Pyramid with 5 levels of DAMM Maturity

The Digital Accessibility Maturity Model: Dimension #5 – Fiscal Management

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Written by: Sheri Byrne-Haber

In my last post in the Digital Accessibility Maturity Model (DAMM) Series I detailed the Regulatory Dimension of DAMM.  In this post I’ll discuss the Fiscal Management Dimension, the aspects and artifacts associated with this dimension, and what each of the five maturity levels looks like for the this Dimension. (DAMM Definitions and Acronyms)

The Fiscal Management Dimension defines the core maturity an organization has in analyzing and implementing accessibility investments. This includes a clearly defined model for understanding the return on investment (RoI) associated with accessibility. The development of such a model ensures the organization understands and has quantified the accessibility business drivers.

Aspects

  • Budget – The level of maturity of the budgeting process associated with accessibility. This includes both a specific budget for an Accessibility Program Office and Line of Business (LoB) budgets to support accessibility implementation.
  • RoI – The level of maturity associated with analyzing accessibility investments and the degree to which accessibility investments are subject to Return on Investment analysis. This includes the degree to which legal, regulatory and legal settlement accessibility requirements are understood and incorporated into RoI calculations

Artifacts

  • Budget – A well defined, multi-year budget plan for the Accessibility Program Office driven by the organizational accessibility policy and standards.
  • LoB Accessibility Budget Guidance – The maturity of budget guidance provided to individual LoBs with respect to the implementation and maintenance of the organizational accessibility policy and standard.
  • LoB Accessibility Budgets – The maturity of actual budgets defined by individual LoBs with respect to the implementation and maintenance of ICT under the scope of the organizational accessibility policy and standard.

Maturity Levels

Level 1 – Initial

  • The Accessibility Program Office (APO), if one exists, has no specific central accessibility budget.
  • Funding is allocated in reaction to specific events, not proactively based on defined goals or levels of access.
  • Accessibility investments are not subject to RoI analysis.

Level 2 – Managed

  • Budget(s) to address accessibility are defined at the LoB level.
  • LoB accessibility budget(s) are not subject to RoI analysis – is a broad budget to make the system accessible.
  • LoB accessibility budget(s) are a single year budget based on minimal actual cost information.
  • LoB accessibility budget(s) clearly defines organizational component that is funding accessibility.
  • Finance staff have basic understanding of disability related legal requirements at federal, state, and local levels, and business cases for accessibility.
  • There is a clear link between strategy and expenditure e.g. areas for pre-approved spend, decision steps elsewhere.
  • There is a documented, detailed approach to requesting accessibility funding and obtaining needed funds.
  • Business cases provided in accessibility funding requests detail cost justification.
  • There are some dedicated funds available for accessibility.
  • There is an agreement between business units about responsibility for funding system changes, testing, administration, etc.

Level 3 – Defined

  • Accessibility funding has clear business and investment strategies.
  • The accessibility funding approach demonstrates a clear business focus and is subject to RoI tests and investment.
  • There is an understanding of the full benefits of designing accessible systems so that accessible ICT has maximum adoption.
  • A multi-year budget for an Accessibility Program Office is in place that is sufficient to support all the core organizational responsibilities of the APO.
  • Accessibility Line of Business funding to support accessibility remediation is allocated on a multi-year basis.
  • There is a clear division of responsibility and effective co-operation between relevant units within an organization.
  • Budgets have sufficient allocations to effectively managed and periodically forecast for specific areas e.g. adjustments for individuals and groups, standards maintenance.
  • There are records and/or examples of technology and non-technology business units working co-operatively on moving accessibility forward and resolving issues, rather than each group having their own accessibility leads, project managers, etc.
  • There are records / examples of expenditure and budget control.
  • The investment strategy establishes long term funding e.g. approach to funding of legacy system changes; determining what is a ‘reasonable’ adjustment where costs are significant; funding of individual adjustments; funding of adjustments for groups e.g. visually impaired users; maintenance of standards and expertise; staff costs; training; support costs (e.g. helpdesk); plus benefits management.

Level 4 – Quantitatively Managed

  • Effective use of corporate resources by avoiding remediation in designing fully-accessible ICT.
  • Costs minimized through good universal, user-driven design and effective component re-use.
  • There is reporting against business objectives, and corresponding data analysis to look a RoI from the organization down to projects.
  • Move to “business as usual” funding approach, where accessibility funding becomes standard practice.
  • Records / examples of active budget monitoring / management including changes of funding / priorities to reflect new issues, user feedback, benefit successes etc.
  • Records / examples of changes to shared technology and non-technology processes resulting from user consultation / process improvement.

Level 5 – Optimizing

  • Budget(s) contain specific funding for innovation / user empowerment, including:
    • Specific budget(s) for accessibility innovation, research and development;
    • Records / examples of market research, product evaluation leading to new solutions; and
    • Involvement of smaller suppliers (i.e. open to new innovations from startups).

Coming Up

In my next post I’ll discuss Dimension #6 of DAMM – the Development Lifecycle Dimension – which measures the extent to which accessibility is included and defined in the development lifecycle activities of the organization.

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