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In response to legislative change, an agency establishes a new IT-enabled organization and operating model

By defining a business vision and the technologies to support that vision, a government agency was able to fulfill its new legislative responsibilities while spurring greater collaboration between its business and IT units.

Challenge

Following the passage of the Affordable Care Act, a government agency sought to understand the business implications of the new legislation and to implement the necessary changes. Agency leadership needed help understanding the full scope of the agency’s responsibilities under the new law and defining the necessary technology strategy and road map to fulfill those responsibilities. The client turned to McKinsey for support.

Discovery

First, we helped the client understand the business implications of the new legislation. To define the agency’s business approach to the legislative changes and implications, we led the client through a series of structured visioning workshops. Working closely with 30 participants from five different business units, each responsible for unique elements of the legislation, we helped outline the agency’s future business operations step-by-step.

We then helped the client define the technologies to support the new business strategy: we identified the IT projects that would enable the legislation and the program management and governance structures to support them. Furthermore, we helped develop detailed cost estimates, project timelines, and resource requirements, as well as an action plan and implementation road map for the IT program.

Over the course of a year, we worked closely with the client to implement key elements of the IT program, including the technical architecture and contingency plans. We helped troubleshoot stalled subprojects, provided ongoing guidance to the IT program leadership, and lent our expertise to resolve critical issues. All the while, we helped the client build its capabilities—for example, by training more than 100 agency staff members on the legislation and by co-creating a new agile software development approach that promotes close collaboration between the business and IT units.

Impact

To date, the client has successfully implemented all legislative provisions on time. Business and IT teams are working more collaboratively than ever before, with one senior agency leader remarking, “Teams are making progress faster than I’ve ever seen in this agency.” Some initiatives will take four or five years to implement fully, but the first audit of the IT program conducted by an independent government entity yielded highly positive results. The program is on schedule, with major new systems set to go live within 12 months.

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