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Digital Transformation In Government And The Public Sector: Risks, Tips & Trends

Digital Transformation In Government And The Public Sector

Digital transformation in government and the public sector is now “imperative”.

That’s according to EY Global Government & Public Sector Advisory, Arnauld Bertrand. And we don’t disagree; the evidence is clear. 

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In this article, we’re going to look at what is driving digital transformation in government and the public sector. We’ll also look at the risks associated with not transforming successfully and 3 of the latest digital trends.  

What is driving digital transformation in government and the public sector?

According to Deloitte’s research, cost and budget pressures and citizen demands are the two primary drivers of digital transformation in government and the public sector, accounting for 75% of responses. 

i-scoop recently identified reasons behind digital transformation as being:

  • The need to increase efficiency and transparency
  • Improving and aligning processes
  • Smart government and smart cities
  • The ability to attract new investors
  • Transformation of government transaction services
  • Better access to and management of information
  • Meeting the needs of rapidly changing demographics 

3 countries driving digital transformation in government and the public sector

Another key finding of Deloitte’s global survey is that governments are at very different stages in their digital transformation journey. The overwhelming majority are still in the early stages of this journey, while only a small percentage are considered “maturing”.

One thing’s for certain: digital transformation in government and the public sector won’t happen on its own. It required strategic and proactive planning. Here are 3 countries doing exactly that.

1. Australia

In Australia, the Digital Transformation Office was launched in 2015. Its first goal was to create a single digital identity to enable citizens to access government services via one digital portal: myGov.

2. UK

In February 2016, the UK government announced a new advisory board to help shape its digital transformation and government digital services program.

3. United States 

In the US, the role of the ‘United States Digital Service‘ is to transform the way the federal government deals with citizens. Among its initiatives are programs to improve access to government information and the modernization of the immigration system. 

In addition, at the end of 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau awarded a 5 year digital transformation contract to Accenture.

For these countries, digital transformation has been on the agenda for a while now. But as we all know, it’s an ongoing journey. So let’s now take a look at some of the important digital trends for government and the public sector.

Top trends for digital transformation in government and the public sector

1. IoT and smart cities

There has been a 31% increase in the number of ‘things’ connected to the overall IoT between 2016 and 2017. A majority of these (about 5.2 billion) are consumer items, with 3.1% of the remaining billion units are for business use.

About 100 million devices operate within the public sector. IoT is a significant aspect of digital transformation in government and the public sector.

The advent of ‘smart cities’ makes the probability of further public-sector engagement with IoT tools highly likely. Cities become “smart” when items like traffic cameras, police vehicles and street lights can instantly transmit and receive data by interfacing with a public cloud platform to improve civil services.

Amsterdam has gradually been incorporating this “smart” interconnected functionality over the past decade and is a notable example of a smart-city project. MIT Sloan Management Review’s 2016 case study found that it represented major progress toward making people’s daily lives easier. 

Gov Tech Review writes: “The results are positive enough to ensure that other cities may well move in a similar direction.” 

2. AI and automation

AI is making waves in the enterprise world in terms of money-saving, efficiency-driving opportunities and, according to Deloitte, it could save the US government $37 billion and 1.1 billion hours of staff productivity per year.

Amazingly, the same Deloitte report found that if public-sector automation were implemented only on a minor scale (say, automating tasks that are already performed using computers), the government could still save $9.6 billion a year.

EY has been working with the City of Edinburgh Council to introduce AI automation to achieve the following benefits:

  • Freeing up social workers’ time by automating the carer payment process
  • Increasing the accuracy and speed of the landlord registration process
  • Improving the social housing repairs process
  • Accelerating the customer contact process
  • Introducing automated audit and reporting relating to all purchase card transactions
  • Enhancing the scheduling of social workers to support vulnerable children

Final words of advice

Public sector organizations must seek progressive digital transformation counsel — the time to act is now, and huge efficiencies and savings can be made with the right technology implementations. 

It’s not just about remaining relevant and accessible to citizens and residents. It’s about performing well and staying competitive on the world stage.

To quote Klaus Schwab at Davos 2016: “Ultimately, the ability of government systems and public authorities to adapt will determine their survival”

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