How Subscriptions are Changing the Customer Experiences

Anke Lasserre Posted 14 November 2016


The intent of this paper is to examine the means by which ICT suppliers and government agencies can work together to reverse declining productivity and improve service outcomes.

This will require changes; that take us on an entirely new path. They significantly transform or even replace existing systems, pursuing new goals and/or using entirely new methods. More and more changes of this type are demanded of us as the modern era unfolds. It requires leadership more than management…[and].. Far fewer people are good at it.

'Setting Public Policy' – August 2013Committee for Economic Development of AustraliaTweet this

…the seizing of new business opportunities by both [new] and existing [organisations]. New [organisations] compete with existing [organisations] by new ideas and technologies and increasing competition. Entrepreneurs are able to combine factors of production and new technologies forcing existing [organisations] to adapt or exit [service provision].

'Productivity Theory & Drivers: Guidance & Methodology' – October 2008 | Page 20UK Office for National StatisticsTweet this

Enabling policies

Modis Insights | Addressing Public Sector Productivity Decline
Figure - 1. State & Federal Government Enabling Policies which Support Productivity Drivers.

Although the enabling policies shown have been very successful in introducing a level of competition into the public sector for goods and services (i.e. establishing a mixed economy), they are still subject to the political process. This means that, aside from the aforementioned policy ‘gap’, their effectiveness can be compromised by other policy considerations but primarily by Machinery of Government (MoG) decisions which conflict with efficient and effective business architecture boundaries.

If this does not arise, then decision as to policy application falls to portfolios and/or agencies. That is, if there is no overt legislative constraint (such as MoG), then there is considerable agency/portfolio discretion to enhance business architecture to address productivity issues. As suggested, how this discretion is applied will, in part, be influenced by the absence of enabling policy for the Enterprise productivity driver. Productivity drivers rarely operate in isolation and usually complement or reinforce one another. It is reasonable to suppose that the absence of an enabling policy for what might be argued is the most important productivity driver leads to suboptimal returns.

Some would counter that Enterprise is intended as a predominantly private sector rather than a public sector attribute. Traditionally this was so but the increasingly blurred lines defining what is ‘inherently governmental’ suggests the need to shift public sector thinking to match new and emerging structural realities. This requires Government (as opposed to the public service) to shed artificial ideological delineations and – through suitable policy – give public servants ‘permission’ to exercise Enterprise. Released from cultural constraints on how services should be delivered will allow the pursuit of the public good in a range of new and, potentially, more effective ways.

On the basis that there is largely alignment between its MoG guise and a relatively efficient/effective business architecture, the discretionary application of enabling policy will be examined through the lens of a specific state government portfolio, Law Enforcement & Justice (LE&J). This will begin with a broad examination of initiatives stemming from enabling policy and implemented by the portfolio’s three main actors: the portfolio itself, state governments and the federal government. Initiative effectiveness will be assessed by the degree to which particular initiatives conform to ‘holistic’ rather than narrow policy design. The components of ‘holistic’ policy design have been formalised in an approach called ‘co-design’ pioneered by groups such as the UK Design Council and the Danish Design Centre and which, at its best, merges ways to innovate and create competitive advantage with the means for the public sector to make sure it delivers the services the public wants and needs. In its address of cultural constraints which might otherwise hinder productivity solutions, it provides a possible avenue to inform an effective Enterprise enabling policy.

Moving to the specific – and using LE&J business architecture as a case study - a state jurisdiction (WA) will then be assessed as to its ‘current state’ application of enabling policy. Based on analysis of the functional outsourcing component of the resultant policy mix, it will be shown that, within existing cultural boundaries, there are few options to enact other than marginal further gain. It will be suggested that the introduction of co-design (as part of a state jurisdiction ‘future state’), introduces the potential for greater productivity return. This will be discussed in the context of a viable mechanism for major return which, while not prevented by current policy, is stymied by cultural factors. The suggested mechanism is managing the criminal justice delivery chain (business architecture) at a portfolio rather than an agency level to improve its efficiency/effectiveness.

A final section will bring these themes together and discuss how better use of ICT suppliers could, through co-design, contribute to better service outcomes. This would be aided by a supportive, whole-of-government enabling policy relating to Enterprise but this is not essential. In the first instance, it requires agencies to accept that suppliers, by virtue of their business architecture expertise, may be legitimate stakeholders in public policy design (as are service recipients) and, as such, should be engaged much earlier in the design process. Secondly, it requires agency procurement to open itself to more imaginative solutions involving new types of partnerships and investment models.

This creates the opportunity to not only tie new service models to measurable productivity gains but to co-opt the resultant suppliers (including private sector suppliers) in the delivery of public good outcomes such as reduced recidivism.