How to Successfully Achieve Digital Transformation in Government

The following is an excerpt from GovLoop Academy’s recent course, “Protected: Moving from Digital Disruption to Digital Transformation.”

Digital transformations in government are not easy or automatic — they are a journey. Still, tools and methods are available to accelerate strategic planning and execution, while providing a means to improve user experiences and maximize resources. But how can an agency skillfully achieve digital transformation?

Today, most government organizations are pursuing digital solutions to meet new citizen and employee demands. Citizens want the same accessibility and ease of use in government solutions as they get from the private sector, and they want customer service, delivered anytime, anywhere.

Also, public servants increasingly expect their government jobs to have the same perks and efficiencies as jobs in the private sector – things like “bring your own device” programs, the ability to telework, and new platforms to make working easier.

Collectively, the effort to meet these rising expectations is called digital transformation, but many agencies are struggling to implement these changes.

“When agencies try to start their digital transformation, they encounter many obstacles,” said Chris Steel, Chief Architect at Software AG Government Solutions. “Agencies may find applications that have been connected in a point-to-point architecture or have file transfer requirements with partners, vendors and other agencies over different protocols and with different file formats.”

Also, large financial or enterprise resource planning systems are difficult to integrate and some existing web applications have scalability and security issues. When those obstacles arise, digital transformation ends up looking more like digital disruption.

Many times, an agency decides to move to the cloud to create better virtual environments and digital services. It may start by offloading select services of their case management tools, but when they make those moves, they run into issues connecting those applications to their on-premise environment and addressing the security implications.

Then, they may consider increasing mobility, but mobile interfaces require connectivity and management. In an effort to address these emerging needs, they inevitably add more connections and security risks.

This is coupled with the introduction of the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearables that create more ways to connect users to your digital systems, but they add even more endpoints to your network, which are difficult to protect.

To combat these growing vulnerabilities and connectivity issues, the agency will invest in big data analytics approaches to monitor their systems, but most of those solutions are limited to historical analysis. They are not successfully correcting new problems, and they will likely run into scaling challenges as mobile devices and IoT sensors start generating significantly more traffic than the installed infrastructures were designed to handle.

Once the agency has accrued multiple endpoints, security controls, and other technologies that were supposed to transform the organization, and bring it into the digital age, it has become a costly and complex patchwork of systems that’s harder to manage and update. That is digital disruption.

While many agencies experience this scenario, digital transformation can be achieved in government. It’s a complex journey, but tools and methods are available to accelerate overall strategic planning and execution, while providing a means to improve user experiences and maximize resources.

To learn more about the tools and methods that help agencies better plan and execute digital initiatives while improving user experiences and maximizing government resources, sign up for the full GovLoop Academy training.

In our course, we help agencies answer questions by exploring what digital transformation looks like and – more importantly – how to get there. We explain how digital platforms can help agencies achieve innovative goals, and walk through the five key components to building that secure digital platform.

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