Digital Transformation in the Public Sector

The public sector is very reliant on an older IT infrastructure which can hinder the quality of customer service given by employees and organisations. Despite introducing a range of online services, the public sector still has a long way to go in terms of digital transformation. Along with the benefits that digital transformation in the public sector can bring, the government is also faced with many challenges when developing an IT infrastructure strategy.

Although 51% say that digital trends are improving their organisations ability to respond to threats and opportunities, most agencies feel that their employees and leaders do not have the necessary skills for digital transformation. In order for an organisation to improve their digital transformation, they need to have a digital strategy. While it is beneficial that the government enforces new technology, they aren’t investing in the capabilities that affect their impact. For example, making efforts to introduce new computers into schools to help enhance pupil’s performance will only work if they are accompanied by teaching methods that are suited to technologies.

Challenges of digital transformation

A study by Deloitte has revealed that there are several challenges that organisations face when it comes to digital transformation in the public sector. 82% of organisations see digital technologies as an opportunity, however only 44% have increased investments in digital this year. Successful organisations that have navigated their goals tend to have strategies that are realistic and well understood. But, one of the main challenges that organisations in the public sector face are having a lack of strategy when it comes to digital transformation. It has been found that 71% of organisations have said that with a clear strategy, digital trends are improving their abilities to deal with threats and opportunities. However, more than half of digital leaders who were surveyed say that their organisation lacks strategy.

Another obstacle that has a knock-on effect to other barriers is the insufficient funds provided by the government. Not having enough money to offer the public sector can prevent employees and leaders in the public sector from possessing the correct digital skills. Only 33% of organisations say that they are being provided the right resources and opportunities to gain the digital skills they need. It is vital that employees and leaders have the correct digital skills, as without them they cannot carry out their digital strategy or offer knowledge which benefits their customers.

Cultural norms can also challenge organisations that are undergoing digital transformation. More than 85% of government agencies see company culture as a challenging aspect of managing the transition to digital. The industries that have said culture will be highly challenging when transition to digital are Health care, Environment and education.

What governments can do

Meeting the demands and expectations of digital users means embracing technology to reinvent the way government does business. Being successful when providing digital transformation in an organisation requires strong leadership, investments in science, technology, engineering and mathematic skills and cultural and behavioural change. Governments will need to maximise digital investments by grasping new technologies and advanced analytics to optimise policies, programmes and systems.

Governments can do the following to accommodate the digital transformation in organisations to increase user demand and provide a more advanced experience.

  • Establish senior leadership and commitment
  • Attack barriers
  • Provide a plan for addressing elements of digital transformation
  • Increase focus on change management
  • Try to lead and keep users online
  • Invest in upskilling and in-house training programmes