The support of the IT sector at the state level and the introduction of advanced technologies in various areas significantly accelerate the development of digital infrastructure. Successful cases from countries with a high level of support for IT initiatives, such as Estonia and Singapore, have already proven this. Therefore, it is not surprising that software development for government agencies is in great demand. However, many IT companies, guided by various stereotypes, doubt whether to work with the public sector. We decided to dispel these myths and share our experience of developing software for the government sector.
IdeaSoft and SoftLakeSprite experience
Over the past year, Ukrainian IT companies IdeaSoft and SoftLakeSprite have implemented two projects for the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine. In June 2020, IdeaSoft won a tender for the development of additional features for the portal of state-owned enterprises of Ukraine called ProZvit. The tender was carried out by the public organization Transparency International Ukraine. The organization regularly publishes information on new tenders with clear requirements for filing applications on the website. The selection criteria are also completely transparent. For example, in our case, the organizers of the tender took into account the experience of creating analytics and data visualization modules, as well as the cost of development services. As you can see, the criteria are the same as when choosing a development team for any commercial project. Anyone can find the results by the number of points scored by each tender participant on the Transparency International Ukraine website.
We collected all the necessary documents and applied for the tender, as we were interested in a new experience. The review of commercial applications did not exceed the specified time and soon we received an email notifying us that we won the tender. IdeaSoft's experience was fully relevant to the project requirements, and we also enlisted the support of SoftLakeSprite. The company has excellent expertise in working with data, as it specializes in the development of ERP systems for industrial enterprises in the engineering industry. Work on the project began immediately after the signing of the contract. We communicated with the manager from the Reform Support Team (RST) at the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine.
The process of interacting with a public sector client is not much different from working with a commercial client. In the same way, you get the requirements, the necessary access, and get to work. If you are accustomed to timely delivery of projects, ensuring safety standards at all stages of development, then building government software will be an interesting project for you, where you can apply your best practices.
Work on additional modules for the ProZvit portal went according to plan. We completed the project on time. The portal is a public website with visualization of the financial results of all state-owned enterprises in Ukraine and an assessment of the effectiveness of management entities. The source of information for the portal is the database of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade with the financial results of all state enterprises and open data of state institutions.
IdeaSoft and SoftLakeSprite have successfully implemented several add-on modules, expanding the functionality of the portal. For example, we created a map of state-owned enterprises, ensured clickability of statistical data displayed on the portal, and implemented a system of financial risk indicators to identify the effectiveness of the portal. Updated logic implies automatic calculation of a coefficient showing the level of the financial performance of an enterprise based on financial reporting data. For each enterprise, 18 financial indicators are calculated. On the basis of 8 out of 18 coefficients, an integral indicator of the enterprise performance is calculated. As a result, an enterprise is assigned a “green”, “yellow” or “red” zone.
At the end of last year, the Reform Support Team of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine, together with Transparency International Ukraine, with the support of UNDP in Ukraine, successfully presented the updated functionality of the portal.
After the release of the updated portal, we continued working with the public sector and are now working on the second project. This is the development of a performance management system for one of the Ministries. The system is designed to ensure high-quality interaction between the head of the department and the team and ensure the implementation of KPIs (key performance indicators). With the help of the system, the manager can see the tasks assigned to each employee and understand the workload of each employee. The system helps automate the process of monitoring the implementation of the strategic plan, including control and organization of the implementation of strategic and operational tasks.
We used the world's best practices in performance and personnel management to build the functionality of the system. Thus, the following principles were included in the logic of the system:
- visualization of the connection between the tasks of a particular person and the big goals of the Ministry, providing motivation and understanding of the role and responsibility of each employee;
- the use of the system when conducting a performance review of managers with their teams;
- retaining comments throughout the year and using factual information in the annual evaluation, which helps to speed up and facilitate the process of evaluating effectiveness.
The system is currently in a testing phase. After the official launch, we will tell you more about this case.
As a final point
Speaking from personal experience, the implementation of IT projects for the public sector is an excellent opportunity to get new expertise and a new case in your portfolio. In Ukraine, every IT company can take part in a tender and get the opportunity to develop software for the government. You should not abandon such projects, guided by stereotypical ideas about lack of funding, lengthy development processes, and the like. You may have to work with complex tasks within certain restrictions or you may need additional certifications in terms of security, but these are specificities of the industry. Also, software for the public sector should have increased performance and resilience to failures. All these are very interesting challenges for a development team, and such experience can become a huge plus for a company's internal expertise.