Ensuring digital transformation success in government
With the race to digitise intensified by the pandemic, government departments and agencies need a clear path to ensure success. Answering three key questions will help smooth the process and identify the best way forward.
In an effort to be one of the top three digital governments worldwide, the Australian Government is committed to moving all federal services online by 2025. Its plan is outlined in the Digital Transformation Agency’s Digital Transformation Strategy 2018–2025.1 In 2020, Australia ranked fifth in the world in terms of digital government, according to the United Nations’ E-Government Survey.2
The last two years have undoubtedly accelerated the Australian Government’s transformation. According to the Australian Public Service Employee Census, 46% of respondents engaged in flexible or hybrid working practices in 2021, compared to 22% in 2019.3 However, facilitating remote work is only one piece of the transformation puzzle.
Taking the right steps to achieve transformation
Australia is undergoing an evolution in the wake of the pandemic; organisations in both the public and private sectors are racing to digitisation. However, to meet expectations set by the private sector, government departments must have a clear, carefully planned path to success, regardless of whether they operate on a federal, state or local level.
For government departments, digital transformation is unfortunately not as simple as identifying a cost-effective solution and working with an implementation partner to deploy it across the organisation. To modernise and digitise operations, government departments need to invest in solutions that will help:
- manage critical applications and data in hybrid environments;
- support legacy systems with updates, vulnerability patches and other maintenance;
- administer and govern privileges and access controls for an expanding workforce; and
- make sense of vast amounts of data from different sources for informed decision-making.
On top of this, each solution government agencies invest in must meet the government’s strict security and compliance requirements to protect confidential organisational and constituent data.
The key issues to consider
When considering technologies and third-party service providers to support digital transformation, there are three significant questions government departments must ask.
1. Will this integrate with the existing technology stack?
Identifying the right technology solution can be challenging when there are so many options available. However, it’s important that government departments assess potential solutions based on how well they will integrate with the existing technology stack. Failing to do so may result in a costly overhaul of more technologies or processes than originally planned to ensure that a solution will work without impacting existing systems. To help streamline this process, departments should consider engaging with solutions providers that deliver vendor-agnostic tools that can integrate seamlessly with the existing technology stack.
2. How will this impact security?
Cybersecurity is one of the highest priorities for governments when it comes to assessing new solutions. Government departments must ensure that every vendor and solution they implement as part of their digital transformation journey adheres to strict department and government regulations to protect confidential and sensitive data. It’s essential that departments engage with vendors and solutions that demonstrate how they can meet compliance needs.
3. Will this fit within the budget?
Price is a critical consideration for government departments because they are under strict scrutiny by Australian citizens. As such, it’s essential that departments make cost-effective choices when it comes to digital transformation. This doesn’t only mean that the upfront cost should be affordable; government departments must also consider the long-term costs and any third-party providers required to support deployment and ongoing maintenance of the solutions.
Failing to consider these elements may lead to government departments investing in costly, cumbersome solutions that don’t effectively integrate with their existing technologies. This can result in significant challenges down the road, including delaying the department’s ability to transform. By contrast, effectively answering these questions can help government departments transform successfully, delivering the right applications and solutions to help achieve Australia’s goal of moving up in the global digital government rankings.
Regardless of the level of government, whether federal, state or local, it’s essential that agencies and departments clearly establish goals and understand the requirements to meet these goals. Working with the right partners is a crucial step towards successful digital transformation.
- United Nations. (2020). E-Government Survey 2020: Digital Government in the Decade of Action for Sustainable Development. N.d.
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