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Implementing Change In The Public Sector Information Technology And Business Transformation

2126 words - 9 pages

KeywordsBusiness Process Reengineering, Information Technology, Public Sector, Organisational Change, Modernising Government.AbstractPublic sector organisations in the United Kingdom are increasingly turning to information technology (IT) to comply with central governments modernising government agenda. There is however a need to ensure that the implementation of major IT systems are not seen as an end in themselves but the means to an end of achieving major improvements in performance. This paper proposes that although IT may be an agent for change as it presents opportunities for doing things in different ways, a redesign of business processes must also be undertaken and linked to an IT strategy. IT implementation without such reengineering of processes can fail to deliver anticipated benefits. The paper highlights the links between process reengineering and benchmarking to allow the design of improved processes and considers approaches to BPR which are best suited to the public sector. A case study in a local authority is used to illustrate the need to link technology with process to bring about major organisational change.IntroductionIn recent years the public sector has increasingly been under pressure to improve performance driven by a number of central government initiatives such as the Best Value regime and Public Performance Reporting. Added to this pressure is the current Modernising Government agenda or what has become known as information age government or e government. Ambitious targets have been set for electronic service delivery culminating in the goal that all services be available electronically by 2008 (Cabinet Office 1999). Public services do not have the same bottom line aims of the private sector in terms of profit maximisation but it is an over simplification to see the public sector as a pressure free environment. Internal markets and competitive funding have introduced business disciplines and there remains downward pressure on public expenditure and ever increasing statutory responsibilities. It is inevitable therefore that the pursuit of performance and value for money improvements will be linked to the e government agenda and the use of information technology (IT).Central government estimates that the public sector currently spends n per annum on IT services and this figure is anticipated to reach 75bn by 2004. (Cabinet Office 2002) This would tend to demonstrate not only that expenditure is significant and increasing but that the use of IT continues to be regarded as a tool to bring about the improvements identified in the strategies of public sector bodies. There may however be a danger that the introduction of IT systems are seen as an end in themselves instead of being part of a wider process to meet departments and agencies overall business objectives. There is widespread recognition that technology in itself does not bring about efficiency (Lenk 1997). IT may provide the core mechanism for information flow and...

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