While private sector organizations are innovating their processes and technology to improve their customer service, government organizations must race to keep up with citizens’ increasingly higher expectations. In the midst of this race, government organizations are finding that digital government is much more challenging than it sounds.
Government CIOs are not giving up, though. They’re using digital transformation to provide better services to citizens, and they’re seeing benefits such as decreased operational costs and increased citizen engagement.
Top 5 Digital Government Challenges
1. Scalability – The societal benefits of digital government increase when delivered at scale, but government organizations are struggling to scale new technology and processes across all of their operations. They’re encountering silos and resistance to change that prevent their digital government initiatives from impacting citizens.
2. Accountability Without Authority – While government CIOs are increasingly accountable for the success of digital transformation projects, their level of authority remains limited. They struggle to obtain the authority to manage their own budgets and make hiring decisions. Sometimes, they’re even left out of crucial strategy meetings with fellow executives because their role is viewed as strictly technical.
3. Red Tape – Political agendas, existing legislation and procurement controls can create roadblocks to innovation. For example, CIOs considering IoT often encounter resistance from leadership due to security and privacy concerns. While these concerns are well-founded, there are new ways of mitigating risk that should be explored.
4. Myopic Focus – Some government organizations focus on the technical aspects of digital transformation as opposed to the people and process aspects because they don’t understand the project’s overall purpose. When organizations define project goals without considering the organization’s mission and vision, CIOs struggle to realize the full benefits of transformation. They have virtually no budget for organizational change management or business process reengineering.
5. Resource Constraints – Funding for the technical aspects of digital transformation is also scarce for many government organizations. CIOs who wish to implement the latest technology may find that their IT departments can’t provide the necessary back-end IT infrastructure. Without funding to hire additional resources, CIOs struggle to manage and scale digital government initiatives.
Tips for CIOs Pursuing Digital Government
- Develop a Business Case – Digital transformation is more than a transition from “green screens” to modern ERP software. It’s a strategic, organization-wide initiative that changes how citizens interact with their government. Developing a business case will help you outline expected benefits that align with organizational goals and objectives. A business case justifies an IT investment by demonstrating the potential ROI.
- Prioritize Integration – Technical integration and process integration enable government organizations to efficiently address citizens’ most pressing needs. Integration requires organizational alignment, collaboration and strong project governance. Strive for integration as disparate systems create inefficiencies that impede citizen engagement.
- Optimize Inefficient Processes – Before selecting new ERP software, you should map your processes, improve your processes and define your requirements. The most inefficient processes deserve the most attention as they can bring the most value when optimized and automated. These processes should translate to “must-have” requirements, which determine software functionality.
- Reduce Resistance to Change – Ensure the project team doesn’t get lost in the technical “weeds.” New technology, new processes and new operational models lead to monumental change throughout an organization. Developing an organizational change management plan can help you prepare employees for digital transformation.
- Enhance Security – While technologies like IoT have many applications in the public sector, adoption has been slowed by security concerns. You can address these concerns by adopting API management practices that enable safe data transfer. Consider implementing advanced detection systems and backup systems.
Emerging Technology Trends in the Public Sector
- Cloud technology adoption has been on the rise for government organizations that want cost savings and easier data sharing. Organizations are ensuring security by storing classified data on private clouds.
- Blockchain technology has barely been adopted by the public sector, but once cost-effective solutions are developed for government, adoption is expected to increase. Government organizations that have experimented with blockchain have realized benefits such as increased security and efficiency.
- Hyperconverged infrastructure combines all of an organization’s technology into a single platform. Many government organizations like this option for it’s scalability and cost-saving possibilities.
- The Internet of Things holds great opportunity for government organizations. While the Department of Defense accounts for the majority of IoT spending, civilian agencies stand to benefit as well. For example, organizations could use IoT to improve their visibility into public transportation systems.
These are just a few of the technology trends you can incorporate into your digital government strategy. As a government CIO, you’re probably facing many roadblocks to adopting this technology, but you’re determined to improve operational efficiency and citizen engagement. If you develop a digital government strategy that prioritizes integration, security and organizational alignment, you can overcome some of the common roadblocks to government innovation.