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What You Don’t Want Digital Transformation to Do

“Digital transformation” may almost be a buzzword, but the road to achieving it isn’t conventional.

State governments are in diverse phases of their transformation journeys today. Some are focused on improving constituent experiences, while others are thinking about modernizing internal tools and services. However ultimately, agencies want to achieve the same outcome: effective, efficient and empathetic services for their residents and customers.

At GovLoop’s online training Wednesday, panelists identified three things you should avoid in your digital transformation journeys, whatever they may look like.


  • John Angus, Deputy Chief Information Officer (CIO), Utah
  • Dan Santangelo, Senior Executive Strategist, State and Local Governments, ServiceNow

Let IT barriers get in the way

As Utah’s Deputy CIO, Angus wants to ensure that IT doesn’t encumber transformation. Once a project is identified and ready to move forward, IT barriers such as security can often get in the way and impede progress.

“I have yet to see IT solve a service delivery problem,” Angus said.

The intent is to allow the experts do what they do best. The team that delivers driver’s licenses know their services significantly better than the IT team, for example. But IT can support their transformation by providing tools and resources once it understands what the delivery team is looking for.

Offer solutions before you understand the problem

However, it’s easy to dive into solutions without fully understanding the problem. For example, sometimes it’s a problem with the process, not the technology. And if you implement a tool without addressing the bad process, you more or less “cement” the process, Angus said.

“Sometimes a great IT solution is not an IT solution,” Angus said.

Take the time to understand pain points to address the emotional components of transformation. There is an emotional impact to change that everyone may not understand or agree to, Santangelo said. The key is to include a variety of people to transformation discussions and remind them of the purpose behind the change.

Stay stuck thinking, “We’ve always done it this way!”

At the end of the day, people aren’t completely averse to change.

“They just need confidence that the change is positive and is going to improve things,” Santangelo said.

When Santangelo worked for the state of Colorado, he had strong leadership and HR teams that built healthy communication around transformation. Making sure you’re communicating the “why” is critical to gaining buy-in.

“Transformation doesn’t mean everyone does something different and does something new,” Santangelo said. “It does mean focusing on positive outcomes and efficiency. And that’s a positive way to go into any meeting with.”

This online training was brought to you by:

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