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On September 16, the IBM Center for The Business of Government and the Partnership for Public Service co-hosted a Roundtable to discuss how agency leaders can coordinate and integrate activities to drive successful outcomes for the next Presidential term. An exceptional group of current and former senior officials from Administrations of both parties, leaders from Capitol Hill, as well as experts from academia and the private and non-profit sectors participated in a robust discussion. The meeting was the thirdof six planned Roundtables in our “Management Roadmap” series, part of a multi-pronged Ready to Govern (#Ready2Govern) initiative, through which the Partnership seeks to improve the transfer of power and knowledge between administrations (see discussion of the first Roundtable and second Roundtable).
The IBM Center is pleased to collaborate with the Partnership to help the next Administration get off to a strong start, and build sustained management excellence thereafter. We are grateful for the many distinguished leaders who contributed their time and insights to the Enterprise Government session, and to former OMB Associate Director for Personnel and Performance Robert Shea for his expert facilitation of the session.
Why Should the Next President Focus on Enterprise Government?
Most government agencies accomplish their mission through programs that are run within their bureaus and components; this program-centric view is reinforced by legal, budget and policy constraints. Yet much of how the public interacts with one agency brings them into contact with other agencies – examples include health care, energy, food safety, financial reporting. Similarly, much of what government does has common elements that can be shared for cost efficiency and organizational effectiveness – examples include shared financial and IT services, or grants delivery. For the many government activities that cross agency boundaries, taking an enterprise approach by strengthening cross-agency governance, improving collaboration, and using enterprise frameworks to build capacity to achieve cross-agency goals can improve outcomes, streamline operations, and lower costs.
Enterprise government takes two primary forms:
Enterprise models can help the next Administration deliver on key priorities of the President, which typically involve multiple agencies and stakeholders. Yet the leaders who arrive on Day One are surrounded by incentives to prioritize visibility and accountability within their agencies and programs. Generally, interagency approaches only receive attention as a second priority, after months or even years; for example, it was only in the second term of the current Administration that cross-agency priority goals drove real progress, in areas ranging from reducing homelessness among veterans to making Native American lands safer from crime.
A new Administration will benefit significantly by establishing early and active cross-agency structures that allow collaboration and integration, and recognizing the good work of leaders who embrace an enterprise approach to accomplishing key mission goals. Moreover, an enterprise approach to governing can serve citizens with far more impact, and far less cost and burden, than when agencies act as independent agents. The next Administration can create fast success on priority mission goals by focusing – during transition planning and in the early days of the new term – on making enterprise government the norm rather than an exception.
What did the Enterprise Government Roundtable Address?
Developing policy and process that supports enterprise government takes a concerted effort, given the structural factors that naturally lead to program-specific actions. At the Roundtable, career and political leaders from multiple Administrations joined other experts to discuss actions that could be taken in four areas to spur a government-wide approach to solving problems. Ranging across the discussion was a focus on how to make actions in these four areas successful:
The Roundtable identified a number of challenges for the next Administration to address in order to implement these enablers effectively, including:
This afternoon we will discuss the key findings and recommendations in each of the four action areas.
** Image courtesy of Damian Brandon at FreeDigitalPhotos.net