Speaking Notes for. Liseanne Forand. President, Shared Services Canada. At GTEC

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1 Speaking Notes for Liseanne Forand President, Shared Services Canada At GTEC October 20,

2 I d like to start by thanking the GTEC board for giving me the opportunity to talk to you today about the purpose and promise of Shared Services Canada. As some of you will know, I was, until recently, the Chief Operating Officer of Service Canada, which delivers a significant proportion of the Government of Canada s external services to Canadians. Service Canada has accomplished a great deal in its short lifespan, and now I am very excited to be part of bringing transformation to how we deliver the internal services that support the public service. At a time when so much of the world struggles with economic turbulence, Canada s focus on balancing targeted economic stimulus with overall fiscal restraint has mitigated many of the worst impacts on our economy. At the same time, citizens expect their governments to be modern, efficient and effective to spend their money wisely and well. I believe that Shared Services Canada will help every public servant do just that, by making the information technology platform that underpins everything we do more efficient, cost-effective, coherent and innovative. To meet Canadians expectations, the Clerk of the Privy Council, Wayne Wouters, has identified public service renewal, and in particular, renewing the workplace, as a priority. At the same time, deputy ministers have been given increasing accountability for their departments while managing in a period of very real fiscal constraints. But as former Auditor General Sheila Fraser indicated in her 2010 Spring Report, the government is living with significant risks due to aging information technology and has not assessed the issue from a government-wide perspective or worked... to develop government-wide solutions. Her point was well-taken. The Government s decision to create Shared Services Canada is part of a broader plan to re-engineer its administrative services for a 21st-century public service, with a specific mandate to engineer and implement government-wide solutions. When they announced the creation of Shared Services Canada just a couple of months ago, Ministers made it clear where we will start our transformation, and why. Because every government department independently manages its own IT, we have over one hundred different 2

3 systems, and they are less than fully compatible. The government has over three hundred data centres country-wide. Worse, their use is not rationalized: some operate well below capacity while others struggle to meet demand. Add to that over three thousand overlapping and uncoordinated electronic networks across the federal government. In one instance, there is a single building complex with nine different networks. And all of that infrastructure is aging. Shared Services Canada is going to address this, because the status quo is not sustainable. We simply cannot persist in maintaining the duplication, inefficiency, low interoperability, sub-optimal economies of scale and fragmentation that arise from each department managing its IT independently. , data centres and networks can be re-engineered to meet the strategic requirements of the whole of government, and that is the mandate of Shared Services Canada. I want to emphasize that notwithstanding the immediate requirements of today s fiscal climate, cost savings are not the sole rationale for a shared services approach. Consolidation brings with it the scope and the scale that enable the government to leverage its buying power, to build coherence into its systems, and to create an environment of innovation and excellence. We re starting with IT infrastructure because it is the backbone of modern government operations. A modern workplace depends on it, and we will measure our success by how completely we are able to meet that need. What will success look like? We will consider ourselves successful when we meet client expectations and requirements; when our people are motivated and their skills are aligned to core organizational competencies; when our leadership has established and maintained a credible and recognized role as the government s IT shared services leader; when our vision has been clearly stated; when our culture is entrepreneurial; and when we deliver effective and efficient organizational and operational infrastructure. And that list isn t comprehensive: our goals are ambitious and cost savings will be just one measure. We plan nothing short of eliminating the unintended downsides of decentralization by bringing horizontal, enterprise-wide improvements to everything we do. 3

4 Because many, many organizations, both public and private, have adopted shared services models for horizontal internal functions, we have the inestimable benefit of learning from their experience. Other governments at every level and of widely diverse sizes are now benefitting from their adoption of this approach, including very large ones like California, with a population over 36 million; as well as smaller ones such as Queensland in Australia; many individual states below the 49th parallel; some functional areas of US government; and a number of Canadian provincial governments, including Alberta, B.C. and Ontario. Their successes are encouraging. Between 2002 and 2011, B.C. reduced its data centres from over a hundred to two. Michigan reduced their systems from forty to two, and shifted from obsolete and unreliable infrastructure to modern enterprise solutions in the process. Ontario reports that its IT transformation initiative, launched in 1998, is saving one hundred million dollars annually. I think it s worth noting that as Ontario s shared services have evolved, its rationale and approach have changed from aggregation and consolidation in order to decrease costs to a focus on service innovation that supports the public service and increases organizational performance. The message in all this is that we re building on proven models. A 2009 Harvard Kennedy School summit on shared services identified four primary ways that shared services will shape the future of public services: generating economic development, driving mass collaboration, fostering legitimacy and enabling front-office agility. In fact, everyone in this room knows that IT is an enabler, so don t let anyone tell you that shared services is only about cost savings. Just as other jurisdictions achievements inspire us, so the challenges they have faced help us appreciate what we need to succeed. For example, when we met with representatives of other jurisdictions to learn from their experiences they all reported that they had underestimated the magnitude of the change management challenge. They specifically identified the cultural impact of shared services as warranting more attention. Accordingly, Shared Services Canada has 4

5 put a senior assistant deputy minister in charge of transformation alone. We re determined to get it right because the payoffs will be huge when we do. Of course, determination alone won t get the job done. Every aspect of the mandate, structure and model have been carefully considered in order to deliver increased efficiency, better quality and service excellence. SSC is not a shared service organization like others that have come before. The first thing that s different about Shared Services Canada is that the IT services we provide will be mandatory. Let s start with mandatory services. A number of jurisdictions reported that initial attempts at enterprise approaches were less successful than hoped, due in part to their voluntary nature. By making the services mandatory, the focus is shifted from whether to how: how can we deliver service improvements and a more modern approach. Managing demand and supply at an enterprise level will provide increased flexibility in responding to the peaks and valleys of individual departmental demands for generic IT services, thereby increasing our ability to protect the government from unnecessary variability in costs while supporting increased elasticity of the supply available to all departments. Secondly, Shared Services Canada has been given the authority to operate on an appropriations basis, rather than by cost recovery, based on the experience of other public-sector jurisdictions. This approach will enable a new partnership to emerge whereby SSC will work with partner departments to manage organic growth and renewal cycles for the IT infrastructure services essential for departments to deliver on their mandates and missions. Moreover, if and when departments add new programs, or initiatives which require new capabilities beyond what organic growth can accommodate, SSC will first seek to meet those needs within existing and available resources, and when absolutely required, will become a full partner with departments in seeking support through the regular channels. And thirdly, because commodity-type IT services tend to be more easily consolidated and standardized, and present opportunities for innovative sourcing 5

6 models, SSC will put a special focus on ensuring that its procurement activity is driven by its broader and longer term objective and conducted in a manner that is fair, transparent and inclusive. The consolidation and re-engineering of , data centres and networks will demonstrate the merits of an enterprise-wide approach, because it will illustrate just what a whole-of-government mandate can accomplish, that individual departments could not. For example, the move to a single system will result in a significant reduction in the number of servers distributed across data centres. This will be reflected in planning and implementing data centre consolidation. And data centre decisions will have a real and direct impact on the choices to be made with respect to the government-wide networks. There is simply no way that individual departments, working within their own specific mandates, can achieve the economies of scale, let alone meet the planning and implementation requirements of such a transformation. Finally, SSC will become a centre of expertise and will foster a collaborative and engaged culture committed to service and operational excellence. On the one hand, we are lucky to be able to build on a very focused mandate. And on the other, we are counting on our government-wide perspective, supported by expertise with experience in a broad range of client departments, to make Shared Services Canada much more than the sum of its parts. Every aspect of our management of human resources will, I believe, differentiate SSC from other shared services organizations. We will make SSC an exciting place to work in a challenging environment that encourages innovation and embodies excellence. Which brings us to the critical question of people. Jurisdiction after jurisdiction has learned that you can t put too much emphasis on people. People at every level, from users to service delivery specialists to managers, leaders and elected officials need to see and understand the change, where they fit in and why it matters. We will need to listen, we will need to engage and we will need to support those who might be struggling to adjust to new ways of doing things. Our workplaces have their own contexts, histories and cultures. Public servants self-select because of a desire to serve a greater good, whether that is through 6

7 social policy, economic development, protection, environmental stewardship, or international development and whether it s as a policy analyst, a CFO or an IT engineer. That is a vital aspect of our collective culture, and Shared Services Canada is an integral part of that culture. But I would go even further than that. I ve talked this morning about the greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts advantages of drawing expertise from across a wide variety of departments and bringing it together in a new organization. Here s one more, and it s important: a new department encourages and enables the creation of a new corporate culture one that builds on the broader public service ethos to embrace innovation as part of its brand. And that new culture will, in turn, enable us to achieve the many ambitious objectives we ve set for ourselves. We re not just re-wiring IT; we re bringing a whole new set of ideas and competencies to the enterprise. Perhaps paradoxically, I believe that some of the greatest benefits of our coherent enterprise-wide approach will be felt within individual departments. I invite you to imagine technology that is innovative, simpler, more robust, and more secure. Consider your department s performance when it experiences fewer technology bottlenecks or even when it no longer has to maintain its own directory. Think of all the time and the effort that will be freed up to let you get on with your own business. In the end, that s what Shared Services Canada is about: enabling individual departments to deliver on their mandates. It s about serving Canadians better by helping you to focus on what you do best. It s about inclusion, and working together to achieve the greater good. I look forward to working with you all toward that end. Thank you. Questions? 7

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