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Department of Corrections Reduces Costs, Increases Efficiencies


When a southeastern state’s Department of Corrections asked Deloitte Consulting LLP to review its information technology (IT) operations and identify ways to reduce costs, increase staff efficiency and maximize return on investment, it found that moving forward actually required taking a step back. By taking a broader view of the organization, the state and Deloitte Consulting together were able to make changes to help meet the department’s technology objectives today and into the future.

The Challenge

The Department of Corrections was running a complex correctional management system on an old mainframe. It wanted to develop modern, efficient and effective IT systems and asked Deloitte Consulting to help it and its Office of Information Technology (OIT). An upcoming move to another city complicated the effort, as some employees would make the move while others would stay in the existing location.

How We Helped

The department engaged Deloitte Consulting to conduct the following strategic assessments:

  • IT assessment
  • Business process reengineering
  • Systems migration
  • Build vs. buy

The OIT attempted to provide as many services as possible with limited resources and insufficient systems. The department team would pursue tactical initiatives to improve its infrastructure, but often took blame when business decisions or other matters out of its control went awry. It was clear that the OIT could not fulfill its obligations to the department unless enterprise-wide changes were made – changes that would establish the Department of Correction’s business strategies and priorities, and measure them against available resources. Deloitte Consulting recommended it:

  • Establish an IT governance structure. A structured IT governance group would help the department set its overall business direction and vision, prioritize the group’s work portfolio and ensure that key activities were aligned with the department’s organizational strategy.
  • Create a Portfolio Management Office (PMO). Establishing a PMO focused on the department’s initiatives would help the department develop its plans around its functional, technical and human capital (talent management) needs as it began preparations for the move.

Deloitte Consulting also examined 15 business processes, which resulted in 87 recommendations for improvement. Among the common themes:

  • Improving staff productivity and overall workflow
  • Reducing the number of paper records
  • Eliminating redundant tasks
  • Enhancing statistical reporting capabilities
  • Improving the sharing of information within the Department of Corrections and between the department and other agencies

The department’s legacy corrections management system provided an offender-based view of business processes, produced reports, had a repeatable security model and had documented testing and change management processes. However, Deloitte Consulting also identified a number of improvement opportunities that would enable the system to serve the department well into the future, including:

  • Improving system documentation
  • Preventing security vulnerabilities
  • Standardizing data management processes
  • Reducing/eliminating manual processes
  • Adhering to leading practices

The department also sought to move its Food and Farm application to Java, as the system was not supporting its growing business needs. While the state had approved the funding to move the system, no plan had been created to facilitate the transition. Deloitte Consulting recommended that the department rely on its IT governance structure and PMO to address concerns related to cost, time, people and implementation complexity, as well as promote a successful migration.

Finally, Deloitte Consulting conducted a high-level assessment of build vs. buy options by comparing each option against its benefits, drawbacks, critical success factors and implementation considerations. The assessment determined that the department should continue to work with its existing system, and that by incorporating Deloitte Consulting’s recommended improvements, the system would continue to address the department’s needs and provide a feasible implementation strategy.


The most valuable lesson learned from this project was the recognition of the need for enterprise-wide change. The department’s lack of an IT governance structure or PMO was preventing the OIT from identifying and prioritizing the needs of the organization. Without this clear leadership and direction from the top, the OIT would not have the resources to meet its objective of establishing modern and efficient IT systems. Deloitte Consulting’s ability to step back and take a holistic approach to this organization’s needs offered the department an opportunity to meet objectives today and into the future.

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