By Mark Damm, CEO, FuseForward
For years, the public sector has been looking at technology to ease its burdens, with many success stories proving that the effective implementation of the right technology can transform government departments into efficient, effective organs of state, operating as professionally as any private sector organization.
Cloud computing is at the heart of digital transformation. Scalable, on-demand cloud computing services have helped government entities to focus on mission-critical objectives, while boosting innovation and lowering IT costs.
Digital transformation in the public sector was discussed at the recent Digital Modernization Roundtable held in Victoria. Hosting senior representatives from the British Columbia government, sector specialists and technology providers, I was privileged to attend this event, which offered a unique opportunity for all stakeholders to engage and identify ways to improve the access and implementation of technology to accelerate advances in systems for the public sector.
Demand for Digital Services
While there were many areas of discussion at the roundtable, the main conversation centred around improved service delivery to citizens. With government entities increasingly under pressure to meet the demands and expectations of digitally connected citizens, digital transformation is rising to the top of the agenda.
Citizens now demand the same ease of services they expect in life from the government. This includes things such as instant communication for queries over messenger and the ability to access all of their information in one place.
When it comes to technology implementation in the private sector, it has always been about gaining efficiencies in order to deliver better products and services to customers, faster. The public sector’s particular challenges have resulted in a situation where almost all of their efforts have been directed at upgrading or replacing legacy systems in order to keep pace with operational demands. As a result, there have been very few opportunities for the public sector to truly innovate in service delivery. That is changing, and fast.
IT consolidation through the cloud is helping governments to increase efficiencies and lower cost of ownership. Through cloud adoption, not only are government departments offering better services to citizens, improving efficiencies and saving costs, they are gaining new avenues for innovation.
Through this kind of transformation, government departments and agencies can find new ways to leverage and consolidate citizen data to improve service delivery in areas like healthcare, utilities, transportation, emergency response, social programs, big event planning and telecommunications.
Getting to Know Everyone
Having insight into each citizen’s profile through all of the data already collected will allow government agencies to better understand the people they need to serve, enabling them to engage with citizens in a far more personal manner. Private sector organizations are already doing this, offering increasingly more personalized service, and citizens should be able to expect the same from the public sector organizations they interact with.
Using data to understand citizen behaviour and their preferences will allow for better and more efficient communications, not to mention better and more innovative services. A single login for all government services would not only make the lives of citizens easier, but it would also enable the government to gain a 360-degree view of each individual’s needs.
However, today’s security landscape is such that the public sector would have to effectively manage identity and access from way beyond their walls. Traditional security perimeters are no more, and as the technology environment evolves, security must evolve too. Managing identity will, therefore, become key in the future, as monitoring, securing and connecting each activity with a unique identity becomes a central part of every transaction.
Today’s technologies hold a lot of promise for public sector organizations, and they now need to start delivering value. Extracting meaningful insights and increasing operational efficacy requires flexible, integrated tools that allow departments and organizations to quickly ingest, prepare, analyze and govern data. As more data is generated through technologies like IoT, it is becoming increasingly difficult to manage and leverage, requiring tools that deliver an in-depth view of the data landscape to draw meaningful, timely insights.
Smart cities, for example, are generating vast amounts of data while they create new ways for municipalities to create better-living conditions for citizens. Whether it is intelligent waste management, smart urban planning, or city-wide connected security, all data from different departments, such as traffic, utilities, finance, health or waste management, can not only be monitored in order to deliver improved services, but analytics capabilities provide the means through which the data can be used to give city administrators insights into where new solutions would be beneficial.
Digital transformation is not negotiable for any organization in the modern world. Even less so for public sector companies who are tasked with keeping the country running. With the cloud providing the foundation for public sector organizations to fundamentally change how they operate, they can not only improve the public services that are most important to residents, but create a more efficient and secure operating environment – one that will provide value across all of the areas they touch.