Back in November, we covered the effect of the Federal spending freezes on the delivery of services, and especially the need for government departments to do more with less and the impact on vendor margins. With the flurry of executive orders from President Trump, the hiring freeze presages a Federal government Ice Age and a great deal of disruption.

The only exceptions to the hiring freeze are the military, national security, and public safety personnel.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released advisory notes and instructions for agencies to implement immediately. As of January 22, no new jobs can be advertised, nor can any current vacancies be filled, though what is going to happen to recent hires who have not yet reported for work is unclear.

The Federal government is clearly facing a ‘bigly’ disruptive force, as President Trump looks to deliver on his campaign promises.

With disruption comes a great deal of opportunity as Federal government as a whole and individual entities are shaken up, from the Department of State (which saw its senior leadership resign en masse this week) through to the National Park Service and its Twitter accounts going rogue.

So, before the hiring freeze we had increasingly constrained budgets for Federal government acquisitions, but now there will also be fewer people to get the work that needs to be done completed.

Additionally, there is also going to be a loss of institutional memory, as people with experience and understanding of how things work get done exit the organization and are not replaced.

For those with private sector experience, it will come as no surprise that the Trump Administration will also be looking to institute performance metrics to demonstrate improving “shareholder value”. The Trump administration seems to be cutting a very straight path to making good on election promises to cut “Big Government” or “Drain the Swamp”. That means agencies can expect to be asked to demonstrate increasing performance, measurable results, and justify their existence down to very granular levels, or face further reductions in budget allocations or even the axe.

The time and environment is now ripe for a new and innovative approach to how government governs the work it is tasked to do, and the good news is that the technology exists today to move government agencies forward and demonstrate the value they deliver.

Lean BPM for Lean Government

HighGear is a home-grown, American solution to organizing work and providing visibility and accountability into who is doing what, when it needs to get done by, and maintaining all of the knowledge gained from work in a current, secure, and accessible state.

HighGear has pioneered the Lean BPM concept, and devoted over 100 man years to the development of a mature business process management toolkit which is already in use by the US Marines, Food & Drug Administration, NASA, and other federal and state agencies (HighGear is also on the GSA).

HighGear’s Lean BPM software includes a comprehensive and growing list of tools:

HighGear is a proven solution for creating value for tax payer dollars, which are likely to be in increasingly short supply (tax cuts are certainly on the agenda, even though these have not made center stage as yet).

HighGear allows management to lay down ‘guard rails’ that keep knowledge workers on point and on mission, by ensuring that they remain in compliance with regulations, policies, and procedures, but without the time waste associated with endless checking of the rules. Instead, the HighGear Lean BPM platform does this for them, thereby helping to preserve institutional memory and breaking the dependency on key individuals.

Automated reporting wipes out the time cost of gathering information and creating the report presentation. Instead, HighGear allows custom reports to be created, providing information in a way that recipients want it presented, and because all of the information is organized in one platform and updated almost in real-time, reports are always delivering timely and actionable insights. In addition, reports can be scheduled to go out on a user-set schedule, or instantly run on an ad hoc basis as required with the click of a mouse. Security is also paramount, with only that information disclosed to report recipients who have the security clearance to receive it within HighGear.

Secure, Cost Effective, and Agile: How Lean BPM Gets More Done with Less

HighGear acts as a digital asset library and repository, storing everything associated and relevant to whatever work processes and tasks are run through it. Security is baked into the platform, so only those users with permission to access information and work can do so (no more checking on a celebrity’s passport application, or sneaky checking on a tax return for instance).

At the same time, collaboration tools, such as Conversations, foster and promote team cooperation while keeping everyone focused on the goals they must individually and collectively meet.

An audit trail keeps a log of every keystroke and action on the work platform, so there is never any doubt as to who did what and when. Full accountability and work transparency is achieved, but while this may seem Orwellian, the practical reality is very different. Now everyone, from the individual level, through to work groups, teams, departments, bureaus, and agency levels can demonstrate their performance and back this with hard undisputable facts.

There is no more wishful thinking or conversations along the lines of, “I feel we are busy and need more resources”, but instead very solid statements such as, “We did 22% more permit completions last year, and with a 10% increase in our budget we can deliver an additional 25%, and here are the reports from HighGear that back this up.” HighGear gives people the facts about performance, and how they manage resources, processes, and people to deliver value. This visibility encourages action to make improvements as to how work gets done, but also demonstrates the value which is being created with allocated tax dollars.

Lean BPM looks to deliver a business process management platform that workers and executives can use effectively, without specialist code skills, and without the expensive third-party management consultants such as Cap Gemini, Accenture or Deloitte.

Lean BPM is also truly agile, without introducing instability and insecurity which speeding up operations and processes typically creates.

There is no additional burden on overstretched IT teams because the users themselves wield the platform, albeit within an IT-sanctioned environment. The role of IT is typically restricted to standing up a server for HighGear to operate from, but unless there is heavy system integration work on deployment, there is no need to increase the burden on IT to deploy or support the tool.

Lean BPM for Lean Budgets and Less Tax Dollars

“This solution does everything I am looking for, but my concern is that HighGear will cost more than my budget?”
Our philosophy is that we should only be charging for use of HighGear where it is actually delivering value, i.e. where the work is being done.

Anyone can have a HighGear account, from an employee, vendor, external stakeholder, or even a member of the public.

There is no cost associated with this – all of these people can use HighGear for free.

HighGear’s licensing model requires only those users who are assigned 6 or more open tasks within the system to be licensed.

This means that only those people who are doing the work need to be licensed.

If someone simply allocates work to others, they do not need to be licensed.

If someone is an occasional user of the platform, receiving a minimal number of tasks (five or fewer) then they do not need to be licensed either.

This licensing model, and the ease and speed with which HighGear can be deployed means you are able to capture increasing value from deploying the platform.

The simplicity with which HighGear can be configured and customized to how you get work done also saves a great deal of time and money too. In fact, your own people will be the ones who design and implement workflows and business processes within HighGear itself, which eliminates the cost and time associated with traditional BPM deployments managed by expensive management consultants with no guarantee of success or the delivery of a solution actually needed or wanted by staff.

The bottom line is that HighGear costs around 25% compared to traditional platforms provided by Oracle, IBM, Pegasystems, both in initial cost and throughout life of the solution.


Doing more with less is not an alternative fact, but a cold reality.

Lean BPM is a tried and proven solution for government and businesses alike to organize work, improve processes, and manage and demonstrate performance almost in real-time.

HighGear delivers value for taxpayer dollars in a visible and exceptionally fast manner, but also in a way that staff grow to rely upon and enjoy working with.

HighGear is on the GSA and costs around 25-30% of a traditional solution.

HighGear is 100% American, born and raised in Frederick, MD, where our development team, Professional Services, training and support are based, serving customers across the US and around the world.

About Vaughn Thurman, CEO

Vaughn is HighGear’s founder and CEO, leading his team with passion and commitment to help customers streamline their operations. His pursuit of technical excellence is rooted in HighGear’s DNA and is the reason for its ongoing success.
With over 30 years of experience in enterprise technology, Vaughn has the knowledge and expertise needed to help companies drive better business practices. His dedication to superior customer service also ensures that HighGear’s platform remains focused on value creation and ease-of-use for everyday business users.
He is an active supporter and volunteer for various community charities, including the Frederick Rescue Mission. He’s a proud husband to his wife, Elizabeth, and a dedicated father to his six children. In his free time, Vaughn enjoys spending time in the great outdoors, and working on his farm in the Frederick area.

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