FedInsight by Zoom

Why agencies need to put people at the center of their IT, process transformations

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Workforce Transformation Trends

We really need to evaluate the processes, the technology and the people, and bring them all together in a very human centered way.

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Advice for Process Reengineering

We have an opportunity to break down those siloes even more because it's just as easy to talk to someone in a different division, a different agency, as it is to the person on your team because the technology offers those opportunities. We definitely want to take advantage of them.

Last November, the General Services Administration closed sales on several high-value federal properties at the recommendation of the Public Buildings Reform Board.

This was a combination of land and office space that GSA believed were valuable, but not needed any more.

The sales marked the first of several that the board estimates will bring in about $500 million in revenue over the next year.

And this may just be the beginning as agencies reconsider what returning to the office looks like as we all learn to live with the pandemic’s ebbs and flows.

The Office of Personnel Management told agencies in new guidance to assist agencies in updating their current telework and remote work policies especially as OPM and agencies further define a broad vision for the “future of work,”

OPM told agencies they should strive to fully integrate telework into their culture, providing all employees the opportunity to telework at least occasionally.

Over the course of the next year or more, agencies will need to make a host of decisions about the future of work, both from an operational perspective like whether or not they need to reduce office space and a managerial perspective like how do they create that inclusive and collaborative environment.

Time to rethink mission delivery

Stephen Ellis, the government solutions lead at Zoom, said the change agencies have experienced over the last two years hasn’t just been extraordinary in many ways, but forced them to rethink every part of their mission delivery.

From how agencies serve citizens to how they collaborate internally and across agencies, Ellis said people have been and must continue to be at the center of these transformations.

“It takes people, process and technology together as a very coordinated approach. It is three legs of a stool, and you need all three to work together. When it doesn’t work, it’s a broken process and we can see it right away,” Ellis said on the Innovation in Government show. “We really need to evaluate the processes, the technology and the people, and bring them all together in a very human centered way. I think that is the innovation that we’ve seen, where agencies are implementing these processes, looking at technology to serve how people work.”

And employees are definitely working differently these days. Remote work continues to be a dominant approach for many federal employees. But agencies are starting to bring employees back to the office, creating a hybrid workplace for the foreseeable future.

Ellis said this is why it’s important for the technology and processes to serve the people in a way that accounts for the needs of the different generations of the workforce.

“I would challenge government purchasers to say this new IT solution that I’m deploying in whatever area that is, is it designed in a way that’s very easy or intuitive to use? Are people comfortable in how they’re using it?” he said. “Certainly a lot of thought has gone in terms of how Zoom works and how it can be used, and we continue to do that for the future and in our development. And I would imagine that my colleagues across industry are trying to do the same thing. So I would say to anyone who’s out there who’s looking at making a federal purchase of some technology to make sure that it’s intuitive and usable.”

No more silos

This means, Ellis said, IT and process modernization must happen in a way that puts people at the front and center.

“We have a fundamental need to reorganize the office in ways that are more collaborative. If you think about the silos, we say government was full of silos. One of the things the winds from COVID brought is we were able to break down a lot of silos,” he said. “We have an opportunity to break down those siloes even more because it’s just as easy to talk to someone in a different division, a different agency, as it is to the person on your team because the technology offers those opportunities. We definitely want to take advantage of them.”

He said the technology will become more important as the days of being able to walk up to an office or an in person meeting will become less typical.

“It’s not just being in a place and doing work. I think building that culture and empowering the outputs is what has to happen and that’s a big shift, but it’s one that we’re going to see a lot of going forward,” Ellis said. “There’s a lot of ways that can happen as we envision this process. We can improve IT and building that culture. That’s where I think the remote element can really help. We’ve talked about a lot of different inclusion and accessibility goals. We talked about personalities and cultures. We want our federal culture to make sure that, for example, introverted people feel like they’re valued and that they’re not overwhelmed by information. We want to make sure that we’re benefiting from a workforce that’s maybe not exclusively within commuting distance to the Capital beltway region.”

Ellis said this culture change requires coordination among the entire CXO suite. They have to recognize the changing nature of work and adjust expectations for remote and in-person employees.

Listen to the full show:

About Zoom

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