What’s the pace of digital transformation in the public sector?

Government departments have already started their digital transformation journeys. The majority of respondents in our ‘Redesigning Government’s Digital DNA’ survey described the momentum of transformation in their organisation as ‘steady’ or ‘at pace’.

But with around half of respondents feeling that ‘digital by default’ isn’t being achieved and with only 6% saying they’ve completely moved away from legacy infrastructure, there are some questions to be asked about the pace of digital transformation in the Public Sector. 

The benefits of automation

One issue that emerged from our survey is the slow adoption of automation. With automation, Public Sector organisations can gain the capability to not only streamline business processes but also coordinate people, systems and data across teams and departments.

They certainly see its value — 74% of respondents said automation was of ‘medium’ or ‘high’ importance. But when asked what best describes the majority of their current business processes, over 50% said they saw ‘partial’ or ‘slow progress’, revealing that a significant number of organisations are still to explore or see the benefits of automation.

The reason why departments are seeing poor progress could be because government departments are lacking the skills, expertise and vision needed to execute a robust digital transformation project. 

People power

It’s important not to underestimate the importance of people in the digital transformation journey. 74% of respondents said staff resources are a problem when replacing legacy infrastructure and software, while over 50% said cultural resistance to change exists within their organisation.

As new innovations emerge, there’s greater pressure on departments and organisations to introduce new skill sets to the workforce and better ways of working — for example, 72% stated that knowledge transfer is of ‘high importance’.

That’s why it’s critical for government organisations to partner with suppliers like Zaizi who promote knowledge transfer and digital enablement. By upskilling the workforce, organisations can be fully equipped for the changing digital landscape. 

SMEs can also plug the internal resources and skills gap — 73% of respondents stated that working with SMEs was of ‘high or ‘medium’ importance, indicating that the flexibility and value for money SMEs provide is still front of mind.

Cloud and Open Source

It’s encouraging to see that Software as a Service (SaaS) and cloud services are becoming widespread and people are generally confident in their ability to understand and make the most of these relatively new tools. For example, the Home Office recently revealed the benefits of using AWS Cloud, making 40% cost savings by streamlining their operations and, ultimately, providing better services.

Our survey however suggests mixed feelings about the opportunities Open Source has to offer.  Nearly half of our respondents stated that using Open Source is of ‘high’ importance but only 18% take an ‘Open Source First’ approach when it comes to undertaking a digital project.

It may be felt that Open Source will lead to more vulnerabilities but in reality potential threats can be quickly exposed. And it’s actually riskier to remain where we are, constrained by our rigid, proprietary systems. The collaborative nature of Open Source offers not only flexibility but huge savings in both time and money for the Public Sector. 

Check out our in-depth survey report to see findings on other issues government institutions face. 

Our analysis and recommendations look at how the Public Sector can live up to its responsibility of delivering successful digital transformation to improve citizen services, streamline processes and makes savings.

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