The United States Forest Service (USFS), like many organizations, has been living through a dynamic and disruptive technological and business cycle that has impacted historically stable organization operating models. In order to accomplish their missions, USFS entities should collaborate and implement the Information Resources (IR) Strategic Framework, the Inventory, Monitoring and Assessment (IM&A) and Geospatial Strategies and other information management improvement efforts. Successful implementation of these strategies requires the development and use of processes and standards. Also, development of protocols as well as geospatial and other technologies, products and services.

From 2015 to 2016, Xentity was enlisted by the USFS to help develop and implement organization and operational improvements by clarifying roles, responsibilities and relationships among several key staff (i.e., Natural Resource Manager (NRM), Chief Information Office (CIO), Geographic Information Officer (GIO) and Ecosystem Management Coordination-Resource Information Group (EMC-RIG)). Through our efforts, we have seen the normalization of collaborative activities. Also, improved support, improved communications, increased effectiveness, and created efficiencies between USFS organizations. 

Acting As The Planner And Middleman

Sometimes, organizations go through a dynamic and disruptive technological and business cycle. When that happens, it becomes important for the entities within that organization to collaborate to achieve their mission goals. The pressure to produce more with less, design for the long term, adapt now, and turn around requests quickly all while keeping the lights on is increasing. This can be especially frustrating and damaging to organizational motivation. After all, the affected staff are earnestly attempting to enrich the enterprise by provisioning greater capacity or making assets shareable. The loss of workforce potential from false starts and miscommunications is significant and dampens productivity.

This is especially crucial for such a massive organization such as the USFS. Therefore, the USFS recognized the need to step back and implement new strategies to deal with these new challenges. Xentity was contracted to develop an improved way for the NRM, CIO, GIO and IMA to work together more effectively. To do this, Xentity had to develop a strategy that would clarify roles, responsibilities and relationships among several staffs.

The Solution

To accomplish this task, Xentity had to act as something of a middleman between several entities within the USFS. Central to this task was to define elements and aspects of the IM&A strategy and communicate them to each group, to recognize who the stakeholders are, know how to engage them, what the workflows are, and what the actual IM&A effort entailed. In other words, get back some of that lost workforce potential. And dot his by implementing a strategy of better communication between entities within the USFS.

To better help with communication, Xentity prepared an operating model detailing how the organizations should communicate, along with a roles and responsibilities (R&R) document to address all roles and functions each staff take part in. Another important aspect of this engagement was addressing geospatial data, analysis, data management, and processing functions among the groups. This way, Xentity had a better understanding of the R&R between each organization within the USFS. 

A Better Group Dynamic

Xentity reached the desired outcome for the USFS with the development and implementation of IM&A processes, standards, protocols, geospatial and other technologies to implement the IR, Strategic Framework, IM&A and Geospatial Strategies. Through our efforts, we have seen the normalization of collaborative activities. We also saw improved support, improved communications, increased effectiveness, and created efficiencies between USFS organizations. With USFS organizations facing improvement in how they collaborate, we expect to see improvements in productivity. This will create a more efficient and effective government agency.