Data driven e-Governance using Lean Six Sigma practices

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The need and urgency of data based governance is increasingly felt across the organizations. In most e-Governance projects, it is seen that even after digitization, the traditional system of decision making process continues, the volume of digital-paper collection continues to be high, and requires new presentation formats or exchange strategies for improved performance in operations. If we compare e-Governance systems with e-Commerce systems, e-Commerce systems are found to be much faster, capable of handling large volumes of transactions and have higher sophistication of process design than those in eGovernment.


What is Lean Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is described as a data driven approach to reduce variations and eliminate defects and reduce costs in a process, product or service as measured by “six standards deviation” between the mean and nearest specification limits. The six sigma philosophy offers a structured approach to problem solving called DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) for existing processes and DMADV (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design and Verify) for new processes. Lean is a management approach to expeditiously complete the project within a few days, and focussed on improving value for customers and minimizing wasteful practices. The two approaches of process design can be combined in different variations to meet business outcomes.

“It is not the strongest that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change” – Charles Darwin

What is the e-governance process?

E-governance processes are designed for delivering government services, exchange of information communication transactions, integration of various stand-alone systems and services between government-to-customer (G2C), government-to-business (G2B), government-to-government (G2G) as well as back office processes and interactions within the entire government framework. The three main players in governance concepts are government, citizens and businesses interest groups. 

Applying Lean Six Sigma to e-Governance Processes

Every department has its own process for delivering services, and when evaluating for six sigma interventions, improvements are measured in following areas:

  1. Critical to Quality (CTQ)
  2. Critical to Cost (CTC)
  3. Critical to Schedule (CTS)

A six sigma framework for improving delivery system would include following steps:

  1. Identification of citizen’s requirements
  2. Benchmarking the parameters
  3. Identification of process
  4. Measurement of inputs and outputs of each process
  5. Analysis of process and identifying CTQ, CTC and CTS – preparation of cause-effect matrix
  6. Identifying interventions for process improvements
  7. Process improvement and process design/ redesign
  8. Validation of improvements (using statistical tools)
  9. Feedback and control

Government Process Reengineering considerations

The mentioned steps will lead to effective process reengineering. In business parlance, having a process in place to enable dramatic improvement in performance of services, better customer experience and improved value for its stakeholders is termed as Business Process Reengineering (BPR). But, the government is not a “business”. Government has many drivers and difficulties of context that businesses do not face, such as:

  1. Government cannot choose its customers and runs under political executive management and oversight.
  2. Creating stakeholder value is not a business driver for government
  3. Historically, governments have continued to be risk averse.
  4. Governments continue to operate in an area where it needs to be accountable for partnership and engagement with international, state and local governments.
  5. Government operations are built on taxpayer’s money. So, governments continue to work for citizens within the ambit of legislation and less discretion to change business orientation.

Thus, the process design or redesign should be considerate of context and drivers of government administration. A Government Process Reengineering (GPR) is a radical improvement approach that critically examines, rethinks and redesigns mission product and service processes within a political environment. GPR must rest upon increasing transparency in government, reducing bureaucratic control, increasing efficiency and productivity and reducing cost of service delivery. 

Use of Lean Six Sigma  brings following elements to Government Process Reengineering (GPR):

  • Proven set of statistical tools and methods to eliminate variation
  • Data driven design or improvement
  • Use of scorecards, dashboards, metrics and baseline
  • Stage gating to ensure initial assumptions are valid while maintaining vigilance of changes.
  • Elimination of waste, effort and resources
  • All efforts are linked back to “Voice of Citizen”, the business strategy and objectives.
  • Time bound improvement or additions in government services

Some examples of Six Sigma implementation in Public Sector

  1. In 2003, Florida Department of Revenue initiated the “Six Sigma Light” program for the department to maintain a sustainable system of process design, management and improvement. The department invested in a training program for participants. For every dollar invested in the training program, the department is seeing a $23 benefit.
  2. The city of Hartford, Connecticut, successfully reduced the processing time for checks in their tax collection office. Most checks are now processed in less than one working day, resulting in significantly higher interest earned by the city.
  3. The Washington State Department of Licensing identified those offices having excessive customer wait times for obtaining or renewing a driver’s license. Starting at the office with the longest waits, project teams were formed at each location. By focusing data collection on finding process bottlenecks, solutions were implemented that included changes to software, queue organization, and equipment layout. Most offices achieved a 50 percent or more wait time reduction along with an increase in customer satisfaction.

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