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Where Innovation and Mission Delivery Meet: How Federal Agencies Can Improve Performance and Cut Costs
By 2025, the United States could save as much as $995 billion in expenditures by increasing the efficiency of public services by just one percent a year. This outcome is possible with Strategic Government Efficiency.
Strategic Government Efficiency—Accenture’s approach to helping government agencies implement cost-saving strategies—links spending to desired outcomes, matches budgets to priorities, uses leading practices to achieve real savings and channels limited resources to support increasing demands. Today’s federal agencies leaders must contend with declining budgets and increasing mission complexity; however, they have differed in their responses to budget uncertainty and mission growth. Some leaders have developed a proactive approach while others—although interested in such approaches—have been forced into a more reactive position by mission limitations imposed by deficit spending.
In this brochure, we look at how federal agencies can achieve mission priorities, deliver outcomes and prepare for the future by identifying and implementing cost-savings strategies across three key organizational areas: Workforce, Technology and Mission Support.
To see how you can adopt strategic innovations for high-impact outcomes, visit our Strategic Government Efficiency page.
Two powerful, contradictory forces shape today’s federal landscape. The first is declining budgets. After nearly a decade of expanding budgets, federal agencies must contend with spending limits imposed by the Budget Control Act (BCA) and current constrained economic conditions. Federal leaders have less spending flexibility than they once did. The question facing leaders in the federal government is not whether austerity is here to stay. Rather, it is what are federal agencies going to do about it.
The second powerful force is increasing mission complexity. Missions are becoming more complex as agencies are being asked to deliver more with less discretionary budgets. Rising expectations for agencies to do better with less—to balance cost cutting with mission priorities—are coming from Congress, taxpayers and other stakeholders. These pressures are creating a need for federal agencies to work differently.
Proactive leaders are well-positioned to make the most of Strategic Government Efficiency. This framework helps government agencies identify and implement cost-savings strategies across three key organizational areas:
Workforce. One agency found $4 million in savings through workforce skills alignment. With workforce improvements, agencies can mitigate costs while supporting the mission. The focus is on using leading practices to improve human resources processes and workforce productivity, achieving higher efficiency and building a better workforce.
Technology. A large state government identified $145 million in savings over 20 years by implementing a shared services model in several areas of operations. This is just one example of how agencies can use technology to work more efficiency. Streamlined, affordable technology solutions can help agencies optimize IT investments, deliver services more effectively, improve customer satisfaction and reduce costs.
Mission support. A 5 percent reduction in operations could provide $3 billion in annual savings across the federal government. Federal agencies have tremendous opportunities to strengthen budget, acquisition and other operations so that the business of government runs smoothly and more cost effectively. Looking to proven private sector practices can bring lasting results.
Looking across the key organization areas of Workforce, Technology and Mission Support, leaders can consider options to meet savings targets that are tailored to their agency’s specific priorities. The challenge is finding the appropriate balance between near-term and long-term solutions, and between the strategic and the tactical.
Agencies can begin by assessing how they are currently delivering the mission in terms of budgetary realities and strategic priorities. This approach will allow leaders to target the areas ripe for cost efficiencies and cost-avoidance.
Agencies should consider asking themselves questions around:
Strategic pilots – How will you secure buy-in across your senior leadership? How can you deploy successful solutions at scale?
Targeted rollouts – Where should you prioritize pilots to achieve change? Where can you engage with other agencies to pool solutions?
Enterprise transformation – What steps can you take to institutionalize and manage innovation? How can you build a culture of continuous improvement?
May 7, 2014
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