Activity 2.1: Identify Organizations and Service Providers to EngageIn Step 1, planners, stakeholders, sponsors, and governance have worked together to develop a validated set of stakeholder needs and the target performance, vision, goals and objectives, purpose statement, and scope associated with those validated needs. Prior to launching into full scale planning in Step 3, it is important to prepare by researching organizations and service providers that might have experiences that could be leveraged to help address the stated needs.
In this activity, planners identify organizations and service providers that have experiences that might be relevant to the needs being planned. For example, if an organization’s mission is focused on water quality then perhaps another organization with a water quality related mission might have faced similar needs. Likewise, if the need at hand is focused on case management then perhaps another organization has faced a similar case management need, despite the two organizations having dissimilar missions. In other scenarios, there might be service providers that are already offering solutions related to the needs at hand. In such scenarios, planners can learn from the service providers to understand more about how the marketplace is addressing similar needs.
In each of these instances, planners are identifying which organizations and service providers will be engaged in order to determine the actual relevancy of their experiences. In Step 2, the term “experiences” can mean lessons learned, reusable requirements, reusable solutions, planning that can be done in partnership, and other experiences from which planners can learn or leverage prior to beginning the significant planning in Step 3.
To be clear, Step 2 is not about identifying solutions or performing any form of alternatives analysis. The rigor of the planning in Step 3 is required to perform such evaluations. Step 2 is about planners performing the research to determine whether there are experiences that can be considered as inputs to the planning efforts in Step 3, and to determine whether there are other organizations facing similar needs with whom it would be appropriate to plan as a team.
The following visual illustrates the tasks within this activity.
Identify internal and external organizations addressing similar missions
Planners must look broadly to find organizations that may have experiences that could relate to the needs being planned. In this task, planners look both internally and externally to the organization to find other organizations that may have similar missions. The logic in this task is that organizations with a similar mission may be facing similar needs.
For instance, if the organization has water quality as a mission then perhaps a water quality agency in another country might be a relevant organization to identify for engagement.
Similarly, if a government organization processes student loans, then perhaps an external private sector organization that processes financial loans might be a relevant organization to identify for engagement.
Planners must develop a list of potential organizations to engage including how those organizations are related to the needs at hand. The concept of engaging these organizations might be abstract or foreign to some individuals, and the reasons for engagement may need to be explained in detail prior to getting approval to move forward with that engagement.
Identify internal and external service providers associated with prioritized needs
Service providers are an important element of Step 2. Service providers represent what is currently feasible within the marketplace or within a government institution. If there is a need and a business model, a service provider has often emerged to try to meet that need, in the private or public sector. Increasingly, there are service providers that offer not only technology solutions but also full scale mission solutions that can be procured.
Step 2 is not about evaluating service providers. However, performing research on service providers will provide critical information about whether a service provider has already met the needs at hand, or whether the planning in Step 3 is truly breaking new ground.
Planners must look broadly to find service providers that have experiences that could relate to the needs being planned. In this task, planners look both internally and externally to the organization to find service providers that may offer services related to the needs at hand. The logic in this task is that prior to planning, it is important to understand the needs that have already been met by service providers, and how those needs have been met.
In more plain speak, planners are trying to determine if the wheel has already been invented, or if it needs to be invented. Planners are trying to avoid re-inventing the wheel during the detailed planning in Step 3. If, for instance, the organization at hand has needs associated with payroll, then perhaps external payroll service providers would be relevant to identify for engagement or outsourcing.
Planners must develop a list of potential service providers to engage including how those service providers are related to the needs at hand.
Research and select organizations and service providers to engage
Planners have a list of internal and external organizations and service providers but need to narrow this list to a manageable collection of organizations to engage. In this task, planners must research the organizations and service providers to more accurately prioritize the targets for engagement.
Planners must perform a qualitative analysis on each organization and service provider to determine relative applicability to the needs at hand. Additionally, planners must consider the accessibility of the organizations and service providers so that engagement can be reasonably assured to be feasible. Planners must present their list of prioritized target organizations and service providers to the sponsor, prior to beginning any form of engagement activity.
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Key to FEA Layers: S = Strategy, B = Business, D = Data, A = Application, I = Infrastructure, SP = Security