What do you call a government that treats people like valued customers rather than numbers? How do you describe a formerly paper-laden bureaucracy that becomes a streamlined, well-run business? According to findings in a study by A.T. Kearney and the London School of Economics, both questions can be answered in one word: agile.
A.T. Kearney works with its public sector clients to make them more agile, more responsive to customers’ needs, and far less bureaucratic. We know that the same principles that work in business will work in government: Governments that are faster, more flexible, and more responsive (in short, more agile) will achieve better outcomes for their citizens.
The images of a gazelle shooting across a prairie or an Olympic gymnast twisting her body in mid-air provide a far more vivid picture of agility than a public-sector employee devising a new tax-filing system. But the benefits for all are clear: The gazelle escapes a predator, the gymnast wins the gold medal, and the government achieves better outcomes for its citizens.
Taxes are a good example. For most tax agencies, the challenge is twofold: how to make the agency help people who want to pay taxes do so more easily and quickly, and how to switch their employees from a policing function (chasing after tax evaders) to an advisory or customer service function to help tax payers.
The answer begins with a journey to the agile tax system: reduce complexity, improve customer service, promote online filing, and reconfigure the process. In the end, governments that integrate the strategy and principles of agility into their organizations will be positioned ahead of others on a path toward providing true public service.
Globalization and urbanization continue to fundamentally alter the way cities work. Growth means wider and more complex challenges to meet the needs of residents and businesses. This is as true for the mayor of a large urban metropolis as it is for a small town mayor suddenly attracting more people from rural areas.
Those who share in the day-to-day life of a city—residents, commuters, workers, tourists—have a variety of expectations, from the basic requirements of housing and security to the more intellectual desires of the arts, theater, and science. A city must be attractive to keep its citizens. It must have resources—financial, human, and cultural—to sustain growth, vibrancy, and success. In a world where people, capital, and information are increasingly mobile, circulating freely and easily across borders, the traditional ties that bind are all but gone. When conditions seem better elsewhere, they relocate.
A.T. Kearney understands that cities are complex organisms with conflicting requirements. We work closely with city leaders to plan a vision of the future that helps meet the needs of a diverse group of stakeholders. We identify what makes a municipality unique, what differentiates one city from the one 20 miles down the road, and then exploit those differences to their advantage.
A vision for the future is often simply the fusion of a well-articulated strategy with architecture of policies and projects that city leaders will support, fund, and promulgate to meet their long-term objectives. Our global team of experts sets out a forward vision. With a deep understanding of the fundamental strategies available and the knowledge of the impact that changes will have on citizens, our focus is on two domains: local urban networks and global economic networks. We help city leaders articulate their priorities, clarify the tradeoffs, and align today’s strategy with a vision of the future.
With the current global economic transformation and accompanying shifts in value chains to new locations, nations are increasingly looking to break with past traditions and realize economic sustainability. They seek mechanisms that ensure the current standard of living for their citizens can be retained and enhanced. A.T. Kearney’s work in developing innovative economic transformation strategies for countries—leveraging national resources—is key for achieving the right national economic outcomes.
We focus on developing local capabilities required to sustain the new economic landscape—in terms of both human capital and physical infrastructure. We work extensively with the economic entities as well as universities to ensure innovation continues to lead diversification efforts.
Our highly regarded international rankings, foreign direct investment studies, and benchmarking experience, along with a deep understanding of regional comparative advantages positions us uniquely to identify the critical industrial diversification targets, including value chain elements that need to be localized to sustain an industry and establish a sustainable and diversified economy.
Federal Departments and Programs
A.T. Kearney works with a variety of federal agencies around the world. We help our clients increase end-to-end visibility, drive out complexity, and reduce overall costs.
We are uniquely positioned to assist government clients with major opportunities, including the following:
Program Acquisition and Sustainment
Despite budget constraints, we have helped defense organizations reduce their program acquisition and sustainment costs without sacrificing mission readiness or operational availability while also improving end-to-end visibility, driving out complexity, and reducing overall costs.
Supply Chain and Sourcing
Understanding supply chain costs is crucial to improving performance and balancing the risks across prime and sub-contractors. Our work with government agencies includes cost-effective approaches to asset maintenance and recapitalizing aging and obsolete assets.
A.T. Kearney has significant experience managing and reducing the complexity of large-scale programs. In addition to process optimization, we help agencies upgrade and retain human capital to meet today’s changing and increasingly demanding needs.
We advise our government clients on ways to improve the focus and precision of their risk management processes so that their leaders can better identify, analyze, understand, and manage the cost and impact of their program spending. By taking a preemptive approach to managing risk, our clients curtail those costly budget and schedule overruns before they happen.
More than ever, leaders and taxpayers are asking their governments to do more while spending less. Despite the constraints, federal agencies can improve and thrive.