Public Sector (e-government)
Too little attention has been given to the fact that developments in information technology, the media, and globalization have had an enormous effect on the way the public sector can succeed in achieving its multifaceted mission. These developments have demonstrated that each country, and its public sector, is an integral part of the global community with its financial interdependencies, competition for international investments, and hypercompetitive global trade. In addition to these momentous changes, the recent financial crisis demonstrates how intertwined the global economy is, and, more specifically pertinent to the public sector, how many countries can no longer guarantee the financing of their own economies. These factors are strong signals that we are taking unhealthy risks if we do not start thinking anew about how to take society to the next level. eBuilder can make a contribution to enhanced public sector efficiency.
There is an urgent need to modernize and rationalize the public sector so it can produce and continue to develop the public services and infrastructure that will continue to support the welfare of society and attract the coming generations of citizens and modern businesses in a global perspective.
Take Sweden, for example. Swedish society has been built on a balance between a strong public sector and a dynamic private sector, mainly financed by the export industry. About 50% of the GNP is used for public services, financed by taxation of individuals and corporations. A demographic trend in the population of Sweden shows an increasingly aging population, with individuals born in the 1940s projected to place an increasing burden on the public sector services and its finances. Similar trends can be seen in many developed countries such as Japan and Italy. So in Sweden, as elsewhere, there is an increasing awareness of the need, and the opportunities, to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of value-adding organizations in both the private and the public sectors. The Swedish government has already taken several initiatives to use e-Government as a means to achieve this goal. The Swedish Customs was one of the first in the world to enable electronic customs declarations. And in 1995, the Swedish government instituted an e-Commerce initiative to serve its citizens by promoting e-commerce especially for SME (small and medium enterprise) companies. In 1995, Sweden entered the European Union. Via eBuilder’s work, it has participated in several EU e-Government projects, such as eTEN, a pan-European e-commerce project.
At about the same time, eBuilder acquired the leading Swedish supplier of e-Government services, Marakanda Marknadsplats AB. eBuilder immediately set about to refine the know-how, technology, and standards that had evolved from the best practice utilization of the e-Government processes that focused on e-commerce and travel processes. Today, eBuilder Travel and Expense Management and eBuilder Procurement Cloud Processes serve more than 300,000 public-sector employees in Sweden, including the members of the Swedish Parliament. Another initiative, focused on developing county-government services, was started in 2005, with the creation of a new profession: business developers for the public sector and the creation of an open business process network for government information. With these efforts, the efficiency and breadth of citizen services were increased considerably. More recently, the Swedish National Financial Management Authority (ESV) has chosen eBuilder to implement the next step forward in improving the public-sector procurement and purchasing processes via the “e-Inköp 2010” (“e-Purchasing 2010”) project. An important aspect of this effort is providing an procurement infrastructure that supports regional development by better enabling the participation of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) to take part in public-sector bidding.eBuilder delivers Cloud Processes for administrative rationalization to enable a larger portion of personnel’s available time to be spent producing measurable benefits for the citizens. These Cloud Processes cover areas such as procurement, travel management and related expenses, and the rationalization of processing financial transactions. All of them make significant contributions to public sector efficiency. These Cloud Processes are currently used by national, regional, and local government and healthcare to rationalize and improve their public service. eBuilder can also customize special Cloud Processes for the public sector, for example, for the management of child care services, etc.
Improvements in Public Sector Efficiency
Reduced Operating Costs
Public services handle an ever increasing load of workflow-oriented processes that are increasingly dependent on external parties. Cloud Processes automate the interaction within and among parties and implement basic administrative tasks to free up time for performing value-added services for citizens.
eBuilder's Cloud Processes automate more than 50% of the manual administration in handling business transactions for procurement, travel, inbound/outbound order fulfillment, after sales/customer care, and financial transactions. Specialized generic processes can be customized to reflect the legal and regulatory frameworks for childcare, social welfare, approval processes, etc.
Shorter Lead Time in Operational Processes
Cloud Processes enable online connectivity end-to-end, access to operational, tactical, and strategic information and best-practice business rules. At the same time, resources are freed up from trivial administrative tasks and can be used to handle deviations and improvements. This, together with Cloud Process Improvement Services, leads to shorter lead times in business processes, often in the range of 10-90%.
These reductions are remarkable, and they are a result of capabilities in the Cloud Process that enable the end-to-end, automatic business activity monitoring and ensures that the information is of sufficient quality and that its flow is uninterrupted in the end-to-end business process. This enables faster, but always monitored, movement of the physical assets.
Because the public sector is dependent on political decisions and on the increasing complex network of internal and external producers and partners, Cloud Processes are the most efficient means of creating and maintaining "best-in-class" public services.
IT Improvements That Help Improve Public Sector EfficiencyReduce Costs for IT Operation
Most IT organizations in the public sector have focused on building IT infrastructure and best-of-breed IT systems. The focus has been on technical implementation, carried out by the organization’s own IT department or outsourced to IT consultants. For instance, in a local county public body, there can be hundreds of different system for specialized purposes. The major part of the public IT budgets are spent on the maintenance of these IT systems. And there is limited or no process orientation and limited or no intersystem/application information connectivity.
The historical trend has been to try to reuse more and more of existing investments and resources and to limit the organization´s own investment to what is unique within the organization to create competitiveness. This can be seen in the evolution from mainframes to client servers, to the PC, to the browser; and from in-house developed code to standard applications. So far, most projects show a limited ability to leverage external assets and investments. This results in long lead times for implementation, unpredictably high costs, and a focus on cost reduction. In most cases, this results in the IT organization lagging behind in projects that add immediate consumer value and instead being forced to focus on reducing costs in managing the infrastructure.
Cloud Processes for the value network give the IT organization an opportunity to implement a strategy that ties together the relevant information in the existing IT systems to support the public processes. In the short term, this lowers IT costs and enhances the value of existing investments because the Cloud Processes generate a clear and visible business value within a short period of time.
Cloud Process implementation is completely different from traditional implementation. For a Community Edition Cloud Process, the implementation process consists of two main activities: Connect to Cloud and operation. The Connect to Cloud project consists of three parts: configuration of the customer-unique business rules, integration of the relevant internal systems, and the addition of unique business partners that are not already connected in eBuilder’s existing business process network. This usually takes less than 15 weeks. Then the operation of the best-practice Cloud Process starts. Payment for the operation and connection is done on a transactional basis. ROI has been achieved in less than six months for the majority of all the projects eBuilder has implemented.
The key to this favorable ROI is the degree of reuse. eBuilder Cloud Processes for the value network reuse all the 10 main resources of the Cloud Process implemented in our Accelerator SOA technology environment. They also reuse the seamless integration of the 10 different areas and the supervision and control services that ensure availability, quality in the information content (information entropy), and technical functionality. Because many customers share the cost of developing and maintaining this generic platform, the cost to the individual user is dramatically lower than the cost of implementing such a platform on an individual basis.
eBuilder’s Cloud paradigm enables a whole new way of using IT, where IT becomes the public service, and computers execute the basic administration tasks that previously were based on human interaction. It also enables the IT organization to leverage joint infrastructure to address the challenges associated with creating efficiency across different departments and organizations.