Silos. Incompatibilities. Rail gauges. This task was unable to be completed …

If there were ever words that raised the ire of managers in government, the so-called ‘taxonomy of excuses' that gets repeated daily when people try to share or access information across the public sector must surely be at the top of the list.

It used to be easy enough to shrug away incompatibilities and inconsistency in government information and its processes, after all it was the way things had been done for years.

But in reality, the dead weight of having to resubmit forms and other essential, pertinent information has frustrated practitioners, end-users, senior executives and policymakers for far too long.

Today the imperative in government has shifted from "that's just the way it is" to "if not, why not and what needs to change".

Information governance specialists like Objective Corporation are firmly behind the push for productive and beneficial change through better integration and governance, providing
expert knowledge and advice in a paper that goes to the heart of better information management for successful digital government.

Lining up for change
One of the biggest hurdles for government is simply getting different systems and their various owners to talk to each other at an electronic and information level.

"We don't have access to…". "We can't open …". "Could you print that out please?"

Those words might be all too familiar, but what they reveal is a much deeper necessity to create an information ecosystem that can pragmatically bridge divides and create visibility and transparency where it is needed most.

It's one thing to be able to ‘scrape' limited information and data at a pixel level, but the real value lies in being able to integrate ‘information systems' with ‘line of business systems' to enable practical, everyday utility of information across government.

It might be technical, but it's not rocket science. Equally, rockets only flew successfully because multiple systems performing disparate tasks could be brought together to provide a cohesive picture to those at the controls. It's where the term ‘mission critical comes' from.

Today's challenge is to create a unified picture of policy and operations within government. It must provide context as well as data – not just a wall of dials and dashboards. It's the integrity of that information that really counts. That's where governance not only comes into its own, but provides the foundational superstructure.

You can learn more about it here.

Effectiveness always wins out
Mapping and refining key business processes, and the information related to them, has always been a critical factor in extracting value from applications and systems. Knowing what to target and extract is essential to enterprise-wide visibility and shared business intelligence.

An unobstructed flow of information between content management and line of business systems is achievable. Bridging these silos enables delivery of services that are more efficiently designed and targeted. A solidly governed process architecture can exploit data assets across the organisation and facilitate secure collaboration with external parties.

Just as importantly, better transparency and governance enabled through integration plays a direct role in assessing and successfully managing enterprise risk.

Integrating success
Integrating day-to-day applications and providing "frictionless" access to information (surfaced directly from within the applications staff natively use) gives employees essential context, particularly when focused on activities that propel an organisation beyond business-as-usual activities.

A robust governance framework provides senior executives and managers with confidence in the information and processes that underpin all operations. When this is in place, organisational efficiency will lead to an increase in operational efficiency and productivity.

The bottom line indicates tangible savings for all involved, and further reductions in exposure to enterprise risk.

Key steps:

  1. Create an ecosystem for quick access to information across your organisation;
  2. Design a governance model that "just happens" and is easy to adopt;
  3. Don't lose sight of policy and operational priorities. Be prepared to adapt.

Find out more about how to achieve better integration, productivity and information governance through this expert guide written specifically for the public sector.

This blog post originally appeared in The Mandarin on 8 March 2017. See the original blog post here.