4 key areas of digital transformation in public sector

Commercial sector organizations have taken advantage of new digital tools to increase their reach, reduce cost, and streamline processes to levels previously thought impossible. The same applies to public sector organizations that are now taking advantage of the latest technology and modern processes.

While digitalization is necessary to stay relevant in this changing world, diving headfirst without knowledge of the key areas of digital transformation can have unintended consequences.

So, what are the main areas of digital transformation?

Data, technology, process, and the capacity for organizational change.

Gaps in any of these four primary digital transformation areas can thwart organizations’ otherwise well-laid plans and result in a failed program.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these four key areas of a digital transformation, and how to drive them.

Data

In today’s digital age, data is an extremely powerful asset. Properly structured and organized data can be analyzed from various perspectives to gain detailed insights which can guide critical decisions. Unfortunately, most organizations don’t have a competent data management system in place, and the result is massive amounts of cluttered, unsorted, and unstructured data that can’t be accurately analyzed.

It is crucial to employ trained personnel with experience in handling and understanding large amounts of information to help collate, organize, integrate, and improve the quality of an organization’s data. One can also opt for a modular, cloud-based platform that automates the data management lifecycle – from collection and aggregation through insights, to generation and implementation of actionable recommendations.

Additionally, it is essential to know what data will be needed before, during, and after the transformation and what outdated, unusable data can be disposed. Without a team of data experts, there is no way to take advantage of organizational data and leverage it to improve outcomes.

Technology

To successfully adopt new technologies, organizations need people who understand these technologies and their complex interplay with an organization’s processes. Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), and automation are extremely powerful tools that can advance an organization’s digital agenda. A team with comprehensive understanding of how these latest technologies can support a digital transformation initiative is the only way to use the tools efficiently. Therefore, existing IT teams need to evolve from simply maintaining legacy platforms to being an indispensable part of an organizations’ transformation team. For example, Long Term Care Partners (FedPoint) leveraged automation to modernize its legacy system with a web-based solution to address the challenges.

Processes

Today’s accepted processes and work flows stop organizations from leveraging the full potential of new technologies/digital systems. Successful digital transformation requires a modern, process-oriented, end-to-end mindset. Organizations need business teams to analyze and transform legacy processes to work harmoniously with new digital systems. For example, the County of Riverside in California modernized public recordkeeping via blockchain network to effectively and securely manage data, while easing access and lowering cost of operations.

Capacity for organizational change

The last of the four key areas of digital transformation include leadership, teamwork, and organizational change management. Change is difficult and transformation is not an overnight process. Therefore, change management for public sector digital transformation requires strategies such as:

  • Governance design: Organizational design for digital transformation should be directly linked with government objectives. This means that while mandate remains the same, the processes and workflows may change.
  • Empowering leaders: Ministers, state CIOs, or senior government bureaucrats do not design or implement digital transformation, but they must encourage and empower project’s leadership to navigate the organization’s digital transformation.
  • Incentives for experimentation: Encouragement and providing incentives for experimenting and building agile processes must be fostered.
  • Transparency: Transparency is crucial to define digital transformation outcomes and goals that not only build trust within the civil services but also with the public.
  • Talent incentives: Digital transformation should become a pertinent career aspect for public sector employees.
  • Building on small achievements: Governments should design and build small modules of business value that can be reconfigured in different ways and recombined. Small achievements reduce the resistance to change.

While we have so far discussed each of the digital transformation focus areas individually, it is of prime importance that they work in synergy to ensure a successful transformation. A tech issue caused by disorganized data may lead to process inefficiencies and may also involve organizational structure issues. In such a case, it will take all four areas to work together to find the right solution. One such example of digital transformation is Rhode Island’s digital journey that helped make its citizens’ lives easier.

Through decades of experience across industries we have identified five principal areas for successful digital transformation - Experience, Insight, Innovate, Accelerate and Assure. Along with these principal areas, a great deal of coordination is required to pull off a successful, organization-wide modernization by people with the necessary skills in each of these key areas.

Contact us to learn more about digital transformation in the public sector.