terms—more and better results, increased responsiveness and agility, and improved efficiency of operations. Maximizing the return on a major IT investment thus requires an intimate and dynamic interplay between the technology and an organization’s operational strategy, and so this report begins its discussion from the operational and strategy side.
Information technology most effectively facilitates the “business” and “operations” of organizations when it is explicitly designed to do so, whether the organizations are profit-and-loss enterprises, not-for-profit private organizations, or government agencies. Such design requires careful specification of objectives, strategies for achieving objectives, and the processes by which strategies are realized. Effective management also requires that a set of measures of success be defined and tracked, using both outcome and process metrics. This report makes frequent use of the term “operational processes” to refer to the processes used within the FBI to accomplish its missions. (Some might prefer the term “business processes”; the meaning is the same.)
The committee views the FBI as being engaged in a number of important operational pursuits that are tantamount to enterprise business objectives, even though those operational pursuits do not have profit-making goals. Thus, the FBI should engage in cost-effectiveness analyses corresponding to cost-benefit analyses in commercial enterprises that will aim to increase the return in improved operational effectiveness and efficiency that U.S. taxpayers rightly expect for bureau expenditures.
In general, organizations must develop their own metrics to quantify their objectives. Among the purposes of doing so are to be able to determine the extent to which a given investment will help an organization better achieve those objectives, and to retrospectively track the returns on such investments. The committee recognizes that the ultimate goal of the FBI is the prevention of undesirable events, and in this context, meaningful quantification of that goal can be problematic. Nevertheless, it is desirable and almost always possible to establish reasonable intermediate quantifiable objectives that bear on operational efficiency, subject to the understanding that these measures reflect the underlying processes and do not become goals in and of themselves.
The committee believes that many management approaches, tools, and best practices from the commercial sector are applicable to the FBI, just as they are to the Department of Defense and other government enterprises. Many of the observations and recommendations in this report are the result of the committee’s assessment of the FBI’s current approach compared with successful approaches seen by committee members in both the for-profit and the not-for-profit sectors.
The nature of an organization’s missions and its strategy and operational objectives are the primary drivers of the kinds of information and communication it needs and the processes it must exploit. These needs in turn determine the architecture, design, and functioning of its IT systems.
According to the FBI, its mission is “to uphold the law through the investigation of violations of federal criminal law; to protect the United States from foreign intelligence and terrorist activities; to provide leadership and law enforcement assistance to federal, state, local, and