Digital Transformation in the Public Sector: Harnessing Data and Technology to Become More Efficient and Effective


Technology has the power to transform the public sector. Improving the efficiency of public services can mean happier, healthier communities. Especially in regard to communication with constituents where government technology can help agencies connect with constituents.

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But technology and the move toward digital transformation can also leave people behind. How can state and local governments benefit from data and technology while avoiding the downsides?

Rising Inequality and a Shift in Values Have Contributed to a Complex Environment for the Public Sector

Governments must serve everyone, including disadvantaged and marginalized groups. And some in the public sector worry that relying more heavily on technology risks increasing inequality rather than addressing it, as disadvantaged groups are less likely to have access to certain technologies, including smartphones and internet access.

And shifts in values also play a role. While some welcome the digital transformation, others worry about privacy and an over reliance on technology. How can agencies navigate government technology in this complex environment?

Balancing the Economic, Social, and Fiscal Pressures Facing Government Agencies

It’s no secret that the public sector faces many pressures. In addition to budget and staffing challenges, government agencies must also factor in economic and social conditions.

However, investing in digital solutions can ease these pressures. Service-focused technologies can increase public trust in government agencies by providing exceptional services.

In addition, digital solutions can relieve fiscal pressures. Optimizing operations can help agencies provide reliable services even at lower staffing levels.

Common Challenges Government Agencies Face in Their Digital Transformation Journey

What challenges do agencies face as they implement government technology and digital solutions?

Modernization poses a challenge for many state and local governments. Scaling current virtual services and deploying new services requires an upfront investment. Yet that investment can pay off over time when agencies make automation a key part of their digital transformation journey. Automation can increase the efficiency of existing processes and drive change by creating or unlocking new value for the delivery of government services, as well as building a modern IT environment and preparing for a more digital future.

Security and privacy concerns pose another challenge. Cyberattacks continue to rise, and data privacy remains a critical priority for the public sector. Upgrading systems, however, can improve security and prevent data breaches.

A Path Toward Digital Adoption: The Age of Hyper-Connected Citizens

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Citizens and public sector workers share a common goal: to improve public services that impact quality of life. And digital adoption can help government agencies reach this goal.

In an age of hyper-connected citizens, what path should government agencies take to adopt new technologies?

Today’s hyper-connected cities have established the vision of connected citizens as a citywide strategic goal of every agency, department, and service the city delivers to residents in their city. These cities communicate effectively with citizens through multiple channels and consider digital connectivity to be the key to citizen engagement. To stay connected to citizens, cities are starting to appoint chief citizen experience officers (CCXOs), responsible for the end-to-end experience of citizens, ensuring that city websites, call centers, social media accounts, and mobile apps are designed with the citizens’ needs and values in mind.

Build Future-Fit Public Sector Organizations With Digitally Aware Leaders

Digital tools have changed dramatically in the past two decades. And the future will bring more changes. How can public sector organizations transform their services with an eye on the growing trends of government technology?

The public sector needs a new breed of empathetic, digitally aware leaders who can challenge long-standing established practices, are willing to listen to others, and embrace failure as a way to learn, grow and have the influence to drive meaningful cultural change. Managing complex digital transformation requires education and reassurance for employees, broad constituent input into solution design, and support from networks of “champions.” Digitally aware leaders embrace a digital mindset using data insights and are innovative and adaptive to change.

Digital transformation is a process, not a one-time occurrence. Innovation and collaboration can both help government agencies plan for the future.

Introduce Agile and Innovative Policies That Target Concerns

Government agencies implement policies to improve public health, communicate vital information, and create thriving communities. Service delivery is a central area where innovative policies can address concerns.

Technology makes it easier to personalize the service delivery process. Data analysis helps agencies identify individual and community needs to create a smooth experience.

Data can also help the public sector take proactive steps such as offering services before people reach out to a government department.

Deliver Rapid Transformation Using Inclusive Digitalization

Inclusiveness is a core value for the public sector. But what is inclusive digitalization?

Digitalization means leveraging data and technology to improve efficiency and effectiveness. And inclusive digitalization means prioritizing inclusiveness throughout the process.

That can mean investing in community digital infrastructure, providing access to devices, and training the public in digital literacy.

Develop Frameworks to Ensure Responsible Use of Data

Government agencies collect and store volumes of data. And implementing data protection frameworks helps public sector organizations protect the public good.

These frameworks can both secure government data and also regulate the use of personal data. Policies that grant people control over their data can boost public confidence in the digital transformation.

In addition to security, government agencies must consider transparency around data use policies. Structures and protocols on data sharing and data rights also improve public trust.

Encourage Public Engagement and Participation

Prioritizing the public buy-in when implementing digital services achieves two goals: it boosts public engagement and it increases participation. Encouraging the public to participate in the process also increases the public investment in digital services.

On the path toward digital adoption, public sector organizations can promote shared decision-making and a participatory process.

Digital tools can help agencies engage with the public through online platforms, as well as social media. Public input also provides valuable data on policy priorities and needs.

Embracing Government Technology and Innovation to Better Serve Your Citizens

hartman government sector technology advisors

By embracing innovations like digital constituent services, public sector organizations can harness the power of technology. And improvements in efficiency and effectiveness translate into a better quality of life for citizens.Hartman Executive Advisors specializes in IT strategy for state and local governments.

Reach out today to discuss digital transformation strategies.


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