Why Digital Transformation is Imperative for the Public Sector

By Kirsten Oelrich 3 min read

The government sector has traditionally been untouched by the pace of technology and digitalization. Services were slow and inefficient. Citizens too were attuned to sluggish and unresponsive systems. But times have changed.

Citizens today don’t just expect excellence in government services but also in their day-to-day interactions with the government. ‘Customer Experience’ and ‘Omni-channel’ are no longer concepts limited to retail organizations. Great experiences are imperative for users everywhere and governments are no exception.

The challenge before government organizations is formidable − citizens are impatient and don’t want to spend time trying to make sense of their engagement journey. The moment they find a digital service too complicated, they refuse to use it. To meet the expectations of a digitally empowered citizenry, governments must abandon traditional models and adopt a citizen-centric approach.

But how do public sector organizations lugging the traditional baggage of slow and inefficient systems deal with this sudden rise in expectations? How can government agencies relying on legacy processes reinvent themselves to cater to a new generation of citizens?

To govern in a digital society, agencies must equip themselves to deliver personalized and self-managed online services. They must also use citizen data to craft relevant experiences and deliver services proactively. They need to put themselves in the shoes of citizens to transform their business and operational models.

Here are 3 imperatives for public sector organizations to become digitally empowered and address the expectations of a new generation of citizens.:

1. End-to-end customer experience

Citizens hate spending time jumping from one government agency’s website to another, trying to find out who can help. When customers find a digital service too complicated or inconvenient, they either use it infrequently — or refuse to use it at all. They want to get their questions answered or their transactions completed in a few simple steps and if they can’t they abandon their journey. Website visitors are like shoppers who’ve grown tired of visiting a different store for each item they need.

2. Enterprise-wide data management

Data is the backbone of personalized customer experiences. However, most government organizations are still in the early stages of integrated data management. Public sector enterprises must implement better data sharing mechanisms – whether it involves centralizing IT services to create an integrated suite of applications creating a central repository from which all the agencies draw data as needed for their own activities. Government organizations can also create links through application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow different systems to share data.

3. Enterprise-wide identity management

Most government enterprises lack an effective mechanism to identify and manage disparate information about citizens, using data such as passwords, smart cards, and biometrics. They must also ensure that the data is tagged and secured so that only the right users have access. Unfortunately, these elements rarely come together in a way that seems convenient or logical to the end user, whether it’s a citizen, a business. The magnitude of the problem is enormous − citizens typically can’t file their taxes without re-entering information several times and agency employees are often locked out of buildings because ID information is not managed centrally. These disconnects can only be addressed through enterprise-wide identity management.

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Kirsten Oelrich

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Kirsten Oelrich