Taking local governments from Performance Management to Strategy Management


Performance management systems are becoming more important to local governments across the country. This is true for several reasons.

  • Citizens are calling for a more accurate accounting of how their tax monies are being spent.
  • Local government revenues have not been growing as much as in the past and, in some cases, declining.
  • Citizens are demanding better service delivery at lower costs.
  • There is a general demand for more transparency in the activities and decisions of local government.

The result has been increased interest by local government managers in better understanding how their organizations and employees are performing.

Performance management systems are organized around developing Key Performance Indicators (KPI) related to various public services. For example, the number of tons of solid waste collected, tons collected per collection route, number of Part I Crimes solved, percentage of crimes committed that are solved, etc. In addition, performance management systems trackKPIs over time to identify trends in the various service areas and look at improvement over time with additional resources or new programs.  These systems allow local governments to see how the organization is performing over time and make better decisions about the allocation of resources.

But these systems can be difficult to sustain across an organization. The key to creating and maintaining them, and applying them to all services, is to have the right technology. Data management and analytics can integrate data from all applications systems (Computer Aided Dispatch, Records Management Systems, Work Order Systems, Financial Systems, PC based data, etc.) and track these data sources over time, identify trends in performance, and predict patterns of future performance.

The next step is for local governments to translate performance management into strategy management. This requires the organization to relate the data gained from enterprise wide performance management to the overall strategies of the community.  For example, if a community has an overall public safety strategy to become the safest city in the state with a population over 100k, do all of the public safety KPIs and goals and objectives fit that that strategy and how are they performing? The only way to be able to map the KPIs, goals and objectives to the overall strategies is through the use of technology designed to identify and track all of the data and to relate the appropriate data to the appropriate strategy.

The progression from performance management to strategy management moves a community closer to reaching their goals, not just collecting data that verifies the water is still running and the lights are still on.


About Author

Bill Coleman

Advisory Industry Consultant

Bill Coleman works with SAS local government customers across the US to understand best practices and solutions. Coleman applies his more than 30 years of experience as a senior leader in city and local government to guide SAS product and marketing management. From 1994 to 2008, he served as Town Manager of Cary, NC, the seventh-largest municipality in the state with a population exceeding 130,000. Coleman was responsible for planning, organizing and directing municipal operations, which included more than 1,000 employees and 11 departments providing a full range of municipal services. Under his leadership, Cary was the first municipality in North Carolina to work on performance enhancement system. The system was designed to help the town maintain its high quality of life by improving resource allocation and operational efficiencies throughout town government, beginning with the areas of public safety and development services.

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