Voices from Accenture Public Service

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When the world moves, where do you want to be?  Stuck with an aging legacy system that can’t adapt and costs more and more each year just to keep running?  Unable to say yes to business and customer demands for improvements?  Unable to respond to demands for new policy?

In this time of unprecedented change, you need to be ready for anything – adaptability is going to be the key determinant of success in the future.  When the world moves can you move ahead?

Being able to change at pace requires new approaches and new architectures – balancing priorities across multiple activities to make a wise pivot.

In the new world change is continuous – we need to avoid large-scale changes and adopt strategies that allow us to progressively change our systems, processes and practices progressively.  While continuous change creates complexities in new and legacy technology co-existence, it is significantly less risky; and allows you to adapt to challenges and opportunities along the journey.

An important consideration of continuous change is to create a focus on reducing technical debt.  While it’s possible to create value by wrapping new services around your core systems, ultimately this just increases the challenges of modernizing those core systems.  We can measure technical debt as a combination of the scale and inter-dependence of code – we need to move to architectures that are simpler and independent to enable faster change in the future.

Balancing investment in creating value for business and clients with outlay in reducing technical debt is important.  The most important capability of an organization in the modern world is adaptability. The business case must be about more than immediate value.  n investment in reducing technical debt is justified by being able to respond more rapidly to future challenges and opportunities – even though we have no idea what these may be.

This alignment of business and technology is the key to future agility.  When we can move directly from a business demand to an implementation without having to rebuild and test and entire integrated system then we truly create the agility we need for the future.

Being adaptable is not just about technology – the people and processes must also be able to change at the same pace as and in harmony with the technology.  This needs an organizational shift to align the business structures and operating models to focus on change rather than static business models. There must also be a cultural shift to recognize and reward those who drive change and innovation.

Finally; there is a need to have the flexibility to adapt to new challenges and opportunities as they emerge. By definition; agile techniques provide a shorter timeframe between analysis and delivery.  When we design and deliver in a cycle of weeks or months rather than years there is a much greater chance that what you get is what you need.  We are now in a world where we can conceive, analyze, co-create, build and test a solution in short cycle to align value to solution and organization.  Alignment to an overall vision and architecture are still important – but they are now more lightweight and directional than lengthy and detailed.

See our recent Transformation Survival Kit and reach out to me if you have any questions.

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