$50 billion in savings could come from digitzing antiquated processes. With modernizers champing at the bit, the days of paper-based forms are numbered. As they disappear, the workflow underpinning them will be tightened up, self-service will flourish, and inefficiencies will be driven out of the system.
There are other no-brainers in the report. Reducing IT's energy use is one, bringing a 25% energy saving. Better project management and real-time course correction (which brings agile software development techniques to general project management) is another. These are all measures that the private sector should be leading in. But there are other, more subtle, suggestions that require attention.
Significantly, the Technology CEO Council identified massive savings in the use of analytics. The US government could save $200 billion by crunching numbers to identify and stamp out fraud, the report said. And with 14,000 excess buildings and 55,000 under-used ones, it could also consolidate and monetize its assets, saving a further $150 billion by 2020.
These are areas that could also bring huge benefits to many businesses. While some (financial services, for example) would benefit more from stamping out fraud than others (say, manufacturing), all businesses could recover money from the judicious use of analytics, and many could crunch numbers to help increase top-line revenues. Innovation in areas such as predictive analytics can help companies to chart future directions, plan new products and service lines, and take better advantage of the economic recovery.
And better monetization of existing assets is a process that not enough businesses are exploring. Technology can help here in unprecedented ways. For example, the use of telecommuting, flexible working times, and hot-desking can enable companies to dramatically reduce the amount of physical working space required. Perhaps the clearest saving on the balance sheet could be the elimination of a single floor from a rented building space, for example. The report also suggests moving some agencies to an income structure based on the fees that they collect, essentially turning them into revenue generators, rather than cost centers. This resonates with CIOs who talk about a services culture in IT, in which IT services are chargeable to the rest of the organization.
Finally, the use of shared services for key processes such as HR, IT, finance, and procurement could save $50 billion, suggests the report.