This sounds like a simple question. What does value mean to you? And it may be simple for you to answer. But when we asked several groups this question, we found that there were about as many answers as there were people answering. We also found that the answers varied depending on whether you were looking at it from a citizen’s standpoint or from a government standpoint. It even varied depending on the department being represented.
While the definitions varied, there was a lot of commonality. People were quick to convey that value is not just monetary. The intrinsic value or the underlying perception of the true value included all aspects of the organization in terms of both tangible and intangible factors.
As we evaluate the technology projects we have completed over the past five years, these group discussions play a critical role in understanding the value of each project. Through consolidation of definitions, value was summarized to these seven areas: Savings, Efficiency, Relationship, Citizen, Expectations, Risk, and Strategic.
Savings related to all of the ways to save money like reducing personnel, holding growth, time savings, or just the biggest bang for the buck. Efficiency was defined by efficient processes, time savings, process improvement, improved services and the ability to match needs with resources. Relationship value represents the relationships with the public and the internal relationships that are extremely important for any organization. Citizen value includes increased levels of service, but it goes well beyond that to include removal of constraints, providing useful information and making a positive change in behavior, attitude and well being.
Expectation may seem like a strange value, but it has become part of the delivery of services. People expect to have choices based on their personal preferences, they expect more online services, they expect accessibility, and simplification. They also expect security in their dealing with the government which brings us to the next value, risk. Reducing risk is of high value today. Data security, integrity and the preservation of data and institutional knowledge are all part of the risk value assigned to projects.
Strategic value is the last of the seven. Sometimes the value is in the priority of a service that is needed or desired. Sometimes value is generated by an opportunity that would be lost if not acted upon. Or maybe it is just part of the business outcomes.
Below is a summary of the terms from our value discussions. They are broken into the seven summary areas. Perhaps your definition of value falls into one of the areas, or maybe you have other definitions. The important thing to realize is that we may all look at things a little differently; however, when it comes to providing valuable services to the citizen we must review every project for its contribution to the County’s overall well being.
Money Savings (Savings)
- Reduce Personnel/Hold the growth
- Time Savings
- Cost in relationship to alternatives
- Biggest bang for your buck
- Cost savings- resources, personnel
- Limited resources
Better Efficiency (Efficiency)
- Time Savings
- Process Improvement
- Ability to match resources to need
- Improved Service Delivery
- Improved Communications
Public Relation Value (Relationship)
- Public perception
- Human Resources Support
- Relationships- human and tangible
Better Service to the Citizen (Citizen)
- Increased Level of Service
- Removal of Constraints
- Positive change in behavior, attitude or well being
- Useful Information
- Personal preference
- Ability to do more
- Anything that increases the quality of life
- Access /Accessible
- Meeting expectations
- Ease of use/transaction/interaction
Mitigates risk (Risk)
- Reducing risks
- Data Security and Integrity
- Increased Security
- Institutional Knowledge
Strategically important (Strategic)
- Opportunity Lost/Cost
- Business Outcomes