-source code, has a guide on procuring software and a list of open-source projects across various agencies. These open-source repositories contain code already being used across the government, so digital teams can adapt it knowing it complies with federal standards. According to Maroya Faied and Lindsay Goldstein, the Office of Natural Resources Revenue has been using open-source, open-data and agile methods with great success to achieve its mission on a limited budget. 

2. Take advantage of shared services.

Shared services are the consolidation of resources and business operations across an organization. The Office of Management and Budget’s “Centralized Mission- Support Capabilities for the Federal Government” is a resource that aims “to promote standardization, reduce duplication, reduce operating costs and increase customer satisfaction in the long term.” The General Services Administration website has a video explaining how agencies get support from Quality Service Management Offices and an FAQ document explaining shared services and their use. 

3. Invest in customer research to avoid unnecessary projects.

Solving the correct problem is an excellent cost-saver. At the outset of a project, it is important to prioritize codesign. Instead of coming in and saying, “This is the problem we’re going to solve,” approach the work with the mindset of “There is a problem, let’s figure it out together.” Interviewing and engaging people at the center of your services should not stop when the project begins; as work progresses, users and teams should be consulted and the transformation efforts should shift to best suit their needs. 

For more, please read the other blogs in this series:

This post was authored by Greg Godbout, the chief growth officer at Fearless, Triveni Patel and Amanda Starling Gould.  

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