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Managing information effectively: A necessity for the public sector


Managing information effectively is a series of four reports focused on strategies for managing information flow and security across and within sectors. Each report focuses on one of four sectors: …

Managing information effectively is a series of four reports focused on strategies for managing information flow and security across and within sectors. Each report focuses on one of four sectors: healthcare, government and public sector; retail banking and discrete manufacturing.

The reports are based on the findings of research that HP conducted in cooperation with the Economist Intelligence Unit in June 2010, which included a survey of 332 executives in healthcare (23% of respondents), retail banking (24%), discrete manufacturing (27%), and government/public sector (26%). The respondents are heads of their departments or higher; 29% are C-level or board-level executives. Geographically, 34% hail from North America, 31% from Western Europe, and 28% from Asia Pacific. All respondents from the retail banking sector work at firms with a minimum of US$25bn in assets; respondents from the healthcare and discrete manufacturing sectors work for organizations with annual revenues of US$500m or more; and public sector officials are from government entities with budgets of at least US$500m per year.

This HP white paper is designed to share insight and stimulate dialog about the management of information flow and security within the government sector.

Published in Business , Technology
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  • 1. Managing information effectively:a necessity for the public sectorBusiness white paper This HP white paper is designed to share insight and stimulate dialog about the management of information flow and security within the government sector. It is based on the findings of research that HP conducted in cooperation with the Economist Intelligence Unit in June 2010, which included a survey of 332 executives in government/public sector (26 percent of respondents), retail banking (24 percent), healthcare (23 percent), and discrete manufacturing (27 percent). The respondents are heads of their departments or higher; 29 percent are C-level or board-level executives. Geographically, 34 percent hail from North America, 31 percent from Western Europe, and 28 percent from Asia Pacific. All respondents from the retail banking sector work at firms with a minimum of $25 billion USD in assets; all other respondents work for organizations with annual revenues or budgets of $500 million USD or more HP foreword..........................................................................................2 Managing information effectively: a cross-industry perspective.................. 2 Public sector strives to improve information strategies ................................5 HP conclusion....................................................................................... 8In cooperation with the Economist Intelligence Unit
  • 2. HP foreword Elected and appointed officials in governments around the world face a number of interrelated service and operational issues as they attempt to fulfill their agencies’ missions. The primary drivers of these issues have been security and compliance, budget limitations, and good service for citizens. In recent years, a growing trend towards reducing the environmental impact of government activities has been added to the list. Add to this the recent economic upheaval and we find that the requirement for government services is steadily increasing as citizens are negatively affected by the economy. At the same time the government’s financial resources and available staffing are holding steady or reducing. In this challenging environment we engaged with the Economist Intelligence Unit to identify the impacts of security and information flows on the business drivers and priorities of government/public sector agencies, as compared with other industries. The research spotlights that business drivers for government/public sector include improving the effectiveness of information strategies, and increasingly, driving improvement through innovation and collaboration. The impact of legal and regulatory compliance is expected to become a slightly less important driver over the next three years. The findings also acknowledge the challenge of dealing with unstructured data and the need to implement appropriate strategies to increase the effectiveness of government workers through knowledge sharing, improved workflows, and collaboration. Technology should play an important role in these process improvements. Gary Rodgers Market Development Consultant HP Public Sector, Imaging and Printing Group Managing information effectively: a cross- industry perspective Information, an essential asset for organizations, is always difficult to manage effectively—and it is even more so in periods of economic turmoil and transition, when complexity increases and the stakes are higher. For the past decade or more, organizations have been striving to build more open and collaborative relationships with their customers, partners, suppliers, and other stakeholders. When the recession took hold, many such initiatives took a backseat as cost-cutting became first priority. Now, with the effects of the recession waning, many organizations in developed markets are moving from a focus on costs towards new growth strategies, while some firms in emerging markets are experiencing rapid expansion at home and abroad. Companies in heavily regulated industries such as financial services and healthcare are adapting to constantly changing regulations that affect how their businesses operate. In contrast, the public sector is still feeling the impact of the recession, with governments facing shrunken receipts and greater demands for social services. And nearly every organization, regardless of sector or geography, is adapting to new technologies—such as advanced collaboration tools, mobile communications, and social media—that are changing how people interact and how business is done. Whether they are renewing growth plans or still dealing with the aftermath of the crisis, organizations can benefit from more efficient and secure use of information, which can help them identify and deal with both opportunities and risks. Our survey results show that executives in retail banking, healthcare, discrete manufacturing, and the public sector are addressing a host of challenges—from organizational to technological, and from regulatory to budgetary—as they assess the long-term impact of the recession on their markets and businesses. At the same time, they are striving to bridge an apparent gap between the goals of their information strategies and their ability to act on those goals. The survey also shows that while most decision-makers are uncertain about the effectiveness of their information strategies today, they expect to improve how they manage and secure information in the next three years. This report presents the overall key findings, followed by the results for the government/public sector.2
  • 3. Complex information flows require reviewSurvey results show that the flow of information across global organizations with geographically dispersedbusiness units, departments, and functions is growing increasingly complex, incorporating both formal andinformal channels. Often, even when senior management mandates formal strategies and policies, and effectiveprocesses and technologies support formal flows, it is the personal relationships between employees or thepreferences and styles of individual managers and supervisors that still determine what is shared with whom.Information flows within organizations are complex(% of respondents who agree with the following statements about the flow of information across their organization)Information flow is electronic and 57%supported by effective processes 62%and technology 51% 65%Senior management has mandateda strategy and policies for the flow 43%of information that are practiced 71% 45%widely throughout the organization 48%Information flows based on the 53%preferences and styles of individual 41%managers and supervisors 56% 47%Information flows informally based 48%on personal relationships between 41%employees 55% 48% Government Retail banking Healthcare Discrete manufacturingSource: Economist Intelligence Unit, June 2010This finding is not in itself surprising. However, it raises questions about the effectiveness of existing formalstrategies and policies, and suggests that organizations should continuously review how they manageinformation to extract maximum benefit. The growing flood of unstructured information, which is by its naturemore difficult to manage formally, also makes periodic reviews and strategic adjustments essential. (In thisanalysis, unstructured information is defined as information that does not exist inside a data model that can beread and understood by a computer, and that therefore requires human intervention. Examples include email,instant messages, audio files, and paper documents and forms.)Lack of an information strategy increases riskA large majority—80 percent—of respondents say their organization has a strategy for improving the flowof information. Although most are satisfied with their strategies, about 25 percent of organizations that havestrategies are changing how they deal with information. These organizations seem especially aware of theneed to adapt in response to the improving economic climate and emerging trends in their sectors.A small but significant minority (13 percent) of respondents have no strategy for improving information flows.There are several possible explanations. These organizations may still be in the grip of the recession, worriedmore about survival than growth. They may be slow to respond to the opportunities that an improving economycreates. Or they may be latecomers to the now widely accepted notion that more open dissemination anduse of information throughout an organization leads to better business outcomes. Regardless of why they lacksuch a strategy, however, these organizations are at an extreme disadvantage in today’s dynamic environmentcompared with their more information-savvy competitors. 3
  • 4. Information strategies shift focus from efficiency to effectiveness Organizations that have strategies for improving the flow of information throughout the enterprise today are pursuing greater operational efficiencies, seeking to increase the speed and lower the cost of critical business processes, and improve employee productivity and effectiveness. They can do so through better collaboration and/or the ability to provide employees with the right information at the right time to do their jobs. These organizations are also responding to the need to comply with legal, regulatory, or internal governance standards. In three years, however, collaboration is expected to be the most important driver of information strategies, suggesting a stronger focus on employee effectiveness. DRIVERS OF INFORMATION FLOW STRATEGIES CHANGE IN THREE YEARS RANK (Based on % of respondents who chose up to 3 among 12 drivers) Today In 3 years Need to facilitate collaboration across departments, functions, and geographies 4 1 Employees need the right information at the right time to do their jobs 1 2 Need to increase efficiency and speed of business processes 3 3 Compliance with legal, regulatory, or internal information governance standards 2 4 Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, June 2010 Collaboration becomes even more important as organizations grow and become more geographically dispersed. The adoption of flexible work arrangements—such as telecommuting—creates other challenges, making it more difficult for people to connect informally in the workplace. Yet sharing information across business units, departments, functional areas, and geographies is never straightforward. Survey respondents cite organizational silos as one of the three main barriers to effective information strategies—the others being the perennial challenges of cost and aligning technology systems (each chosen by 37 percent of respondents). Organizations have more confidence in information security Respondents generally have more confidence in their information security strategies than in their strategies for improving information flows. Just 13 percent of organizations are changing how they deal with security; 27 percent report that they have no need to do so. The 11 percent that have no information security strategy are exposed to greater risk. Organizations confident in their information security strategies (% of respondents) No strategy 11% Implementing now 37% No need to change 27% Planning to implement 8% Currently Don’t changing 13% know 4% Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, June 20104
  • 5. While most respondents report having formal strategies, just half say their organization has a single personor department with primary responsibility for information security. This suggests that in most organizations,keeping information secure is the job of individual business units or departments—not a top-down mandate.A fragmented approach to information security is to be expected in organizations that are subject to regulatoryrequirements from several different authorities. In other organizations, though, this approach likely inhibitsefforts to protect information from security breaches.An analysis of survey results by sector provides a more detailed view of how organizations manage informationflow and security. The survey shows that the government and public sector lags behind the other sectors inimplementing strategies to manage the flow of information. Still, it is a clear leader in recognizing the growingimportance of unstructured information and the need to manage it effectively.Public sector strives to improve informationstrategiesPublic sector organizations, and especially governments, have historically been slow to share informationbetween and even within organizations. They have also been guarded about making information availableto the public. Recent policy, regulatory, and legal measures—as well as calls for greater transparency,accountability, citizen participation, and efficiency in government—are changing this posture.Public sector organizations increasingly recognize the need to share information effectively to ensurepublic safety and, in some cases, national security. Sharing information also can help improve a country’scompetitiveness and spur economic growth.The survey confirms these trends. The public sector—which for the purposes of this study excludes healthcareand education—is working to improve its information strategies, while recognizing there is still much to bedone. It lags the other sectors, but in one respect—recognizing the importance of unstructured information—it isa leader.Information-sharing reflects personal preferences and relationshipsThe public sector has historically placed a relatively low value on formal information-sharing. It is a late adopterof processes and technology to support formal flows.Survey results confirm that informal relationships are more likely to influence how information is shared in thepublic sector than in the other three sectors. More than half of public-sector respondents said that flows arebased on personal relationships between employees and the preferences and styles of individual managersand supervisors.These findings are not unexpected, given that the sector includes many different kinds of organizations withvastly different charters. Still, the absence of formal strategies for sharing information offers some insight intothe difficulties governments face when dealing with catastrophic natural disasters or coordinating intelligence incross-border security efforts.Unstructured information deluge demands attentionThe public sector is beginning to automate many processes: electronic income tax returns, informative websites,and online registration of vehicles are just some examples. Yet unstructured information poses a seriouschallenge for government agencies, which still rely extensively on paper documents and forms in interactingwith the public. Given calls for greater transparency, openness, and citizen participation in government,unstructured information in the sector is likely to grow.Public sector strategies are not yet taking this challenge into account; the need to deal with unstructuredinformation currently ranks only 10th as a driver of strategies. But just three years from now, it is likely to be theprimary force shaping how the public sector manages information (28 percent). Although other sectors face thischallenge as well, none has recognized it as clearly. 5
  • 6. The public sector stands apart in other ways as well. Improving employee productivity and effectiveness is the prime driver of information strategies today. In the other sectors, this driver only gains the top spot three years from now. DRIVERS OF INFORMATION FLOWS IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR RANK (Based on % of respondents who chose up to 3 among 12 drivers) Today In 3 years Need to more effectively manage unstructured information (e.g., email, instant 10 1 messages, audio files, and paper documents and forms Need to facilitate collaboration across departments, functions, and geographies 2 2 Compliance with legal, regulatory, or internal information governance standards 4 3 Employees need the right information at the right time to do their jobs 1 4 Need to find information more quickly 5 5 Need to control and/or secure information based on legal concerns such as privacy and 3 9 security Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, June 2010 Culture is the main barrier The public sector was alone in ranking cultural issues as the main barrier to implementing information strategies. Although respondents rank the need to facilitate collaboration as a top driver of information flow strategies both today and looking forward three years, 45 percent say that collaboration and information- sharing are not a core value in the sector. Moreover, 31 percent say employee resistance to changing the way they work blocks more effective use of information. These barriers exist because government organizations often are very bureaucratic. In such a structure, information is a source of power—perhaps one of the only sources. It also may be difficult, given the nature of this sector, to institute incentives for changing this behavior. Cultural barriers challenge public sector (% respondents) Public sector Retail banks Healthcare Manufacturing Cultural: collaborating and sharing information across 45% 32% 30% 27% departments, functions, and geographies is not a core value Cost: implementing an effective information strategy is costly and 39% 40% 44% 29% complex Business organization: departments, functions, and geographies 37% 25% 46% 40% work in silos Technology: information systems do not connect well 37% 40% 37% 34% Change management: employees resist changing how they work 31% 20% 25% 38% to use information more effectively Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, June 20106
  • 7. Public sector has more confidence in information security strategies, but isnot a leaderThe public sector also lags behind other sectors in implementing information security strategies. Although publicsector respondents were more likely than those in other sectors to say they are implementing a strategy forsecuring information (44 percent, compared with 24 percent in retail banking, 38 percent in healthcare, and39 percent in discrete manufacturing), they were less clear on the details.This finding is especially surprising because all sectors that deal with highly confidential and sensitiveinformation need to have very robust policies and controls. While the public sector is not a leader in this area,the survey clearly shows that it values information security.SummaryThe public sector, which is often fragmented and subject to competing and sometimes conflicting mandates,faces special challenges in managing the flow and security of information. To effectively meet its obligationsto provide national security, public safety and accessible services to citizens, the sector must overcomethe constraints of bureaucracy and build stronger mechanisms to process, share and use information, thusempowering its employees. 7
  • 8. HP conclusion Security has been a very high-profile driver for government agencies in the past decade or so. The increase in digital computing capabilities, the connections made possible by the Internet, and the vulnerabilities posed by all of this capacity have made cyber-security an issue that governments must manage. Accordingly, a number of security requirements have emerged that either are already in place or are being put in place as quickly as possible. Budget limitations compound the security issue as government organizations struggle to meet increasing privacy and compliance requirements within shrinking budgets. The recent economic conditions have led to reductions in tax payments and other revenue-generating activities, such as user fees. This has severely restricted the money available for government agencies to address expanding security needs. Meanwhile, governments and their agencies still have to provide the core services and functions they were established to handle. Citizens expect convenient and flexible services, efficient response times, and meaningful innovation. And there is a growing expectation that governments should have a positive impact on the environment—or should at least decrease any negative one. And now, the Economist Intelligence Unit has identified a new driver that will be impacting government activities over the next few years: collaboration. As agencies work with tightening budgets to fulfill their mission and comply with security requirements under increasing citizen scrutiny, elected and appointed leaders are discovering that collaboration among employees, agencies, citizens, service providers, contractors, and vendors can make the difference between success and failure. As a result, collaboration is increasingly a top-of-mind imperative, and technology is becoming an increasingly important tool for making secure and affordable collaboration possible. HP has solutions designed specifically to help government agencies deliver flexible, innovative services that promote collaboration while protecting citizens’ information in both paper and electronic forms. HP automated document management solutions, for example, can help government agencies integrate and streamline workflows while achieving the environmentally sound objective of reducing paper waste. HP Exstream enterprise document automation software was designed from the ground up to provide a single solution for any document, from design through delivery, regardless of its complexity, variability, or output channel. For governments trying to cope with ever-tighter budgets, the cost savings of HP Exstream can make a dramatic difference. Other HP innovations, such as HP ePrint and HP Access Control card reader technology, give governments a rich and wide-ranging list of options to help curb costs, increase security, serve their citizens, and promote collaboration in cost-effective ways. From a secure cloud network infrastructure to a demand-driven mobile computing environment, HP offers a complete, end-to-end solution portfolio for government agencies. To learn more, contact Gary Rodgers at gary.rodgers@hp.com.To learn more, visit www.hp.com© Copyright 2010 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject tochange without notice. The only warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warrantystatements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting anadditional warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein.4AA2-0999ENW, Created October 2010