Redesign it all

Norm Lorentz, Mark Forman’s CTO, who I met last week says at a conference that there’s no part of government that doesn’t need to change to deliver better service. That’s a punch on the nose if ever there were one. And he want the authority given to the White House to make those fundamental changes without the need for legislation. That signifies massive change potential, massive risk and a whole lot of fun coming.

In the UK, I’ve been a fan of delivering some services that give the illusion (that word again) of a joined up government through clever integration at the technology layer rather than in the business. If we had that, I’ve argued, then we could buy some time to do the real work that is needed in the business (at task, process, workflow and system level). There is no system that I know of in a department that is designed around a customer need – they are all “line of business” applications designed to support a specific transaction or piece of legislation – so taking on the commitment to re-engineer (aka transform) agencies or departments is big stuff. The technology isn’t there today, and it will need to be put there fast and flexibly to facilitate that change. I’ll be watching with interest and certainly cheering Norm and his folks on.

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