With the National cabinet announcing its three-step plan to gradually remove baseline restrictions and make Australia COVID-19 safe, our nation has begun its careful journey towards recovery.
However, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison has relayed numerous times, despite the “enormous pressure” to relax controls on social and business life, these are still uncertain times. The current battle in Victoria following new outbreaks has shaken Australia’s confidence, and Australia’s citizens -almost 80 percent according to Mckinsey Research– remain pessimistic about the country’s economic recovery.
At a government business level, the virus sprint that saw agencies rapidly respond to COVID-19 issues and public health requirements by adding new capability and IT capacity to cope with immediate demands, has become a marathon – the finish line not yet in our sights.
Marcus D’Castro, Executive General Manager for Capability and Consulting at ASG Group, says the focus for ASG’s government agency clients has moved beyond implementing measures for business continuity, and on to the next stage which is dealing with the flow-on effects of rapid responses to Covid-19 such as increased risk and substantially increased IT costs.
He says, “In the wake of Australia’s reboot, agencies have a few new challenges to navigate. Firstly, there could be increased risk from some things like use of non-compliant software that was implemented to respond to immediate critical needs; as well as software vendors ramping up client audit activities as an alternative means to achieve their revenue targets.”
Mr D’Castro adds, “Government agencies are also facing uncertainty and potential changes regarding their budgets due to government spend on COVID-19 issues, with the added unknown of the federal budget delays for FY21.
The impact of this on planned ICT projects is likely to be the cancelling of major programs of work which creates a shifting landscape for software requirements and usage.
The solution we are offering our government clients, is to help them find sustainable and innovative ways to cut costs whilst still delivering to citizens.”
Five principles to guide any government agency when reducing costs
Effective cost reduction services look at ways to maximise value from existing investments, without losing focus on customer and growth opportunities. ASG’s approach to reducing costs in government follows five principles:
Make cost reduction a core competency by focusing on continuous, long-term improvement rather than viewing it as a once off initiative.
Tie cost reduction to citizen centricity by focusing on how to reduce costs in a way that uplifts the quality and relevance of services provided to citizens.
Find ways to collaborate and communicate – resilience and cost optimisation can become a lot stronger if it is approached from a community perspective. For example, open dialogue with citizens, your supply chain, and other government agencies can reveal new methods of collaboration that leaves all participants better off.
Establishing a culture of trust is a key enabler to being able to establish a culture of continuous cost reduction.
Change in mindset – The traditional approach to reducing costs has often centred on reducing staff and eliminating projects. On their own these approaches can actually harm efforts to establish a continuous improvement culture and they also close channels from which great ideas often originate. A better approach is to question everything in a holistic manner and constantly use alignment with citizen centric strategic goals as an evaluation filter for any decision being contemplated.
ASG-owned Group 10 Consulting – a capability arm of ASG that focusses specifically on helping businesses reduce costs, mitigate risks, and increase the business value of ICT investments- has seen an uplift in requests for its Software Asset Management (SAM) program.
SAM is a business practice that involves managing and optimising the purchase, deployment, maintenance, utilisation, and disposal of software applications.
Jennifer Nelson, Executive General Manager of Group 10 says during periods of major change, effective SAM activities are more difficult to carry out than in normal circumstances. Mostly due to the widely varied software vendor licensing methods that are often designed to create confusion, and complexities in determining what is being used within highly complex IT systems.
As Ms. Nelson explains, successful SAM programs often achieve substantial return on investment results and dramatically decrease risks to businesses. For one agency alone, via a SAM managed service program, it was able to achieve $80m savings over two years.
“Overall, we have saved our government clients over $500m through SAM.”
ASG Group are an established provider of digital solutions and services for government. Leveraging automation, innovation, and sovereign capabilities in advisory and consulting, ASG’s Cost Reduction services help organisations win back resources whilst creating new value through improved efficiency.
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