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Govts making slow progress with digital initiatives

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Thursday, 13 September, 2018

Govts making slow progress with digital initiatives

Governments in six countries including Australia are making slow progress with their digital transformation initiative, despite digital business ranking high on their agendas, according to a survey from Gartner.

Only 9% of public sector respondents to the survey consider their departments to be at the later stages of digital transformation, where the focus is on scaling up services and on ensuring digital services exceed the value of equivalent non-digital initiatives.

The remaining 91% are at the first three stages, focused on conceiving, designing and delivering digital services.

In addition, only half of government respondents are looking to digital government to support both transformation and optimisation goals. A further third are focused only on optimisation, with the remaining 17% concentrating on transformation.

“The survey results indicate a lack of effectiveness by government organisations at scaling their digital business. We envisage two possible internal barriers — misalignment between digital strategy and business priorities, and lack of urgency and readiness for change,” Gartner Research Director Dean Lacheca said.

“If strategy and ambition are aligned with business priorities, but progress remains elusive, the focus should be on the urgency and readiness of the organisation for digital change. If there is no urgency to act, or if the culture is not ready to accept change, progress will remain slow.”

The survey also shows that over half of respondents are using third-party developers to deliver value to citizens. Government respondents are also pursuing a series of initiatives aimed at improving the digital dexterity of their employees to support their digital ambitions.

But while 48% of respondents believe that improving employees’ digital dexterity is critical to the success of their digital initiatives, 58% have no formal program in place to ensure their workforce has the digital skills needed to achieve this.

“A digital workplace program is the most effective way to bring together a higher standard of workplace technologies with the development of digital skills needed to increase digital dexterity,” Lacheca said.

“Government CIOs should work with HR to assess the current state of digital dexterity and develop an organisation-wide program.”

As well as Australia, the Gartner survey covered the US, Canada, the UK, India and Singapore.

Image credit: ©alphaspirit/Dollar Photo Club

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