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The GKC works in collaboration with a panel of governance experts who reign from a range of the foremost government bodies, research institutions and civil society organizations.

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Book Review

 
Managing Transformation- Objectives to Outcomes
J. Satyanarayana
PHI Learning Private Limited ,2012
Pages - 312 pages
Price - Rs.375/-
 
Reviewer
B. N. Satpathy is Economic Adviser, DeitY and S. Arputhaswamy is Deputy Director, DeitY


Traditionally governance structures in India are characterized by rule based approaches. While such an approach satisfies the considerations of economy of inputs and compliance with process regulation, it fails to indicate what are the results achieved by the activities of government in general and deployment of public funds in particular. Therefore, a need has been felt to shift the focus of the Government from traditional concerns such as expenditure and activity levels towards a framework that would manage for results by developing robust indicators to assess performance in terms of results.

 The book, by the author, J. Satyanarayana, IAS provides one such framework. It postulates the O2O (Objectives to Outcomes) framework as a seven-step methodology. The methodology, in a sense, is a meta-framework for transformation. It harmonises and synthesises altogether 40 sub-frameworks, which include some well-known concepts, such as Porter’s Value China Framework, Kaplan and Norton’s Balanced Scorecard, and Hammer’s BPR framework. Each sub framework attempts to tell the reader how to go about tackling a single aspect of transformation.

 It ensures an End-to-End approach (specific objectives to measurable outcomes) and enables adoption of a holistic approach (people, process, technology, business model). The author illustrates the O2O framework through a Case Study on Passport Seva Project, designed by him, and being implemented all over India to transform the quality of passport-related services provided to the citizens.

Through the first two chapters, ‘The Dynamics of Transformation’ and ‘Objectives to Outcome’ the author drives home the point that any transformation has a defined life cycle (Transformation Life Cycle (TLC)) with specified stages. It is seven-step O2O cycle. In the second chapter, a bird’s eye view of each of the seven steps is given. Each step is explained in detail in separate chapters with methodologies from management and technology. The steps are explained in practical manner with templates and suitable examples/exhibits drawn from the Passport Seva Project.

Chapter 3, Defining Objectives (Step # 1): The objectives to outcomes methodologies is essentially about objectives – defining the set of right objectives and realising them in the form of desired outcomes. The meaning & attributes of the term objectives and manner of establishing the set of right objectives- all in the context of a transformational initiative are explained in this chapter with examples from Passport Seva Project (PSP).

Chapter -4, Objectives to Interventions (Step # 2): Objectives and sub-objectives specify WHAT is to be done if the transformation vision is to be fulfilled.  The logical next step is to find out HOW to achieve the objectives and sub-objectives. This is precisely the purpose of converting the objectives and sub-objectives into a set of interventions that are actionable.  A survey of best practices and a technology scanning form two useful sources for identifying the interventions.  Interventions should be classified along the dimensions of process, people, technology and business model and along the three levels - strategic, tactical and operational. Drawing an intervention map helps visualise the quantum and nature of effort required in the transformation initiative. While undertaking large transformation initiatives, it is desirable to spread out the interventions into two or three phases to ease the process of designing and implementation.

Chapter-5, Re-Engineering Processes (Step # 3): Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) plays a pivotal role in most transformation efforts. BPR is the transformation of the processes of an organisation so as to enhance the value provided to its customers. Transforming processes directly results in transformed products and services.

The 5-step BPR methodology suggested in this chapter consists of preparing the organisation for BPR, scoping the BPR effort, designing the new processes, implementing and managing them. 

 The six-thumb rules are discussed very successfully for facilitating generation of BPR ideas to the strategic process designers-elimination, optimisation, standardisation, integration, automation and self-service.  Five process artifacts have been defined to be the ready targets of BPR-forms, business rules, workflows, reports, and Knowledge Management (KM) structures.

Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) or changing processes has necessarily to be accompanied by changing the people.  This brings out the importance of Change Management (CM).  A 4-step methodology for Change Management has been suggested in this chapter that consists of understanding the areas requiring change, scoping the CM effort, designing the change management and implementing it. 

The author cautions here that as far as 50 per cent of all BPR projects have proved to be failures and therefore it is necessary to proceed cautiously and in a measured and structured manner while undertaking BPR as part of a transformation.

Chapter 6, Specifying Requirements (Step #4): Specifying requirements amounts to asking what you want. The more specific the requirement, the more satisfying is the fulfillment. The ‘requirements stage’ forms the point of convergence of the business strategists and technologists/management consultants in terms of WHAT specifically is to be done.

While the term ‘requirements specification’ has heavy connotation of software engineering, it can be applied with benefit to other areas of requirements-such as Infrastructure, People, Implementation and Operations and Maintenance, each having its own set(s) of requirements.  Whatever the area, requirements have to be specific, complete, consistent, correct, current, feasible and verifiable.

Chapter-7, Designing the Transformation (Step # 5): Design requires originality, creativity and deliberate intention. A good design focuses on the functionality, aesthetics, usability and above all, seeks to provide value for money.  The author discusses the more important elements of design, classified broadly as those related to people, process, technology and implementation.

Chapter 8, Implementing the Transformation (Step # 6): Getting all the required teams into position is the key first step in implementation—the Concept Team, the Consultant Team, the Project Team, Project Management Office (PMO) and the Implementation Agency.  The number of teams and the aggregate team size varies through Steps 0 through 7 and they are the largest during the design and implementation stages.

Leadership is the most significant critical success factor. Continuity of leadership through the implementation period is equally important. Choice of competent consultants with the right attributes ensures smooth sailing through the project design and implementation.

Following a structured methodology for transformation enhances the chances of success significantly.  There would be no surprises towards the finish line!

Chapter 9, Manage and Assess (Step # 7): The purpose of Step # 7 the last step in the O2O methodologies is to check whether all the new systems of process function efficiently in a stable environment and fulfill the objectives with which we started on the transformation trail. This chapter discusses the methodologies that enable us to know whether our efforts put in Steps 0 through 6 have succeeded in generating the desired outcomes from out of the objectives we started with.  Some technologies for maintaining new systems in a steady state are given in this chapter. Template for a questionnaire to survey the customer feedback is also given in this chapter.

 The author concludes the book ‘Objectives to Outcomes’ by stating the outcome of the efforts that have gone into the Passport Seva Project through the pictures ‘before and after’ PSP transformation.

The book is a very effective guide for the management consultants charged with business transformation projects, especially those involving a significant IT element. The O2O framework provides a good way of formulating an acceptable approach to tackling the organisational maladies.

It will be useful for different departments of Government of India to set transformational goals for their respective organisations, incorporate them into the Mandatory Success Indicators and set a time frame for achievement of transformational goals. This, I think, it could be the value of the book for the practitioners of Management in the Government.

 

In nutshell, the following are the key features of the book:-

  • By expounding the O2O methodology, the book addresses the managerial     requirements of conceptualizing, designing and implementing major transformation projects. 
  • Focuses on the four principal dimension of transformation, namely, Process, People, Technology, and Business Model while explaining the major concepts. 
  •  Text is interspersed with plenty of examples to illustrate the concepts. 
  • Includes chapter-end review questions to drill the students in self-study.

The transformation framework suggested in this book is intuitive, logical, comprehensive but generic enough for wide-ranging applications. This text, with its blend of theory and practice, would prove extremely valuable to the students of Management. It should prove a valuable tool for future improvement of RFD in Government.

 

B. N. Satpathy is Economic Adviser, DeitY and S. Arputhaswamy is Deputy Director, DeitY.