Yesterday I gave my presentation “The future of government is no government” for the first time (here is a blog post that describes it). Weird room set up, very wide with screens at each side, and a small podium.
I had the feeling that the audience was quite intrigued by the idea of governments doing less (or, at least, different things) at a moment in time when they seem to be doing more, such as helping the economy and saving banks. But actually there is no contradiction: if resources needs to be thrown to the economy, service levels and internal processes will have to pay the toll, and governments must look for ways to engage external entities (such as social network) to help perform some essential functions.
Interestingly enough, the only slide of my pitch where I got some push-back was the one where I questioned the need for infrastructure consolidation and shared services (also covered in a previous post).
My line is that there is no point in pursuing a painful shared service initiative in areas where the services will be soon commoditized: storage or email would be good examples. What I meant to say was that if one has to fight a battle for truly “shared” services, infrastructure may not be the best starting point. Therefore I suggested that those who have not yet started a consolidation journey may wish to wait and see what happens with infrastructure as a utility. Of course, if consolidation is already well underway, it is a matter of making sure that the resulting infrastructure will be able to benefit from “cloud-based” services going forward.
But, as usual when I talk about shared services and consolidation, some of the attendees became a bit defensive and challenged my assumptions. I have been through this a few times already. Those who are going to be consolidated love my slide because they think they can make the case for running their own stuff. Those who are in charge for consolidation hate it because I seem to be dismissive of their work.
Reality is that I am cautioning both parties to focus on where a “shared service” model is really worth the effort. But I’m sure I’ll continue disappointing some clients.