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Service New Brunswick (Case Study)



Implications for Public ROI Assessment

The SNB case highlights the key point made in the white paper: close attention to the connections between stakeholders, government operations, and technology investments is essential to a fully informed public value assessment. Determining if an investment has generated public value requires a focus on these connections in terms of the value generating mechanisms of efficiency, effectiveness, enablement, and intrinsic enhancements.

SNB was founded with the citizen as a central. Seeking their feeding and responding to it was required and became part of the work policies and practices as well as the culture of SNB; the connection between stakeholders, operations, and investments was institutionalized. Consistently working closely with stakeholders from the inception of SNB until today to understand what they need from government and monitoring whether those needs have been met allows SNB to assess public value in a uniquely comprehensive way. Their organizational strategy rests on the linkages created between public value and IT investments. Assessing the public value resulting from a technology investment – even in its simplest form such as depicted in Figure 3, is an example of these institutionalized practices at SNB, for example, assessing the public value delivered through the addition of the web as a service delivery channel. SNB did this by adding the web-based service delivery channel to the existing SQS process and citizen satisfaction surveys. In this way data about the impact of the investment was captured from the beginning of its use. The connections institutionalized at SNB also support assessments about public value resulting from overall infrastructure investments as depicted in Figure 4. For example, assessing the value delivered through investments both in application level technologies to increase the quality of an individual service event as well as in server and network technologies to enhance overall response rates. As indicated in the case, SNB has long employed a strategy of leveraging technology investments through a “build it once, use it many” model. The explicit adoption of this strategy challenges SNB to systematically track instances of technology reuse as part of the business analysis process. Systematic tracking of these leverage points and the value they deliver is part of the SNB business analysis process and provides a model for others.

Figure 3. Direct Service Impact
 
Figure 4. Indirect Service or Value Impact
 
Figure 3. Direct Service Impact
 
Figure 4. Indirect Service or Value Impact
 

SNB also provides a case example of the power of taking a broader view on the impact of investments such as depicted in Figure 5. Broadening the view to include the environment allows for the consideration of the fuller set of value generating mechanisms. Through its well-established linkages of stakeholders to technology to government operations and its commitment to ongoing assessment SNB also institutionalized this broader view of assessment: impact on the environment. This broader view supports assessment certainly of value generated through increased efficiency and effectiveness but it also supports assessment of enablement and intrinsic enhancements in a way not possible in the other views. As a crown corporation with a single customer, SNB must constantly scan its environment to assess its performance. Are the specific needs of citizens being met? Certainly this is a question they ask, but they also ask, is life better than it was? And if so, how?

Figure 5. Mixed Direct, Indirect Service & Environmental Value Impact

Figure 5. Mixed Direct, Indirect Service & Environmental Value Impact

The extensive attention paid to assessing public value at SNB as shown in this case reflects the view of public returns presented in the white paper and provides some data to begin to consider even more value flows. SNB’s commitment to making good service good business required them to measure direct agency returns, direct citizen benefits, and the public-at-large from the very beginning. Having public value assessments at all three levels allows SNB to go beyond where many other organizations are in terms of the public value assessment efforts, to begin to track the public value flowing from public-at-large benefits to policy and electoral benefits and general economic development as well. As such, the case analysis both provides models of these practices and calls for the addition of these two indirect benefit flows (shown in the Figure 6 below as heavy arrows).

Figure 6. SNB Public ROI Value Propositions

Figure 6. SNB Public ROI Value Propositions