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Is the Public Sector ready for Digital Transformation (Part 2)

In my last post, I pointed to some of the issues and challenges to consider when undergoing digital transformation in the public sector. In this post, I will quickly address the need for and benefits of DX in the public sector.

In this digital age, it is apparent that the public sector constantly needs to look for opportunities to innovate to improve productivity, increase collaboration and improve process efficiency. However, traditional private sector methodologies related to DX and change management cannot be used directly and require adaption to public sector needs. For example, key performance indicators in private sector organizations are generating revenue and profit, which funds all other activities. The public sector is funded by taxes, fees and through financial transfers from other parts of the public sector. Therefore, Governments are given their tasks primarily by expectations and demands from the citizenry, by law or by the politicians. The drivers for change projects in public sector are the need to save money, improve services and mitigate the risk of failure related to implementing new solutions.

The primary benefits of digital transformation in the public sector are...

Operational Efficiencies resulting in improved cost efficiencies. With budget constraints, DX offers the ability to do more with fewer resources, especially important in growing population bases

Citizenry/Customer Expectations and Experience – Citizens expect a more digital experience. They want to be able to interact with their information and self-serve any time, from any place. This has operational as well as political ramifications.

Speed of Decision Making – in addition to self-service, when an interaction does occur with a government representative, the expectation is to not be put on hold and one call to resolution. This mandates access to the information from the disparate systems to be available and integrated.

Employee satisfaction/retention – the ability to retain employees is often dependent on having the tools available to do their job and make a positive impact.

Safety – One of the primary responsibilities of any government is to keep the citizenry (and their information) safe. The integration of the different legacy systems into a new integrated format provides access, analysis, prediction and even preventive analysis.

Consistency – A simplified and consistent front end to access and present various systems of record should be the goal of political and administrative leadership, across departments and agencies. Having to access different systems with similar user interfaces simplifies matters for both employees and the citizenry.

While the process of digitalizing public sector is complex due to misaligned incentives, vertical structures, employee job security rules and citizen-centric services where no easy solutions exist, they must become more efficient to meet future demographic, financial and political challenges. Like our private sector friends, the mandate and support must come from the top executive (mayor, governor). If municipalities are not able to radically change through successful transformation projects, they will not be able to maintain the level of service and welfare at the same degree or higher.

The goal of digital transformation is to deliver better outcomes and better communications with constituents, using fewer resources by reinventing the way services are produced and delivered. Digital transformation projects are 20% about technology and 80% about people, processes, and organizational structure.

Utilizing digital leadership competence is crucial to succeed with digital transformation projects. The process may be daunting, but a well-defined strategy and a tactical implementation plan built by experts, maximizes benefits and minimizes risk.

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