Information Technology Reference
In-Depth Information
from ICT investments (Breyne, Cumps, & Viaene, 2005; Luftman & Kempaiah,
2007; Shpilberg, Berez, Puryear, & Shah, 2007). The opportunity for public orga-
nizations to leverage these types of benefits via ICT investment is rather significant
given that there is broad-based scope for more effective strategic public manage-
ment (Bryson, Berry, & Yang, 2010).
7.4 Strategic Alignment in Public organizations
In recent years, government and federal agencies have made “significant investments
in IT applications aimed at reducing costs and improving operational effectiveness
while exchanging information across organizational boundaries, functional areas,
or jurisdictions” (Fedorowicz, Gelinas, Gogan, & Williams, 2009, p. 53). A variety
of contextual factors can impact on strategic ICT effectiveness in public organiza-
tions, which includes politics, term limits, goal ambiguities, conflicts of interest,
resistance to change, measurement issues, and legal concerns (Bryson et al., 2010).
Therefore, alignment must take into account an organization's strategic focus, con-
tent, visioning, and implementation. “ICTs may be used to achieve greater govern-
ment efficiency, better service quality, and more democratic participation” (Bryson
et al., 2010, p. 510). Based on leading public chief information officer (CIO)
insights, ICT is regarded to be a critical enabler in support of agency operations,
but extracting the real business value resides in ICT being effective, cost-efficient,
secure, and well supported (Tech America, 2013). The high-level challenges center
on the need to adapt to rapidly evolving and continuously changing technology,
with lower ICT budgets, reduced workforces, and ineffective acquisition support,
and all the while facing the exponential challenge offered up by privacy, control, and
security threats. However, for ICT to be effective, such issues must be considered
from an interconnected perspective that goes beyond tactical ICT, which so often
seldom happens.
Many public organizations today are faced with highly complex and fragmented
ICT environments. Such environments are made up of silo structures operating
large numbers of individual hardware and software systems with little or no integra-
tion and minimal heterogeneity and costs running excessively high. Project teams
are often isolated and capabilities are thinly spread, with consultants and suppliers
mantling the latest wave of ICT. “Most IT organizations are amazingly complex
and have individualized initiatives that are like independent countries, each with its
own business applications, technologies, culture, data definitions, and orientation”
(Feld & Stoddard, 2004, p. 76). The challenge herewith is to develop and implement
appropriate ICT solutions aligned with priorities that penetrate multiple intercon-
nections by linking concepts with solutions that provide deeply embedded integrity.
In orientating an alignment between strategy and ICT in public organiza-
tions, a review of current concerns from a practical point of view can be learned
by examining the context within which it holds relevance and meaning to the U.S.
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