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Government Digital Transformation Strategy: 2024 Trends

Shari Ingerman, Appian Public Sector
February 19, 2024

A government digital transformation strategy refers to a comprehensive plan and set of initiatives aimed at leveraging digital technologies to enhance the overall efficiency, effectiveness, and responsiveness of government services and operations. Its aim is to change the way government agencies operate, interact with citizens, and deliver services. 

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What are the federal government’s digital transformation goals?

According to a Gartner® survey of government CIOs,1 government CIOs have several strategic objectives for 2024. These include:

  • Ensuring compliance and minimizing risks.

  • Enhancing the citizen experience.

  • Increasing human capital effectiveness.

Let’s dive deeper into these.   

Ensuring compliance and minimizing risks in federal government IT is crucial for national security, protecting citizen data, maintaining operational continuity, and upholding financial accountability. It is essential to adhere to legal and regulatory requirements, build public trust, and facilitate collaboration between agencies. Measures include:

  • Implementing security policies.

  • Conducting regular audits.

  • Providing employee training.

  • Employing advanced technologies such as encryption and access controls to safeguard sensitive information. 

Overall, these efforts contribute to a resilient, secure, and trustworthy government IT infrastructure.

Enhancing the citizen experience is a strategic objective in government digital transformation. After all, the core mission of government is to serve the public effectively and efficiently. Citizens increasingly expect user-friendly and accessible digital government services, similar to the experiences the private sector provides. Improving the user experience through digital transformation not only boosts constituent satisfaction but also promotes transparency, inclusivity, and accountability. 

Streamlining processes, reducing costs, and leveraging data-driven insights further contribute to creating a positive user experience—fostering trust, improving efficiency, and ensuring that government services are accessible, responsive, and aligned with the evolving expectations of the public.

Increasing human capital effectiveness is a critical goal of government digital transformation initiatives. investing in the training and development of government employees ensures employees possess the digital skills needed to proficiently implement and manage emerging technologies. This approach not only enhances overall productivity but also minimizes the need for external consultants, contributing to long-term cost savings. 

A digitally competent workforce enhances service delivery, facilitates innovation, and supports the overarching objective of delivering efficient and citizen-centric digital services.

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Government digital transformation strategy: top priorities.

According to the 2024 Gartner CIO survey, to achieve their digital transformation goals, government CIOs and IT leaders plan to invest in the following areas:

1. Cloud platforms.

Migrating services to the cloud remains the number one priority for IT leaders seeking to enhance the user experience, improve efficiency, and lower costs. By transitioning services and data to cloud platforms, government agencies can provide citizens with more accessible and user-friendly digital interactions.

Cloud-based services enable the deployment of scalable and flexible IT resources, allowing agencies to adapt quickly to changing citizen needs. This adaptability enhances service delivery, responsiveness, and overall citizen satisfaction. Additionally, cloud platforms streamline processes, promoting operational efficiency by reducing the time and resources required for infrastructure maintenance and upgrades. 

The pay-as-you-go model of cloud computing helps lower upfront costs, making it a cost-effective solution for governments aiming to optimize resource allocation. Overall, cloud implementation empowers government IT to deliver better citizen experiences, improve operational efficiency, and achieve cost savings, contributing to a more responsive and citizen-centric public sector.

[ Watch an overview about the FedRAMP- and FISMA-authorized Appian Cloud, and download this backgrounder to learn about the secure, IL5-authorized Appian Government Cloud. ]

2. Cybersecurity.

Investing in cybersecurity is instrumental in ensuring compliance and minimizing risks by safeguarding sensitive government data and systems from potential threats and unauthorized access. A robust cybersecurity infrastructure helps government agencies adhere to regulatory requirements and protects against security breaches. 

Cybersecurity is also integral to improving the experience for citizens, who entrust the government with their personal data. A secure digital environment fosters public trust by assuring citizens that their information is handled responsibly. 

Lastly, investing in cybersecurity enhances human capital effectiveness by providing the necessary training and tools for government employees to navigate and mitigate cyber threats. A skilled and cyber-aware workforce is essential for preventing security incidents, contributing to a resilient and effective government IT ecosystem. 

3. Artificial Intelligence (AI).

AI technologies can help governments ensure compliance and minimize risks by automating complex processes associated with regulatory adherence and risk assessment. AI-powered analytics can enhance the detection of potential security threats, thereby bolstering the resilience of government systems. 

Artificial intelligence plays a pivotal role in improving the citizen experience by streamlining services, automating routine tasks, and providing personalized interactions. Chatbots and virtual assistants driven by AI can enhance citizen engagement, offering prompt and accurate responses to inquiries. 

[ Download Implementing Private AI: A Practical Guide to learn how to gain all the benefits of AI tools without compromising security. ]

AI also contributes to increasing human capital effectiveness by automating repetitive tasks, allowing government employees to focus on more strategic and complex responsibilities. This shift toward AI-driven efficiency not only optimizes workforce capabilities but also positions government IT to address emerging challenges effectively.

4. Low-code development platforms.

Low-code is a software development methodology that allows organizations to build applications with visual, drag-and-drop tools. It accelerates application development because it reduces the need to write code. Importantly for government environments, enterprise-grade low-code platforms can unify data and processes across the enterprise, extending the life of existing systems and technology.  

[ Learn how a low-code platform can unify and extend existing technology in the government ecosystem. Download the whitepaper now. ] 

Powerful low-code platforms like the Appian Platform can streamline workflows fast. They unify people and automation technologies like robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), intelligent document processing (IDP), and business rules to simplify even the most complex processes. This combination unleashes power, speed, and savings for government organizations and brings digital transformation within reach. What’s more, the automation achieved through low-code platforms frees people to perform the higher level cognitive tasks they are best equipped for, rather than wasting time on tedious work that’s better suited to machines.

The composable nature of these applications—where workflows are designed using modular building blocks—enables reusing modules in new applications, further speeding development and deployment. Modular components developed and paid for by one agency—dubbed government-off-the-shelf, or GOTS, software—can therefore be adopted by other agencies and customized to their needs. This dovetails nicely with the government directive to increase collaboration among agencies.

Using working, vetted applications coincides with CIOs’ goal of minimizing risk. It also enables agencies to use their human capital more wisely and meet citizen needs faster. Read how sharing composable software is saving resources for government agencies.

Government digital transformation strategy goes beyond technology.

Achieving real change through digital transformation requires more than just the adoption of new digital platforms and technologies. Government agencies need to build a strong digital culture that encourages innovation, collaboration, and optimizing processes to drive comprehensive changes throughout the enterprise. They need to think and act like a digital organization, much like companies in the private sector do. In digital government, this culture should be based on a shared vision for modernization and a commitment to leveraging digital capabilities to improve public services and enhance constituent engagement.

To modernize your organization, start with a low-code platform that automates processes with AI, offers composable application design, and keeps your data secure. Download the 2023 Gartner Critical Capabilities report to read insights on 17 low-code platform vendors, with in-depth technical analysis and use case charts.

1 Gartner, 2024 Planned Technology Spend for CIOs in U.S. Federal Government and Defense infographic

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