Quote of the week
“Integration offers a more agile approach to public service delivery.”
— Report: Integrating Human Services in an Age of Fiscal Restraint
The federal government, through Shared Services Canada, is focusing on integrating IT systems to create an enterprise-wide approach. The goal is to create efficiencies in everything from the use of mobile devices and servers to email addresses.
But, of course, enterprise-wide integration doesn’t need to happen simply in the IT realm. In many service delivery areas, including ones like human resources, the use of an integrated government-wide approach, as opposed to unique organizationally-managed silos, is seen as both more efficient and cheaper.
A study by KPMG of the Peel Region’s integration of human services indicates there are benefits, such as a better of understanding of how organizations within the city work together and more flexibility in assigning staff to meet client demands.
Challenges are not surprising: labour relations is a big one, as is organizational resistance from entrenched silos. Isn’t that always the case?
Some lessons learned from the study:
1. Collaboration is a must. Whether it’s planning the change or implementing it, you must collaborate for “organization-wide mobilizations of personnel.”
2. The members of the implementation team must reflect the needs of the new organization.
3. Make sure that the service integration doesn’t lead to new and bigger silos.
4. If you want the reforms to last, make sure that its principles are embedded into the “mindsets at an individual and institutional level.”
These are useful lessons not only for human services transformation, but for all change initiatives.