Accenture sets value of public sector IT

The consulting firm Accenture is launching its Public Sector Value Model for calculating the value of projects to government organizations.

The methodology is an attempt to calculate value for organizations that don't earn profits or track stock prices. With government budgets in crisis, especially at the state and local level, pressure is high to justify any costs, said Steve Rohleder, group chief executive of Accenture's government operating group.

And on the other side, citizens are demanding easier access to government information, especially through the Internet, he said.

"About six or eight months ago, we were pulling all these observations together and we decided that government is ripe for a change," Rohleder said.

The value model, which Accenture officials are in the process of patenting, draws from commercial measurements to assess cost efficiency and the outcomes of government programs, he said.

"Government doesn't have any shareholders, so we've had to shift it towards citizens," he said. "Government agencies by and large don't exist to make profits, so we use outcomes. You have to look at outcomes as a basket of social achievements."

Accenture's employees will make broad use of the system in the future, Rohleder said.

"It is a key part of our strategy moving forward with our clients," he said. "The second part is: How do we get it to be part of public policy? I think that's going to take time, but we do have an effort underway."

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