Change management: Prioritizing DLA resources amid digital transformation

As the DoD moves toward its goals of achieving Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness (FIAR), agencies like the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) are looking for strategies to align with DoD guidance and achieve a clean FIAR audit. But this is easier said than done. 

At its core, the DLA seeks to make investments that drive efficiency and effectiveness across a global scale. And while many DLA systems and processes have been modernized, there are still legacy and manual systems that need to be addressed. Some of these manual systems can even govern critical processes like resource tracking. Creating a common basis for decision-making is a challenge when agencies are operating under a network of separate legacy systems that need to be updated. The critical question that agencies like the DLA must answer is how they can prioritize what to transform without painting themselves into a corner or creating new issues with unintended consequences.

While the DLA is making great strides toward accomplishing its goal of a clean FIAR audit, it can still be a daunting task. Keep reading to learn how federal agencies like the DLA can prioritize what to transform without creating unintended consequences.

Identifying Areas for Change

One of the most valuable steps in any change management program is creating a future-state depiction of the organization that compares where the agency is currently at with where it wants to be. However, this is also one of the greatest potential pitfalls.

Federal agencies must be able to look past their current state in order to depict an entirely different reality that will help move the organization forward. But envisioning this future-state reality can be challenging if the team in charge of leading change management efforts has only ever operated in the federal space. This limited scope of experience can often lead to a failure of imagination that falls short of driving truly impactful change. Similarly, contracting an all-commercial consulting team to lead federal change management is challenging because commercial teams may not fully grasp the nuances and regulations under which federal agencies must operate.

Instead, federal agencies must strike a balance between commercial innovation and federal structure. When creating a future-state depiction, the goal is to conduct a gap analysis and corresponding education plan that identifies target areas of change and creates a roadmap for how the agency plans to get there. This exercise can also be used to develop a communication strategy for distributing the new change management procedures across the organization. However, in order to cement lasting change, it is critical that the agency secures stakeholder buy-in during the change management process. This helps ensure that people will adopt the new policies moving forward rather than resist them.

Creating change management policies that last

Change and communication are often two of the most challenging hurdles for federal agencies like the DLA to overcome. In part, this is due to the distributed nature of the DLA—each office has its own way of doing things that works for them. However, it’s also a consequence of time. When a process or procedure has been in place for an extended period, people become accustomed to operating within the limited confines of that guidance. But the key to achieving results is a combination of extraordinary personalities and extraordinary processes. 

Securing stakeholder alignment is one way to achieve personality-driven results, but process-driven results are often the result of real-time data and strong analytics. For example, the DLA can streamline day-to-day audit response activities through robotic process automation (RPA), ultimately reducing respond times to audit inquiries while freeing up manhours to dedicate to other mission priorities. This method can also be used to extract real-time business intelligence to inform better decision-making, which is especially important for the DLA due to the sheer scale of its operations.

Ultimately, as the world evolves and new challenges emerge, the DLA has an opportunity to evolve toward more effective and efficient ways of operating. With the help of strategic partnerships and new process innovations, the DLA will be better equipped to achieve clean FIAR audits and drive value for American taxpayers.

For more information on MDC’s recent DLA blanket purchase agreement (BPA), check out our press release.

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