What Fed Execs Want From IT

By Dick Stark

A few weeks ago MeriTalk, a Federal IT think tank, commissioned a study entitled, the Customer is Always Right, that focused not on what IT thinks, but what IT’s customers think of IT.  Not surprisingly, just 46 percent of Fed execs view IT as an opportunity.  Thirty-two percent view IT as a cost, and twenty-two percent are unsure whether it’s a cost or opportunity.

What’s interesting is that the Fed execs polled see IT as a support and not a transformational function. Fifty-six percent see IT as a “necessary evil” supporting daily agency operations.  The good news is that IT can do better.  Just 48 percent believe their agency leverages its IT department to the fullest extent.

I met recently with a Federal CIO, who stated that he was under tremendous pressure to reduce costs. Long gone are the days when CIOs are scrambling to spend year-end money on uncertain IT projects just to ensure that budget dollars are spent and not returned to the Federal coffers.  In fact, that CIO was looking at ideas such as cloud computing, mobility, and service desk consolidation to save IT dollars.  Another important consideration is an overhaul of outdated IT systems and processes.  According to the MeriTalk survey, the top priority for Federal Execs: streamlining and modernizing business processes.

As a sub to a NASA contractor, RightStar is currently upgrading Remedy to the latest version. At NASA, it’s not surprising that process improvement has emerged as a very critical success factor.  There is no better way to start an IT project or upgrade with a process review or analysis.  At NASA, RightStar led an ITIL awareness training session and has recommended ITIL simulation training as a way to kick-off an upcoming service desk consolidation project.

Change is difficult and process improvements are not always warmly welcomed by employees and stakeholders alike. RightStar has seen improved participation and process acceptance on ITIL process projects, when preceded by ITIL simulation training.  For example, at the University of New Hampshire, RightStar rolled out a PoleStar simulation training session to the CIO and her direct reports. The training session went so well, the CIO asked for the simulation training for the entire IT organization.  The result: improved participation, enthusiasm, and understanding of why process improvements are so important.  Of course, the Remedy upgrade was also a success.

IT support has also become more difficult, and streamlined processes using ITIL as the framework help simplify that complexity. Several Polestar simulation options are available.

  • PoleStar ITSM Airport Simulation is a highly interactive ITSM and ITIL simulation.
  • PoleStar Health demonstrates the powerful benefits that ITSM and ITIL can bring to the Healthcare sector.
  • PoleStar NPO is a high tech ITSM simulation based around public sector organizations.

Let’s face it, the first step to streamlining and modernizing business processes is a better understanding of how new processes will help. IT will improve but IT can’t transform government efficiency without executive support that new process rollouts require.

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About dick1stark

I am the President, CEO, and founder of RightStar Systems, a leading IT consultancy and BMC Software Solution Provider and Atlassian Expert Partner. My passion is customer success—whether it’s reducing the cost of service management, improving overall efficiency, or increasing end-user or employee satisfaction. Since founding RightStar in 2003, RightStar has made the INC 5000 list four times. In 2011, RightStar was awarded the prestigious National Capital Business Ethics Award (NCBEA) by the Society of Financial Service Professionals based upon RightStar’s foundation of honesty, ethics, and integrity. And in 2014, RightStar was selected by Forrester Research as one of 13 North American companies profiled in its ITSM Consultancy Wave Report. Finally, in 2016, BMC selected RightStar as its 2015 Supplier of the Year for its consulting partnership and excellence in service delivery. Dick is a graduate of Stanford University and a Project Management Professional (PMP).
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