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A CEO for Mumbai?

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There is a discussion on a strong need for a CEO for Mumbai.  Let’s assume that very soon Mumbai shall have its own CEO.   What shall be the person’s role?  How he/she will drive the city?  What all resources he/she shall require to do so?

The Mumbai CEO would be a leader with power and authority to act, and seen to be taking up tasks.  The CEO would be chosen by the people, and would be removed by them.  The CEO will be accountable to the people he’s supposed to serve. An empowered CEO would be guided by a council of specialists, including one member from each government agency such as MMRDA, MHADA, Mumbai Police, BEST, MSRTC and NGOs.  He would be authroised to seek reports from such different authorities.

At the worst of times, when everything goes into paralysis like it happened, disastrously, in July 2005 when there is the lack of power, water, relief, etc, Mumbai CEO will be the most of ‘a trusted face’, the Person In Charge.

How will the Mumbai CEO to be, run the city’s municipal operations efficiently, effectively and economically? If given a chance, Mumbai CEO shall have highly diversified tasks in terms of measuring the performance of the services delivered by various government entities, and there is lot of data available to be analyzes & assessed that shall help him take informed decision.

In the last decade or so, Mumbai has grown substantially in terms of population, infrastructure, and economy.  Use of performance measurement systems to evaluate how well their operating agencies perform shall be critical for the CEO of any modern city today.  The diversity of services, practices and cultures inherent in municipal government complicates efforts to get data on time for taking right decisions. Each operational unit normally has its own idiosyncratic view of an optimal mix of business process, customer relations and human resource practices.  CEO of Mumbai shall require a Municipal performance measures which are more federalist in structure than the ‘single business line’ approach most often used in private industry.

CEO of Mumbai shall enter office with a promise to improve city’s municipal operations and it’s connection to the public. A team thus will be needed to develop and put together the “Mumbai CEO Dashboard” to track performance of the city’s operating units and make recommendations for improvements. It will help the CEO operate the city more efficiently by moving the focus of city services to outcomes. Just as critical, it shall help CEO make city operations transparent and accountable, which will further improve public perception of the city in showing verifiable, successful results.

A CEO Dashboard would presumably start with measures of performance: overall growth and its sectorial breakdown, plus infrastructure, economy and the like. Trade, industry, population and employment would also be significant indicators. Of course, such measures are available in the various governmental surveys, and various other statistical compilations. How would our hypothetical dashboard data be different? First, they would be more up-to-date and reliable. Second, they would be compiled from the ground up, allowing our ‘CEO‘ immediate access to the disaggregated source data.

Suppose manufacturing growth is looking anemic—let’s find out which sectors are worst off, and even whether specific firms are struggling. Even better, one could see how the head office—in this case, the civic bodies that are supposed to put governance into practice—is doing in coordinating and supporting the different parts of the organization. Where is the money coming from, where it is being spent, and does it make a difference? Are those big fiscal deficits worth it, in terms of the bottom line, or do they represent a black hole, swallowing money without leaving any trace?

The success of the Mumbai CEO shall depend on a good dashboard.  Structural reforms of the internal organization of civic bodies will make dashboards possible as well as productive. When one focuses sufficiently, the dashboard idea becomes less fanciful.  Disaster Recovery Plans dashboard might be a place to start, accompanied by a restructuring of the process of plan formulation, transfers and implementation. If Oracle CEO Larry Ellison can track 20,000 salespeople, tracking Mumbai city is in the realm of the possible. This may sound just like Chandrababu Naidu redux, but that should not be an argument against it—how well it is done is the key.

Much of that exercise will involve policy changes that will please some but  not others.  It is heartening that more and more policymakers in India understand how to shape economic policies that favor growth and development. The weak spot remains expenditure quality and policy implementation. Restructuring civic incentives, based on improved information flows, will go a long way towards tackling this weakness. That is what corporate dashboards are about. Mumbai CEO can use them too. He can choose to be efficient. It can seriously put its world-class IT industry to work, to make that happen.

The CEO’s team shall include senior managers of city departments, a program manager and IT specialist. The CEO Dashboard will help reinvent the word mayor.  CEO Dashboard shall help convert public & city related data into Public Decisions.  Dashboard will be additional tool to help Mumbai CEO,buildstrategies for Mumbai to focus on citizen-centric government.

Practically, without the availability of right data at the right time through the Dashboard like presentation layers, Mumbai CEO cannot perform and would be a burden on the city.

Mumbai today faces a yawning deficit, neglected operations, low morale and lacks any valuable management or operational data. For example, after Public Works management estimated 587 potholes in need of repair, the mayor’s ‘Pot Hole Posse’ that was dispatched to fill them found 3,606 in the first three months.

Mumbai CEO shall have highly diversified tasks in terms of measuring the performance of the services delivered by various government entities

In another example that happened with the outgoing administration, ‘only 33 out of 8,000 employees had been rated less than ‘effective’ on their personal evaluations, meaning that neither departmental nor individual performance was being seriously evaluated.

Mumbai CEO shall work on a set of principles:
• We serve citizens, and we care about the outcomes they experience.
• We will be open and transparent.
• We will be effective and efficient.

The centerpiece of the city’s pursuit of these principles would be the new performance measurement system. Its objectives would include providing timely and accurate information on the state of city services and operations; providing management with operating targets and a means to track progress to increase management accountability; and providing a public window into the city’s operating environment to regain public confidence in the city’s competence.

Building Public Performance Measures

There are three major challenges to build municipal performance measures versus those for private business. First, local government operations cannot be summarized in a single financial metric; unlike in business, profitability is not a common bottom-line denominator in public services. Second, local governments lack a unified culture; they do not provide a single line of service. ‘Police units have a military culture … Planning departments have a culture akin to an academic institution … Public works functions more like a manufacturing operation. And third, government information is public, which raises issues the private sector can avoid.

While starting to construct Mumbai’s new performance management system, the new-age Mumbai team should begin by asking, ‘What do citizens of Mumbai care about in regards to their local government?’

The team shall have to first identify underlying citizen concerns—their ownership of city services as taxpayers and their role as ‘customers’ of these services—the team will have to create an approach for defining outcomes for the new system that will reflect either effectiveness or efficiency. It will have to trim a potentially endless inventory of measures by tying criteria for the system to the mayor’s four key ‘strategic pillars’:

• Improve public safety
• Improve public infrastructure
• Improve efficiency and effectiveness of city services
• Create financial stability

The performance scorecard that will emerge from this process will be largely outcome focused. The team will have to wary of imposing an operational philosophy. “Let managers manage.”  At the end of the day, citizens do not care whether crime is down because training has been increased, or more officers are on the beat, or technology improvements have been made. It is the outcome that matters.

Also recognizing that the nature of municipal operations inhibits the value of financial measures in assessing success, ‘Citizen Satisfaction Survey’ to measure the public’s perception of these outcomes is suggested.  This approach represents a huge leap in municipal governance: Being held accountable for citizen perceptions is very different from being accountable for executing a business process.

Although the Dashboard is one of several municipal management initiatives, the similarities and differences relative to those other systems warrant discussion to provide some perspective on the significance and value of the City’s approach.  Although no system is likely to fit without some adaptation many cities seem likely to have similar needs that shall drive officials to develop the Dashboard.  In the end, “the CEO Dashboard should make CEO of the Mumbai City more accountable and responsive to its constituents, and serve as an interesting model for other cities.

A city as large as Mumbai certainly has a large task ahead of it when it comes to reporting performance. Of course, city officials can produce key performance metrics (KPIs), that’s not the problem. In fact, thousands of such metrics flood the city management offices every day. The challenge is how to organize the data into a meaningful presentation suitable for public consumption and understanding.

The integrated performance-related statistics from city’s different organizations shall help Mumbai CEO make smarter decisions by giving them fast access to information about the public’s demands and agency performance.  Using these dashboards, Mumbai CEO can anticipate emerging issues and respond more quickly to problems, such as noise pollution complaints.

BI and Analytics – defined as the extensive use of data, statistical and quantitative analysis and fact-based management help drive decisions and actions – to improve the delivery and performance of public services. Sophisticated analytics are rapidly finding applications in areas such as tax revenue collection, postal services, fraud detection, public safety, and health and human services. Local and regional municipalities, as well as the government, are increasingly adopting analytics. They are as constructive in public service as they are in the commercial sector, where companies have long used analytics as a competitive weapon.

Government agencies can access substantially more data, not only from publicly available sources, such as the Internet, but also from their own systems and those of other organizations. Many agencies are now more capable of capturing clean, integrated and timely transaction data. The data comes from more sources through a wider range of channels – from traffic cameras and under-highway sensors to e-mails and mobile communications handsets. And it’s proliferating at staggering rates.

Organisations also have software and hardware that can better capture, store, distribute and interpret data. There is more processing power on desktops and in data centers. And real-time business intelligence (BI) software, in which automated decision-making systems are embedded in business processes, is rapidly gaining ground.

There’s also more demand for sharper insights and better ways of gathering and interpreting data to inform decision-making. A generation of technology-literate and data-savvy managers is one reason for that demand, which also stems from external factors, like the war on terrorism.

No doubt, that government and other public-sector organizations, much like their commercial counterparts, are looking for bigger benefits from their enterprise systems. Those that substantially outperform competitors over the long term and across economic, industry and leadership cycles – are more likely to value fact-based decision-making and to have the skills and capabilities to effectively use analytics. They are twice as likely to use analytics strategically compared with the overall sample and five times more likely to do so than low performers.

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