Covid-19 challenged businesses all over the world. The rate at which companies have accelerated their digital transformation during the pandemic is unparalleled. Before the pandemic, businesses had to digitize if they wanted to thrive in the future. However, the pandemic had companies struggling to survive in the present day!
This is the primary reason why companies like Amazon and Shopify thrived during the pandemic. Amazon had become their go-to source during an emergency for everyone desperate enough to stock up on toilet paper and essential household goods. Their fast and digital user experience skyrocketed their market capitalization by over $700 billion since COVID-19.
Unlike businesses worldwide, governments have been relatively slow in incorporating digital technologies into their processes and systems. During the pandemic, the importance of digital transformation for local government organizations came into the picture.
Digital transformation for government agencies was no longer a luxury but a necessity for them to respond to this crisis. From procuring resources like vaccines to providing vaccination certificates without unnecessary delay, government organizations had to keep up with the change and safeguard their citizens.
They had to develop fully transactional digital services that let people deal with the government without having to step out of their homes. Governments had to undergo digital transformation by strategically utilizing digital technologies and building cutting-edge digital public services.
What is Government Digital Transformation?
Government digital transformation refers to the process of shifting from the traditional government to improving governmental processes via digitization.
Digital transformation for government agencies allows them to build strategy-driven tech-based systems, provide easier and better experiences to those interacting with the government, and, more importantly, enhance and optimize the way these governmental systems operate.
There are several benefits of digital transformation in government. It helps them save valuable resources like time and money and improve the quality of services to meet their people's expectations. Furthermore, the transition to e-Government solutions also facilitates people's access to information and services provided by the government.
Digital transformation within government entails more than just putting the newest technology into use; it also involves fundamentally altering how the organization operates.
Government agencies need to rethink how they do business on an everyday basis and make a conscious effort to actively seek out new ways of working. While this can be a challenge, it's crucial for the government to do so if they want to stay relevant in today's digital world.
Benefits of digital transformation in government
1. Improved data collection
Government organizations have heaps of data on their citizens. However, they don't take advantage of this data since it's largely unorganized and scattered.
Digital transformation for government institutions allows them to create a system to gather the right information and organize this data to analyze and integrate it within their business.
When the government takes the initiative to gather and analyze data digitally, it ensures that all the departments have access to the same and up-to-date information in real time. This helps ensure they can make better-informed decisions and not be stuck in a month-long process to gather the right information. They have the ability to turn these unstructured pieces of data into valuable insights across different touchpoints to improve the products and services they offer.
The 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (21st Century IDEA) provided federal agencies with a framework for enhancing their websites and streamlining the delivery of digital solutions. The Enterprise Information and Data Management team (EIDM) within the Data Management Working Group (DMWG) and the GSA Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) is actively collaborating with government agencies to find datasets that can be made public.
2. Enhanced transparency and accountability
When governments digitize their processes, this enhanced data governance comes with a heightened level of transparency and accountability. One of the top benefits of digital transformation in government is allowing people greater visibility and insight into the process and data. When citizens have immediate and transparent access to information, it instantly increases their faith in how their government operates.
Data transparency offers a clear outlook for various issues, thereby eliminating the unnecessary frustration that comes along with it. It establishes a workflow that makes it easier for the government to execute projects at a faster pace and achieve its goals and objectives.
Additionally, accountability and transparency go hand in hand. Digital transformation empowers higher management to keep track of how information is shared with departments and if something is out of place.
Furthermore, this level of transparency also challenges the expectations people have when it comes to government performance. It allows people to identify who is accountable for which part of the project, helping them speed up the decision-making process. This may cause discomfort at the beginning; however, it also improves efficiency and helps citizens understand how the government strives to meet its objectives.
At the heart of the digital transformation is implementing changes that will fundamentally impact how the government does business. The traditional top-down hierarchy of government organizations is being replaced with a more collaborative, cross-departmental approach focused on providing a better experience to people.
Furthermore, since people across different departments have access to the same data, it makes it easier for people to collaborate readily and quickly. Without digitization, employees must spend a significant amount of time and effort working together to achieve their targets.
Although developing a government digital transformation strategy can be challenging, it's an excellent way to improve communication, collaboration, and unity within the organization.
4. Innovation and Agility
The pandemic has affected the public and private sectors alike. It has proven that organizations all over the world have to reassess the way they operate and undergo rapid transformations to respond to chronic disruption.
Therefore, the future of any systems they design should have agility and resilience at its core. While the effects of the pandemic have largely subsided, government entities have to build an effective digital system that can withstand such disturbances in the future.
Digital transformation empowers the government to build an agile workforce that can withstand swift adjustments during moments of uncertainty. Adapting to change, being innovative, and thinking outside the box will help the government thrive alongside shifting public demands.
5. Improved customer experience
All the points we've discussed have made this advantage extremely clear. One of the major benefits of digital transformation in government is to make it easier for people to access these services.
In today's world, people have become accustomed to simple and intuitive digital experiences. This makes it doubly frustrating if the government doesn't give them what they want, especially when they have no other alternative to replace them with.
When government organizations leverage digital technologies to provide these necessary services, it has a huge impact on the lives of people. They no longer need to wait for months to get something done, deal with the paperwork, or take time off work just to go to government offices and get things done. What more could they ask for?
Key government digital transformation trends
Digital transformation in local, state, and federal governments has dramatically improved the lives of the people. With trends like leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) to build smarter cities and migrating to the cloud, government organizations have identified how digital technologies can improve citizens' lives and enhance the workforce's efficiency.
Let's take a deeper look at the key government digital transformation trends.
1. Smart Cities with IoT
The shift towards smart cities is one of the most prominent government digital transformation trends. A smart city utilizes information and communication technology (ICT) to increase operational efficiency. Data analysis and digital technologies make it easier for governments to optimize the city's functionalities and improve their economic growth.
Government organizations can take advantage of a range of software and communication networks, but the IoT is one of the most crucial aspects of smart cities since it's the best way to link devices that interact and share information.
The primary idea behind building smart cities is to leverage the built-in sensors in street lights, vehicles, cameras at traffic signals, and others to help collect and share data to create innovative solutions to problems. Connecting smart cities through IoT solutions will build a strong core infrastructure and a sustainable environment and provide a better quality of life.
Smart cities utilize renewable energy, have infrastructures that actively monitor energy usage, and are built on the principles of green urbanism. It improves the productivity for local businesses and drives global connectivity.
Globally, governments are concentrating on smart cities through ICT to increase process transparency, make data more accessible to their inhabitants, and let the people use e-Governance services for everything they need, rather than relying on government officials.
The Chief Digital Officer launched a Digital Playbook and Blueprint for New York City that includes principles and strategies to design digital solutions keeping the diversity of the residents in mind.
2. Automation processes
Automating manual processes is a key component of the government's digital transformation strategy. Government organizations have been replacing manual processes with purpose-built applications that leave government employees free to work on higher priority tasks.
Chatbots and artificial intelligence are a few digital technologies that have helped governments shift from traditional systems to automation solutions. Digital solutions allow departments to improve the time-consuming internal processes like documenting, managing, and tracking records. Government workflow automation has empowered them to eliminate several manual processes, let their employees focus on tasks that can't be automated, and accelerate their service delivery.
Furthermore, this workflow automation has made it extremely useful for governments to streamline several procedures that may otherwise require days, if not months.
3. Migration to the cloud
Cloud migration is a major part of the government digital transformation strategy. Organizations have realized that they need to prioritize the adoption of cloud services for further digital transformation and thrive in the global digital economy.
The pandemic has compelled governments to shift from outdated IT systems to a shared cloud architecture that strikes a balance between privacy and security demands and flexible and scalable capabilities.
Cloud solutions offer resource savings, rapid scaling, access to cutting-edge cyber security features, and big data processing with AI. Furthermore, it allows governments to create innovative cloud applications that can support e-Government platforms and services.
Cloud technologies also support the government by creating an additional layer of redundancy with cloud-based backup systems. In case of a system crash, the government doesn't have to worry about not being able to ensure service continuity to its people. This government digital transformation trend of managing data via the cloud is expected to play a massive role in the future.
According to a Deloitte study, 70% of local and state government leaders said that they prefer to host their citizen and mission data on cloud.
Government digital transformation best practices
1. Strengthening Security
Cybersecurity is a huge concern when it comes to digital transformation for government. However, compared to the traditional software applications used by organizations, cloud-based infrastructure is considered just as secure, if not more.
When government organizations scale their existing infrastructure by embracing a cloud-native environment, it's crucial to put a cybersecurity plan in place to balance security and maintain a high level of privacy.
Government leaders should ensure that their teams understand what security measures are pre-built into the cloud technologies they're working with. When it comes to digital transformation for government, it's not about whether the cloud is secure; it's about whether you are using the cloud securely.
2. Digital skills training
Government digital transformation needs employees to have the digital skills to keep up with the changes in the workplace processes. The majority of government employees use traditional systems and may not be very knowledgeable about or equipped to use the most recent technologies.
It's essential for government organizations to take the right steps to ensure that their employees have the necessary resources they need to learn the skills they need to succeed in the digital transformation effort.
3. Employ design thinking
Government operations can only be as solid as the structure of the work process in place. The best way to work through this is to look at the workflow through a new lens, which is where design thinking comes into the picture.
Design thinking paired with digital transformation allows government organizations to find simple and logical solutions to complex problems. Leveraging the design thinking approach will ensure that the new systems, processes, technologies, and business models are aligned with what the people are actually looking for.
Digital transformation for government is a complicated process; however, it has the potential to revolutionize the sector when done right. In order to deliver better services, people require government agencies to accelerate their digital initiatives and leverage technologies like workflow automation and cloud technologies.
Organizations can position themselves for success by adhering to the best practices we've outlined in this blog and keeping an eye on the key government digital transformation trends.
You can get in touch with Wandr today to see how we can help you with your digital transformation!