OMB’s New Federal IT Plan, Made Easier with BPM

[Part One of a Four-Part Series]

The Fed’s latest guidelines for improving IT in the public sector virtually scream out for the application of Business Process Management.

In December 2010, the Office of Management and Budget announced a 25-point plan to restructure federal IT. The 25 points are based on five broad changes to agency IT, first outlined by OMB in November. Jeffrey Zients, the federal chief performance officer, said the plan should help remove barriers that get in the way of successful project management and execution.

Not surprisingly, nearly all of OMB’s broad changes can be made easier to by adopting BPM solutions.

In our next several blog entries, we’ll look at some of these plan points and look at the role that BPM can play in bringing about the changes that OMB wants. Today, let’s look at the notion of “applying light technology shared solutions.”

The point of shared services in government is to optimize data center capability among agencies through collaboration rather than new technology purchases – while also adopting a “cloud first” policy for new technology.

The continued focus on cloud computing is laudable. Organizations like the Department of Education, which is starting to use Amazon Web Services for some of its new initiatives, are already showing their understanding of how to put a “cloud-first” mandate into action.

At the heart of OMB’s shared services model is a need for better-detailed process. If one agency needs more computing space and the other has it, we’re not just talking about computing space, we’re talking about the process of understanding when your agency has excess capacity, and the process of making other agencies aware of that available capacity. That type of process can be turned into a template and shared across agencies.

Communities of interest have sprung up around BPM to provide just such “templatized” processes. For example, the Appian Forum online community provides application templates and components developed by Appian, its customers and partners. These templates all can be shared, hot deploying an application for any solution. That’s real knowledge sharing and collaboration across and between organizations.

Improved collaboration within and across agencies will get the Fed closer to OMB’s goal of shared services. When processes can be standardized not just for agency specific functions but at the edges as well, sharing that information leads to better sharing of computing capacity, too.

In our next blog, we’ll look at OMB’s goal of “strengthening program management” and how BPM fits in.