When CIO’s and key stakeholders were issued guidance on the implementation of IT shared services as part of a key strategy to eliminate waste and duplication back in 2012, it remained to be seen how quickly implantation would take place and how much benefits would permeate into agencies. As recently as April, we were still talking about how IT infrastructures still remain “walled off within individual agencies, between agencies, and even between bureaus and commands.” So we decided to take a closer look and ask federal IT pros what they are seeing on the ground.
Partnering with government research firm, Market Connections to survey 200 federal IT decision makers and influencers, we drilled down into their view of IT shared services. To start with, we provided a universal definition of IT shared services, it covers the entire spectrum of IT service opportunities, either within or across federal agencies, and where previously that service had been found in each individual agency. Is this how you define IT shared services?
To set the scene, only 21 percent of respondents indicated that IT shared services was a priority in terms of leadership focus—falling very close to the bottom of all priorities. Additionally, the IT pros surveyed indicated that they felt like they’re in control of shared services within their environment.
However, we are impressed with the amount of IT services being shared—specifically, that 64 percent of DoD respondents indicated being recipients of shared services. The DoD adoption of enterprise email, a shared service, is probably the most visible and widespread use of a shared service in the DoD. DISA provides agencies with the ability to purchase an enterprise email system directly from its website and provide support services on a wide scale.
Additionally, over 80 percent of respondents think that IT shared services—either within government or outsourced—provides superior end-user experience. A large portion of respondents also believe that IT shared services benefit all stakeholders, including IT department personnel, agency leadership, and citizens.
IT shared service implementation seems to still be facing an uphill battle and typical change management challenges. However, IT pros have still identified some key benefits, including: saving money, achieving economies of scale, standardized delivery and performance, and opportunities to innovate. And this is good to see, because these were many of the objectives of shared services to begin with.
Are you using IT shared services in your environment? What challenges are you experiencing in implementation? What benefits are your end-users seeing?