Shift Happens! Is the Public Sector Ready?

Blog /Shift Happens Is the Public Sector Ready

Public expectations are changing. Expectations that are driven by experiences and interactions in the commercial environment – Uber, Airbnb, Venmo etc. These expectations have collided with a convergence of trends in demographics. Millennials are becoming the dominant consumer of government services, influencing the sociopolitical landscape, economics and technology innovations. A more sophisticated and informed user is forcing the government to up their game—there is a shift happening.

There is a viable need to create greater transparency, more citizen-centric services, and deliver information anywhere, anytime, and on any platform or device. A digital transformation is underway in the public sector. As former President Barack Obama said, “I want us to ask ourselves every day, how are we using technology to make a real difference in people’s lives?” According to Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, “The emergence of new infocom technologies calls for fundamental rethinking and transformational shifts in the way we look at e-government. Governments must take on the roles of a facilitator and enabler—to collaborate with the public, private, and people sectors in creating new solutions, new businesses, and new wealth.”i

Is the public sector ready for the new technological shift? A shift that effectively creates value for citizens while saving the tax payer money. Figure 1 illustrates the citizen-centric view that should be considered when planning a digital shift.

Enablers of a Digital Plan for Government

Shift of the digital enterprise involves a close inspection of the factors that influence the delivery of the digital enterprise. To effectively shift, government agencies need to take a holistic approach to planning, which should include:

People. Citizens around the globe are demanding rich, immersive experiences anywhere, anytime. Experience that are conveniently accessible through multiple interaction channels. Citizens engage and perceive value only when their personalized experience is immersive. When such an experience occurs, they become passionate advocates and real-time reviewers of government. The engage on social networks, digital marketplaces, and secured virtual communities, all of which benefit the overall citizen experience.

Leadership. The leadership is becoming “wirearchical”. A model in which leaders emerge and change depending on business needs which are enabled through interconnectivity and technology. Many large enterprises now have a chief digital officer (CDO) in the C-suite, along with the more traditional chief information officer or chief technology officer. The CDO is driving the organization’s digital strategy. Even public sector agencies are embracing this role—starting with the White House appointing the first ever CDO under the Obama Administration.

Management culture. Culture is often considered the hardest thing to change. Yet for a digital shift to take place, organizational culture cannot continue to resist while everything else is changing. Today’s asset-light, agile mindset is permeating physical systems, services, and the very culture of an organization. Successful management culture is moving toward openness and transparency by both external and internal stakeholders in public sector.

Organizational intelligence. Enterprise and open systems outside government are influencing organization intelligence—in real-time. The pressures of information management, cyber security, and agility are demanding the co-existence of diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive analytics across all key performance indicators agency-wide, across different agencies, as well as with partners and citizens.

Business processes. Business processes are transforming from information-centric to human-centric. The focus is on engaging government employees to complete transactions in the fastest way possible. The concept of design thinking we have been using to solve thorny product and services problems in the private sector is now starting to help define citizen-centric processes to create a holistic, engaging experience.

Systems. Enterprise systems are experiencing enormous disruption from the surge in complexity of the IT landscape and huge technical debt carried by government agencies. Old systems of record must coexist with new systems, and process unexpected formats and sources of data. Information exchange has progressed beyond web and intranets; many transactions are occurring on mobile devices and/or in the cloud. Employees, partners, and citizens are demanding more ways to communicate. The latest entrant to this complex mix is the Internet of Things (IoT), which is becoming a prominent channel for information exchange, business intelligence, and customer engagement. Additionally, more information is being exchanged via open APIs. This “API-fication” of enterprise IT is leading to new, largely unanswered questions for enterprise-wide strategy, rationalization, and standardization.

Government needs to change, evolve, and embrace inevitable shifts or continue to face budget challenges, low citizen satisfaction scores—all of which are compounded by technical debt and inefficiencies.

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[1] Government of Singapore, Masterplan 2011–2015: Collaborative government, accessed September 18, 2015.

Fecha de publicación: 19/06/2017