Unlike its predecessor, the IT Shared Services Branch, Shared Services Canada has a much better chance of success in helping government departments reduce IT waste and increase efficiency in both productivity and resource management.
By Christopher Smith
This is because the program is far more aware of the importance of developing excellent communication between all people involved in the process, from administrators to employees to IT technicians.
Instead of attempting to make arbitrary decisions based on spreadsheets or academic studies, Shared Services Canada is attempting to make recommendations based on people's actual experiences. Communication, surprisingly enough, can be an incredible cost savings.
The overriding goal of Shared Services Canada is to reduce overall IT expenses. However, the program is also tasked with a far more thorough communications policy, including eliminating cost overruns by making sure that duplication, in both equipment and processes, is avoided.
Although the IT Shared Services Branch had a similar goal, problems occurred when government departments were not told specifically how to manage their systems.
In many cases, the department would use systems or equipment provided by the Shared Services Branch that were not actually the most cost-effective choice. This usage would also be accounted for in a way that did not accurately reflect the budget for that department, which correspondingly did not help with cost reduction.
Communication is an art that must be learned through years of patient practice. Although many people may share the same goal, it is not always easy for them to express this goal in a way that is clear and actionable.
By purposefully dedicating resources to learning how to work with a variety of different people across different departments, Shared Services Canada will likely be able to reduce expenses simply because the program's understanding of what those expenses are will be much clearer.
To put it another way: instead of trying to interpret mysterious figures on a project proposal, Shared Services Canada will hopefully reach out to government workers to understand specifically what equipment they need for the tasks they carry out each day.
This kind of human approach will likely entail more coordination from program members, but will ultimately result in a far more fluid and effective policy than an inflexible or automated plan.