Digital transformation in Government

In our information-rich society, interaction of the government with its citizens is rapidly changing. In addition to factors like social and technological development, this change is to a great extent driven by the ever increasing expectations that people place on government services. Mirroring the developments in the private sector, within the public sector there is a march of technology towards consumer-centricity, and all aspects of the product & service lifecycles are increasingly based on targeted consumer preferences, personalized service experience, and ease of use.

In the current environment, ”born-on-web” companies in the private sector have been proving themselves more successful than the established organizations due to their agility, their deep understanding of cognitive behavior, and innovative deployment of digital tools. Consumer business is perhaps the best example of the pressing need to rapidly address the digital development, as the infamously short attention span of the modern consumer challenges many established companies to evolve with the consumer preferences or risk losing business to their born-digital rivals. Consumers exposed to the multi- and omni-channel operating models developed in the private sector expect similar quality of user experience from their governments, calling for services that utilize modern UX designs and fluently combine human and digital interfaces. The local and central governments need to respond by demonstrating value for money and optimized services through digitization.

There are already many public sector organizations across the world that are rising up to this challenge and in some cases leading the development by delivering their products & services through innovative use of digital tools and technologies. At the heart of all digitization and personalized user experience initiatives there is one key element–data, the most fundamental and important building block of digital products and services.

Intelligent use of data benefits both the citizen and the government

The ability of public sector organizations to intelligently use data in their operations is key to success in the digital world. There are some immediate material and service gains from the digitization of regular public services for both the providers and the consumers.

1. Value for public money
2. Ease of use
3. Quicker service cycles
4. Efficiency and productivity gains
5. Greater transparency
6. Data analytics providing deeper insight to refine public products and services
7. Public policy can be based or improved on the empirical evidence provided by data insights
8. Enabling the citizen or consumer to become the focal point for development of public services

Whatever the more specific goals for intelligent use of data may be for each organization, reaching them requires a whole new way of thinking to ensure the digital initiatives are properly supported.

Data-driven operating model is key to success in digital government initiatives

Starting with simple steps to deploy digital products and services, organizations should focus on developing their capabilities in terms of people & skills, processes, data, and digital technologies & tools. These capabilities are fundamental in creating a data-driven operating model and serve as a foundation for data analytics, which provides insight and drives all levels of organization to be efficient and effective in delivering against the right expectations and reaching the desired outcomes.

What makes this challenging is that the IT environment has become increasingly complex. Some of the key factors contributing to this development include:

  • The need to simplify and standardize data availability from an increasing array of data sources. In addition to the more traditional data sources like applications, databases and business partners, these can include a variety of sources such as social media, Internet of things (IoT) devices, open data initiatives and commercial data brokerage services
  • Rise of cloud computing, deconstruction of monolithic enterprise application suites, and breaking down of information ecosystem borders among trusted business partners
  • Growing number of end users requiring self-service means to accessing increasing amounts and variety of data conveniently in one place
    • This increasing complexity highlights the need for a systematic approach to the organization’s data assets. A well-designed and implemented operating model provides data that is integrated, complete, accurate, enriched, described and reliably accessible.

      Embarking on the journey towards a digital government

      To provide services that are truly citizen-centric, government organizations need to transform the way they approach accessing and using data that they possess and is available for them. This requires breaking down the siloes that currently exist in the organization’s internal system and application landscape, as well as developing capabilities around utilizing data that is available from external sources.

      This transformation impacts people & skills, processes, data and technology. Stating that 90% of the work will revolve around evolving the organizational culture and implementing processes while 10% will be about selecting and implementing the enabling technology should not be too far from the actual numbers.

      Defining a transformational vision and what good will look like in terms of products and services is a key pre-requisite for change. A specific data strategy should be developed to address how the change will be lead, and an executive sponsor is needed to articulate the vision and communicate strategy effectively across the organization. As a key point, the strategy must address how the citizen or consumer centricity will drive new ways of working and what new digital tools will be deployed to deliver valued services.

      The strategy may involve appointing a specific function within the organization to be in charge of the data assets and running day-to-day operations. For example, the role of the Chief Data Officer is becoming more common in public and private organizations alike, and teams and departments dealing with data and analytics are becoming increasingly important.

      Whether or not a specific function is created for implementing the data strategy, it cannot succeed without committing to the change by aligning operations to support it. A data-driven operating model ensures this alignment and creates a foundation on which government organizations can build their data and citizen-centric future.

      About Liaison Technologies

      Liaison Technologies is a leader in data management and integration services with over 7000 business customers worldwide. Liaison’s expert practitioners design and implement data-centric solutions to address challenges and opportunities faced by organizations in today’s complex business environment. Ranging from strategic advisory consulting to the company’s award winning Data Platform as a Service, Liaison provides a variety of services for the UK public sector organizations through the G-Cloud framework to integrate, manage and secure data. Liaison is a global company with offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Singapore, Finland, and Sweden.

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