Leading the Way
Knowing that a stable workforce aids long-term transformation, the DTI also took steps to cut staff turnover—a problem attributed to lower public sector wages. The governor addressed this by exempting the new organization from the civil service wage structure. “The salary structure is higher than IT groups in other state governments, and people are paid for performance,” Hersey-Miller says. “You don’t have the security of the civil service—we can hire and fire at will—but we have market-competitive salaries. As a result, we retain a lot of qualified people.”
Hersey-Miller’s office also instituted a shared services plan. “Not only has the DTI eliminated waste, but with shared services, the same office provides consistent services to departments, legislature, judiciary, primary schools, and even some higher schools—something many states have been unable to achieve. By doing so, it has been able to bring costs down quite a bit,” says Satish Prasad, Oracle’s director for Industry Strategy and Insight. For example, centralizing allowed the state to create pools of specialists available statewide. “The cost of consulting goes down, and they can do more implementation themselves,” adds Prasad.
The PMO’s change management team plays a vital role in ensuring project success. The collaborative aspect of the PMO means that groups can develop creative synergies throughout the course of a project. “The project management and organizational management teams report to the PMO,” says Pn Narayanan, Project Management Professional and enterprise resource planning (ERP) project director for the DTI. “They lift all the collaboration and coordination tasks from the program manager.” For example, the state’s Organizational Change Management team consists of about a dozen people whose mission is to prepare customers for the cultural impact of IT implementations. “They prepare folks early in any project process,” says Narayanan. “So when we ‘flip the switch,’ the users are prepared. It’s a critical success factor because if users aren’t prepared, IT projects will fail.”
Building Consistency Statewide
Delaware rebuilt its systems based on the three strategic pillars of intelligence, innovation, and integration. The restructuring of Delaware’s technology group represents an intelligent approach, and Narayanan believes that evaluating prospective projects on their potential to innovate or integrate (or both) is a critical success factor to implementing high-value projects that simplify processes and allow information to flow freely across silos. “Interestingly, most of them are innovative not from a technology perspective but from a business process viewpoint,” Narayanan adds.
The ability to follow a business process across systems and governmental branches is vital; in fact, Brookings’ research on government and technology highlights the importance of process integration across departments. According to the report, the importance of consistency was one of the critical Web site success factors. States with Web sites that were inconsistent from one agency to the next were harder to navigate, while sites that were consistently formatted were much easier to use because constituents could benefit from previous Web site experiences (State and Federal Electronic Government in the United States, 2008, Brookings Institution).
Creating such consistency meant that the DTI faced integration challenges on two fronts—both technical and process-oriented. The state addressed the first issue by building a strong relationship with Oracle as a go-to vendor for many of its applications. “They very deliberately focused on Oracle products as commercial, proven technology and kept away from expensive customization,” says Oracle’s Prasad. Doing so allowed the group to create a technology stack with many preintegrated hooks, as well as ensuring consistency by implementing one single application on a statewide basis.