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Dimensions of Information-Sharing Capability

Through an extensive field analysis of justice agencies and program initiatives, we identified 16 major dimensions of information sharing capability. Taken together, these dimensions capture the interacting influences of organization, policy, and technology on information-sharing initiatives in any government domain.

Dimensions of Information-Sharing Capability
  1. Business Model and Architecture Readiness
The degree to which the initiative has developed business models and enterprise architectures that describe the service and operational components of the enterprise, how they are connected to each other, and what technologies are used to implement them. These descriptions may include detailed analyses of business processes.
  1. Collaboration Readiness
The degree to which relationships among information users and other resources support collaboration; these include staff, budget, training, and technology, and prior successes or failures in collaborative activities.
  1. Data Assets and Requirements
The extent of specification and identification of formal policies for data collection, use, storage, and handling, as found in documentation of databases and record systems; and in data quality standards and dictionaries. It may include procedures for and results of data requirement analyses and data models and modeling techniques.
  1. Governance
The existence of mechanisms to set policy and direct and oversee the information sharing initiatives that are planned or underway.
  1. Information Policies
The level of development of policies that deal with the collection, use, dissemination, and storage of information as well as with privacy, confidentiality, and security.
  1. Leaders and Champions
The involvement of leaders and champions. Leaders motivate, build commitment, guide activities, encourage creativity and innovation, and mobilize resources; they see the goal clearly and craft plans to achieve it. Champions communicate a clear and persuasive vision for an initiative, provide the authority and legitimacy for action, and build support in the environment.
  1. Organizational Compatibility
The degree to which the work styles and interpersonal relationships, participation in decision-making, levels of competition and collaboration, and styles of conflict resolution support information sharing. Compatibility of cultures may be gauged by the degree of centralization, degree of conformity, deference to authority, adherence to rules, and symbols of status and power.
  1. Performance Evaluation
The presence of the skills, resources, and authority necessary to observe, document, and measure: (1) how well the initiative itself is developed and implemented, (2) whether information sharing goals are achieved, and (3) how the performance of the justice enterprise is improved
  1. Project Management
The availability and use of methods for goal setting, scheduling development and production activities, analyzing resource needs, managing interdependencies among activities and goals, and provisions to anticipate and respond to contingencies.
  1. Resource Management
The extent of effective use of financial, human, and technical resources through budgeting, strategic plans, financial analyses, and accepted financial management procedures and practices.
  1. Secure Environment
The degree to which appropriate security protocols for data, systems, applications, and networks as well as systems, policies, training, and management practices are in place.
  1. Stakeholder Identification and Engagement
The extent of awareness of and interaction with the persons or groups with an interest in the information sharing initiative and capacity to influence it. This dimension is based on stakeholder analyses, staff experience and knowledge, records or reports of participants in making policy and decisions, and membership of advisory or constituent groups.
  1. Strategic Planning
The quality and comprehensiveness of strategic plans and planning processes, including resources, integration of strategic planning with governance and management.
  1. Technology Acceptance
The extent of talk and actions expressing positive or negative attitudes toward workplace changes, trust of new tools and techniques, success or failure stories that are widely shared and believed, and enthusiasm for innovations.
  1. Technology Compatibility
The presence of agreed-upon standards, the extent of connectivity among those seeking to share information, and the experiences of staff with information sharing activities.
  1. Technology Knowledge
The levels of knowledge about current and emerging technology for information sharing, including technical qualifications and experience of staff, records and documentation of technology assets, and the actions of staff in compiling, storing, and sharing such knowledge.

Capability assessment consists of rating an initiative (or some part of it) along these dimensions, treating each as a continuum from high to low. For example, an organization is not simply ready for collaboration or not; instead, it falls somewhere on a continuum from not at all ready to fully ready. The figure below shows how the dimension of collaboration readiness can be characterized from high to low.

Collaboration Readiness Continuum from High to Low

These characterizations of high and low capability are the starting point for assessment. To be most useful, the capability ratings should be based on evidence, discussed among the participants, and weighted for importance. Techniques for doing all this have been developed for particular kinds of capability assessment and are readily available.