Transforming Information Technology at the Department of Veterans Affairs

Jonathan Walters' report chronicles the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) efforts to realign and centralize its information technology activities. Describing it as an "ambitious, audacious and arduous crusade," Walters makes it very clear that this is still very much a work in progress. There are significant hurdles ahead and certain significant adjustments will no doubt need to be made for this ambitious undertaking to be ultimately implemented and sustained by the VA.

Transformation of the Department of Defense's Business Systems

The Department of Defense launched an ambitious effort to transform its vast network of back office mission support systems in 2001. It has since invested large amounts of funding in the effort. What progress has been achieved to date? What has been its impact? This report provides answers and insights into these questions as it assesses the progress of this effort.

Managing "Big Science:" A Case Study of the Human Genome Project

This report reviews the history of management of the National Human Genome Project at the National Institutes of Health, the federal government's largest science project since the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Apollo Project. The Human Genome Project involved scientists around the world "working around the clock" for over 15 years. The study focuses on Project Director Francis Collins, who has overseen the successful completion of several of the Genome Project's goals.

The Role of Contractors in Government: Have We Gone Too Far?

There has been a longstanding recognition that the federal government does not have enough employees with the requisite skills to meet every agency need. Agencies obtain real advantages in employing contractors that can offer specialized skills to handle short-term requirements. Moreover, using a competitive selection process helps to bring both efficiency and innovation to address government needs.

What the Federal Government Can Do to Encourage Green Production

The green movement has reached a tipping point in recent years. Private industry now realizes that using green production techniques not only improves the environment but also can provide significant financial benefits by reducing waste, regulatory costs, and potential long-term liabilities. This report identifies six factors that currently discourage industry from undertaking green production methods.

Four Strategies to Transform State Governance

Historically, transforming state government meant restructuring or reorganizing the executive branch or a single agency. However, these approaches are no longer seen as effective. State government must become more flexible and responsive to the rapidly changing environment in which they operate. The four transformation strategies recommended in this report can be acted upon in a relatively short period of time without investing a great deal of additional resources and without partisan debates.

Integrating Service Delivery Across Levels of Government: Case Studies of Canada and Other Countries

Public services are traditionally delivered through a number of government agencies via programs that are not connected to each other. In the midst of this decentralized fragmentation, two trends - a citizen-centric philosophy and network model of service delivery - are driving demands to integrate the delivery of citizen-oriented services across levels of government. The rapid increase in technology allows this new collaborative approach to service design and delivery to be a successful substitute for the old hierarchical approach.

The Multisector Workforce: How Can We Manage It Better?

Over the last 15 years federal government managers have relied on a much broader and more diverse set of personnel for carrying out agency missions, with private sector contractors assuming a much greater role than in the past. A key question is what are the implications of this shift to a multisector workforce for how federal agencies accomplish their missions. A more robust human capital planning process is needed to address multisector workforce issues.

Strategic Use of Analytics in Government

Governments use analytics (often described as "business intelligence") to enable and drive their strategies and performance in an ever more volatile and turbulent environment. Analytics and fact-based decision making can make a powerful contribution to the achievement of government missions, just as they are now making to the accomplishment of corporate business objectives.

Ten Challenges Facing Public Managers

The IBM Center is looked to as a source for starting dialogues on a broad range of public management topics. For the past ten years, we have studied the critical changes that are underway at all levels of government in the United States and around the world. Along the way, the Center has helped frame a number of significant management policy issues facing government.

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