Appian World 2013 Customer Case Study — Modernizing Government IT for Efficiency and Service

Appian World 2013 closed out with a keynote presentation from the State of Ohio. Government agencies at all levels are looking to modernize legacy systems to drive greater efficiency and improve service delivery to constituents. Cloud, mobile and social technologies can play a major role in this effort, but how should government organizations approach these technology disruptors to deliver the most value? Raj Subramanian, CIO of the State of Ohio Office of Budget and Management, tackled this subject in “Modernizing Government IT for Efficiency and Service.”

The Office of Budget and Management (OBM) is a cabinet agency within the executive branch of the Ohio state government. It develops, coordinates and monitors the individual budgets of state agencies, reviews all financial transactions made with public funds, and ensures the proper and responsible use of state resources.

Subramanian discussed three major IT inflection points: Demography Changes, Nature of Government IT, and Innovation Conundrum.

Demography Changes
A large part of the workforce is retiring baby boomers. In fact, 30% of the IT workforce will retire in the next 5 years. What are the expectations of the next generation of workers? Meanwhile, customers and consumers are transforming into tech-savvy end users who want you to communicate to them in their way and expect you to deliver solutions yesterday.

Nature of Government IT
Specific organizational goals are hard to find. How does IT align with the agency purpose? According to Subramanian, there’s often push-back on disclosing goals not close to completion. And of course, there’s the cyclical nature of government in a democracy, which means the mission and vision change frequently.

The Innovation Conundrum
Innovation takes time & resources and is risky. Innovation means change, which brings up organizational and management issues. Subramanian defined three types of innovation:

  1. Sustaining innovation – clearly defined problem and
  2. Breakout offerings – New approaches to old products and services
  3. Disruptive innovation – Problem is well defined; Solution unclear

All these IT Inflection Points lead to a new strategy: FOCUS ON THE BUSINESS PROCESS! Subramanian asks — isn’t this stating the obvious? In his opinion, it’s not. While this is a strategy everyone can buy into, there are many distractions that prevent IT from implementing this strategy.

Business Process Focus Distractions

  • Managing infrastructure and operations — who has a phone division in their organization today?
  • Customizing an existing tool – he aligns this to using a pickle jar to drive a nail
  • Focus simply on automation and tools; no process changes — like changing golf clubs to improve the golf swing

IT staff can have any tool do anything… the issue is just the amount of time it takes and the lack of focus of customer needs. How many of you have your own power solution to run your laundry?

The Strategy
Subramanian stated that organizations need to establish business process improvement as a goal. Focus on business user involvement in process changes, while IT focuses on application development. Capture business knowledge in process diagrams and procedures. Above all, empower the customers.

BPM Implementation Roadmap

OBM deployed three major process applications in under 9 months on Appian Cloud.

OBM Service Desk
Before Appian, service requests were called in over the phone or relayed in person. There was no tracking for any service provider outside of IT, and it was difficult to identify service common requests and issues. Now, the OBM Service Desk supports best practices surrounding service delivery and support. It’s a one stop shop for any number of service providers, with detailed reporting capability and mobile access for tracking anytime, anywhere. The service request process provides users with a step-by-step wizard, and the Tempo integration brings social collaboration to the process.

Subramanian also gave a quick overview of other applications OBM has developed, including business continuity, project governance, stakeholder needs, and inventory management.

Fueled by their success, OBM has many upcoming projects planned. Some of these include:

  • Employee Onboarding / Offboarding Process
  • Contract Review Process
  • Training Request Process
  • Electronic Controlling Board Workflow

Subramanian closed out his presentation with Lessons Learned:

  • Focus on as-is and to-be process first before automation
  • Establish process ownership
  • Develop reusable processes and standards
  • Get help to reduce the risk of new project or approach

That’s a wrap for Appian World 2013. Thank you to all our attendees, speakers, and sponsors who came together to make this the biggest, best year ever! See you at Appian World 2014!

Alena Callaghan

Web Marketing Manager