Government organizations often experience challenges when modernizing their systems, infrastructure, and processes. However, with proper planning, your government organization can ensure a relatively smooth digital transformation and avoid common risks and failure points.

Today, we’re sharing the top government digital transformation challenges and how to prepare for them.

7 Government Digital Transformation Challenges

1. Organizational Silos

Silos can exist in any organization, but they’re especially common in the public sector. Each department has its own set of needs and wants, and it can be challenging to coordinate an enterprise-wide digital transformation.

To prevent these issues and avoid ERP failure, establish ownership of the government digital transformation as early as possible. Determine which groups will be responsible for developing the digital strategy and ensuring its success. Then, work with your core project team to outline how you’ll prioritize, fund, and deliver key initiatives across any silos that exist.

2. Costing Challenges​

There are two core costing issues that government organizations must circumvent to avoid transformation failure.

The first is inconsistent software license pricing. Software licenses aren’t always priced consistently from one organization to the next. This can make it difficult to perform an accurate analysis of which one is the best fit for your needs (and budget).

Next, there’s the issue of the fixed-price contract, when organizations agree to pay a firm price for the total implementation. This will include deliverables planned by the systems integrator, as well as those chosen by government employees.

The only problem? During the price negotiation phase, it’s easy to overestimate your team’s abilities and underestimate how much everything will cost. Before assigning duties, make sure employees have the skills, experience, and qualifications required to complete the task.

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3. Change Resistance​

Humans are naturally risk-averse creatures, preferring to stick to what’s familiar and consistent. Change is often perceived as intimidating.

That’s why resistance and pushback are common in a government digital transformation. Employees who have become comfortable with their workflows, might buck the idea of undergoing a massive change. In their opinion, the best practices they’re currently using are tried-and-true, so why should they do anything differently?

To help them see why change is necessary, align the project with key business outcomes. Then, make organizational change management (OCM) a core part of your strategy. Keep employees in the loop and explain what’s in it for them. Stay transparent, and be willing to answer questions and field suggestions.

4. Poor Project Planning

Digital transformation requires robust planning. If your team decides to wing it instead, they could miscalculate several key parts of the implementation, including:

• The overall scope of the project
• The number of resources they need
• The time it takes to define and validate software requirements
• How much customization or configuration the software will need
• The project success factors they need to track

Missing even one of these elements can throw your budget and timeline off track. Prioritize planning from the beginning, and establish an executive sponsor who can keep activities on schedule.

5. Insufficient Digital Skills

When you assign public sector employees to perform a project task, they must have the right skills. These programs require knowledge and experience in many different fields, such as:

• Cybersecurity
• Enterprise architecture
• Cloud data management
• Data analytics
• Digital experience

While you need people specifically qualified in these areas, it’s also a good idea to improve the digital dexterity of your entire workforce. Once the systems go live, they’ll be required to use them. By training them now, you can avoid costly downtime later.

6. IT Knowledge Shortage

In addition to digital skills, your project also needs employees who have IT knowledge. Moving into major technology domains requires shifting your business focus. To succeed, you’ll need team members who can help you navigate new realms, including:

• IT automation
• Platform services
• IoT (Internet of Things)
• Digital workplace solutions

By identifying these needs early, you can make sure you have timely access to your company’s IT, business, and subject matter experts. However, these resources may not always be available when you need them.

Departments often have different priorities, and teams might still be working in silos. While you can plan for your employees to learn low-code tech and other easily deployable solutions, don’t assume they’ll be able to fill this IT gap. Instead, plan far ahead to make sure the IT resources in your government organization will be free and ready to help when it’s time to access their support.

7. Lack of Funding​

There are three main reasons why government organizations experience budget overruns when pursuing digital advances. These include:

• Siloed strategies and decision-making
• Inadequate planning
• Perceiving technology expenses as operational, not strategic

To help stakeholders understand why you need the money, it helps to illustrate the link between the work you’re doing and the outcomes you expect to achieve. Correlate how this investment in digital technology will help the organization meet its short-term and long-term goals, make it more competitive, and set it up for continued success.

Avoid These Government Digital Transformation Challenges

If you’re planning to undergo a public-sector digital transformation, it’s important to understand some of the most common roadblocks you might face.

While these are some of the top concerns, there are others to understand. Our team of enterprise software consultants can help you work through government digital transformation challenges as you begin your project. Contact us below to get started.

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