Digital transformation promises to change the face of government functions as we know them, replacing cumbersome bureaucracy with something lighter and decidedly more flexible.
So what exactly does digital transformation in government involve? Fundamentally, it’s about implementing new technologies and keeping them optimized. But it’s also about shifting the culture inside agencies to use government technology in the most extensive and effective ways possible. To put it differently: The users are just as important as the tools.
Government agencies are no stranger to technology, of course. But they’re increasingly becoming “tech-driven” in a way that has a meaningful impact on government employees and all the citizens they serve. For example, some agencies are automating labor-intensive manual workflows. This speeds up the gears of government while freeing up employees to focus on something besides data entry — a classic win-win.
Government digital transformation is also about linking agencies in ways they haven’t been linked before. Technology facilitates data sharing and collaboration so that agencies with overlapping missions can combine resources and improve service offerings. It also allows for data sharing that helps agencies see the big picture when making data-driven decisions.
Much of what makes aspects of government frustratingly inefficient for those who run it and those who depend on it promises to get better thanks to existing and emerging technologies.
But it won’t happen automatically.
It’s never been easy to find the right government technology and great vendors to supply it. There are few options on the market, vendors offer inadequate support, and users have unique needs in terms of privacy and compatibility. For all these reasons and more, agencies often hire consultants specializing in digital services for government entities. These experts then help them select and implement the right technologies.
Working with a provider can resolve many government-related digital transformation challenges, but only as long as they have previous experience in the public sector. In government, a one-size-fits-all approach rarely works; government programs and policies are complex and vary from agency to agency. The key here is to ensure you’re working with a vendor that understands and appreciates the complexities and unique challenges government agencies face. Doing so reduces your agency’s risk and provides systems that are aligned with your mission and business outcomes.
To determine whether you’re working with someone qualified to consult on digital transformation in government, ask these questions during the vetting process:
Working with a provider that has a long, diverse track record in government could not be more important. Government entities have a number of unique features: how they’re organized, what regulations they’re subject to, their appetite for risk, their mission to serve the public good, and so on. This means they’re not just different from the private sector — they’re completely distinct. Only a provider with a demonstrable history in government can guide government partners through the complex process of digital transformation.
When it comes to choosing an IT service provider, you might think to ask about the platforms a vendor has experience implementing for clients. After all, providers that work with a limited number of platforms (or worse, those that claim to know platforms they don’t) can cause problems for their government clients.
However, understanding the provider’s overarching goals is much more important at this stage — not to mention a factor that could make or break your project’s success. Overall, the best IT service providers keep user centricity at the core of every partnership. They should understand your agency’s desired outcomes, keep their work in line with your mission, and have an understanding of each project’s necessary requirements. Besides this, their team should be willing to dig in to truly understand your agency and provide a solution that empowers your team to operate more efficiently and effectively.
Digital transformation efforts in government are doomed to fail if new technologies or practices run afoul of existing transparency and ethical requirements. Providers with prior experience will know how to design government technology initiatives that work within these requirements, helping clients balance the benefits of tech with the rules of good governance.
According to one Deloitte survey of public sector leaders, the vast majority (76%) feel excited about the possibilities brought on by digital transformation in government. Sadly, less than half (41%) feel satisfied with their progress thus far. The right IT service provider and consultant — one with widespread government experience — can help agencies accelerate their transformation and improve the outcome.
At Kyra Solutions, we specialize in the art and science of digital transformation in government, and we’re here to help you set up those technological building blocks. Send a message to our team to schedule a consultation and learn more about how our team of government experts can help your shift toward digital transformation.