White paper explores public ROI

Advancing Return on Investment Analysis for Government IT: A Public Value Framework

A State University of New York at Albany white paper focuses on the public value of government information technology projects as opposed to the financial orientation associated with traditional return-on-investment (ROI) measures.

The white paper, “Advancing Return on Investment Analysis for Government IT: A Public Value Framework,” sets forth a nonproprietary public ROI methodology. The school’s Center for Technology in Government (CTG) partnered on the project with software vendor SAP.

CTG conducted five government case studies in conjunction with the white paper:

  • Pennsylvania’s Integrated Enterprise System.
  • Washington state’s Digital Archives.
  • Service New Brunswick in New Brunswick, Canada.
  • Israel’s Merkava integrated enterprise resource planning project.
  • Austria’s Federal Budgeting and Bookkeeping System.
The white paper identifies public value as the least understood area of technology investment. The public ROI of projects can range from “a few minutes saved in a routine transaction to improving the trust and legitimacy of an entire government,” the document states. “Assessing these returns remains a core problem in IT planning and decision-making.”

CTG’s public value framework aims to describe and measure public value, connecting what happens in the government with the effect on public domain stakeholders. The framework describes a multistep approach that starts with a high-level view of an IT investment and then analyzes its details to identify specific measures and methods that document public value, according to CTG.

Anthony Cresswell, the center’s deputy director and lead author of the white paper, said the organization’s research showed that governments assume that a given improvement – better access to information, for example – will produce good outcomes. But those governments don’t take the next step: systematically looking for evidence that a project yields the anticipated results.

Cresswell said he hopes the project will “enhance the ability of government officials to pursue the public value agenda.”

The public value framework is a paper-based methodology at this point. CTG has talked informally about the possibility of building a software tool based on the framework, Cresswell said. He noted that CTG has previously produced Web-based toolkits that automate “fairly complex types of assessment tasks.” CTG has created such a toolkit for the Justice Department.

Featured

  • Defense
    The Pentagon (Photo by Ivan Cholakov / Shutterstock)

    DOD CIO hits pause on JEDI cloud acquisition

    Dana Deasy set cloud as his office's top priority. But when it comes to the JEDI request for proposal, he's directed staff to "pause" to compile a comprehensive review.

  • Cybersecurity
    By Gorodenkoff shutterstock ID 761940757

    Waging cyber war without a rulebook

    As the U.S. looks to go on the offense in the cyber domain, critical questions remain unanswered around who will take the lead and how clearly to draw the rules of engagement.

  • Government Innovation Awards
    Government Innovation Awards - https://governmentinnovationawards.com

    Deadline extended for Rising Star nominations

    You now have until July 18 to help us identify the early-career innovators and change agents in government IT.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.