Collaborative Outcomes

Feature Article | April 30, 2008 by Russell LeFevre, SAP AG

The public sector is constantly streamlining business processes while continuing to deliver new and innovative services. Whereas private businesses can nimbly adjust to market demands and efficiencies, the public sector has an entirely different set of challenges. The wheel of the public sector can’t stop turning, and the option of running multiple systems in parallel often proves too costly, forcing most government agencies to make do with an imperfect infrastructure. This usually results in operational band-aids and inefficiencies, coupled with an endless game of catch-up from ever-changing mandates, laws, and budgets.

In the private sector, many companies collaborate across business processes and organizational boundaries to achieve a positive result, such as in supply chain and distribution. This collaboration benefits the larger group, while each participant also benefits individually. Unfortunately, in the public sector, such practices and methodologies aren’t universally accepted, due in part to bureaucracy, lack of resources, and disparate technologies.

Sharing and empowering

Thankfully, the technology piece of the puzzle has been solved. SAP for Public Sector solutions offer federal/central, state/provincial, and local governments the ability to collaboratively share information, business processes, and technologies as well as to empower different factions with better results by leveraging the totality of their data and information versus individual data.

SAP for Public Sector works within existing IT infrastructures to help agencies manage change. Thousands of new laws are passed every year, and every one of them will touch data in a government system. The modular platform structure of SAP for Public Sector enables teams to flexibly design, build, implement, and execute new business strategies and processes in record time.

Solutions are available for human capital management, government procurement, public sector accounting, social services, government programs, tax and revenue management, public security, and organization management, to name a few. This broad range of solutions means every public organization can benefit from SAP for Public Sector virtually out of the box.

More cost-effective solutions

Fundamentally, the challenge of collaborative outcome lies in the discovery process by determining what data is available globally within a public organization and then figuring how that
data can be paired to produce a more collaborative outcome among the data providers. Organizing government agencies to work toward collaborative outcomes provides enormous savings and efficiencies for those willing to make the investment.

Effective collaborative outcome strategies are based on an observation that solutions created by two or more agencies are likely to be more cost effective than those produced through individual efforts. Redefining the vir­tual walls of government as a set of shared services facilitates cooperation among agencies and unifies the global concept of serving constituents.

Benefits of collaboration

Take, for example, the relationship between child support and taxes at a state government. Three agencies – public administration, tax and revenue, and child support enforcement – can collaborate via SAP for Public Sector to help a custodial parent receive child support payments, while also helping improve taxpayer compliance.

Should child support payments be late, triggers are sent to both the child support enforcement division and the tax and revenue department. After the child support enforcement division verifies the delinquency, SAP for Public Sector can communicate with the state tax agency to determine whether the noncustodial parent is collecting wages from employment or is due a tax refund. If this is the case, the tax agency can then garnish the paycheck or the tax refund in lieu of payment. The collaborative outcome achieved in this scenario ensures that child support payments are made on a timely basis and that tax obligations are met.

Another example of SAP for Public Sector creating collaborative outcomes involves the relationship between the renewal of a driver’s license and taxes. Before the license renewal is issued, SAP for Public Sector interacts with the tax and revenue agency to determine whether the applicant has met his tax obligation. If the tax and revenue agency determines that the applicant owes taxes, the licensing agency can decide not to renew the driver’s license until he fulfills his tax obligation.

Enhancing values

These two simple examples of collaborative outcomes highlight opportunities in which SAP for Public Sector can maximize government productivity
and public value. Political value is enhanced because elected officials can tout the successful outcomes as examples of government fulfilling policy mandates. Social value is achieved when constituents receive timely services. And operational value is achieved when governments reduce operating costs and optimize their limited resources. Saving money and keeping constituents happy equals a job well done across the board.

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