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BearingPoint’s Agile Government approach is reshaping future public policy

Frankfurt, February 12, 2013 – Governments are currently challenged as they are forced to balance tough economic conditions and rapid technological change with increased demand and higher expectations for public services. However, despite the difficulties, the BearingPoint Institute (www.bearingpointinstitute.com) demonstrates that Government organisations can solve these challenges.

The current BearingPoint Institute Report shows how using a combination of management and technology initiatives, including the principles of agile software development, governments can introduce greater responsiveness and efficiency into their organisations and programmes. BearingPoint’s work with the Irish Department of Social Protection (DSP), for example, shows how building business processes, technical platforms and organisational structures that allow change to happen continuously form the basis for an agile operation.

These structures then allow change implementation using small, incremental stages where visible benefits are implemented regularly. This breaks down wholesale structural reform into bite-sized deliverables and gives governments the flexibility to respond to new priorities and changing requirements.

Report co-author and Client Director at BearingPoint Ireland, Paul Allen, describes the results for the DSP: “The Agile Government approach has allowed the Department to respond more rapidly to Government policy and provide more cost effective services to citizens. Agile involves business users from the start and empowers teams. Embedded within agility is the flexibility to accept change as business needs or Government policy requires.”

“This was a new way of doing things involving a major business and technology transformation right across our business. Our staff deserve great credit for buying in to it and helping to make it happen”, comments Niall Barry, IT Director, DSP.

“There is broad agreement that economies everywhere need to accelerate public sector modernisation and reform as a key element of economic recovery. The challenge has been how to achieve this and this report sees Ireland’s Department of Social Protection as a role model for public sector organisations in other countries,” says Hughes Verdier, Public Services Industry Leader at BearingPoint Europe.

Co-author and Head of Public Services at BearingPoint Ireland, Andrew Montgomery, adds: “Any Government agency can become agile, regardless of size, service or country. The most agile agencies focus on customer service, organisational change and leadership; striving to deliver improved productivity, higher quality of service and enhanced employee and end-user satisfaction levels.”

These types of changes, however, are not solely applicable to governments. Indeed the agile philosophy is a broad framework which can help any organisation meet the challenges of today and the needs of the future.

A full copy of the article is available here: http://bit.ly/VAMH6J

To see a vodcast representing the key findings of the article please visit: Faster, higher, stronger: government administration can sprint too

The BearingPoint Institute Report is also available as an iPad app: http://bit.ly/BEIapp

The Agile Government and technology programme at Ireland’s Department of Social Protection (DSP)

Results/Benefits - IT:

By designing and implementing both a new technology architecture – encompassing the technology implementation of the DSP’s Business Object Model and new tools, agile techniques and practices for systems design, development and implementation, the DSP can point to the following as the key results that have been achieved:

  • DSP now has the capability to build rapid prototypes of new applications, which result in extremely high levels of user acceptance, with new schemes implemented in less than 3 months
  • Delivery of 16 new and complex business systems in the last 6 years, along with 36 consecutive monthly software releases for key applications to the business
  • Reduction in silos of information and duplicate systems through implementation of a common technical object model for the enterprise
  • Significant increase in the reuse of software code and components
  • Reduction in technology layers requiring redevelopment from four to one
  • Strong support for test-driven development
  • Improved ease of use and consistent interface for enabling systems
Results/Benefits - Business:

DSP now releases new business functionality on a monthly basis with a four week delivery cycle between releases. Coupled with Continuous Integration, where the delivery team ensures quality by integrating and testing its work frequently. Continuous Delivery in DSP has resulted in:

  • Increased ability to plan and deliver change based on business priority
  • Greater responsiveness with the ability to respond to changing priorities or urgent updates
  • Significantly reduced analysis time through transition from paper-based requirements documentation to interactive and rapid prototyping of functional applications
  • Higher visibility of progress to all stakeholders
  • The confidence that they are building the right solutions by allowing them to explore new ideas and test them quickly with significantly less effort and cost.
  • A delivery process that significantly lowers the risk of delivery compared to traditional “big bang” releases at the end of a long project
  • Improved ability to commit to, and meet, delivery dates
  • The ability to delivery new functionality to their customers faster and with less lead-time

The DSP looked to embed agility in its organisation by taking a broad and transformational view which encompassed four core aspects:

  1. Their business model and organisational structures - the ease with which the organisation itself could respond to new Government policy or future changes in the business environment
  2. Their organisational capability - providing more flexibility in the way that business is organised and conducted day to day. One way to characterise this is that the processes and applications would treat the business user more like a 'problem solver' and not merely a 'process follower'
  3. The enabling technology and systems - isolating the business model and logic from the current technical architectural configuration so that the same logic could easily be redeployed onto very different platforms or configurations.
  4. The process for continually and consistently delivering business change - embedding the idea of continual improvement and change in the organisation, providing the environment to seek out better ways of doing things and implementing change.
The BearingPoint Institute

Founded in 2009, the BearingPoint Institute is an incisive, authoritative voice on business-critical topics, which brings together the finest minds from both within and outside the BearingPoint organisation. We strive to:

  • Advise business leaders to understand the evolution of the global economy at a deeper level
  • Explore new thinking, going beyond straightforward “Thought Leadership”
  • Propose new points of view about strategy and organisational change, and stimulate debate among its readership

This is achieved by offering practical, real-world advice from:

  • leadership team composed of senior BearingPoint Partners, representing geographical diversity and a wealth of capabilities
  • An independent Advisory Board formed by recognised business leaders and academics
  • Studies made by experts illustrated with real-life highlights
About BearingPoint

BearingPoint delivers business consulting with management and technology capabilities. As an independent firm with European roots and global reach BearingPoint serves leading companies and public sector organisations world-wide to align and optimise processes, IT and operating models with business strategy. Driven by a strong entrepreneurial mindset and desire to create long-term partnerships, BearingPoint’s consultants are committed to delivering excellence and value to their clients. The firm’s approach to working with clients is highly collaborative and designed to improve business performance, from strategy through to execution. BearingPoint currently employs 3,500 people in 15 countries.

For more information, please visit: www.bearingpoint.com

Press contact

Alexander Bock
Manager Communications
Tel. +49 89 540338029