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Government Digital Transformation Strategy: 3 Best Practices

Shari Ingerman, Appian Public Sector
March 23, 2023

The world has increasingly digitized as a result of the pandemic, and citizens and federal agency stakeholders expect the public sector to offer the same level of responsiveness and digital innovation as the private sector. The rapid pace of technological change has forced governments to transform their traditional systems and processes into digital platforms that are more efficient, effective, and responsive. 

Digital transformation requires careful planning, execution, and evaluation to ensure that it delivers the desired outcomes. The first step in establishing a government digital transformation strategy is to establish clear goals and objectives. These goals should be aligned with the overall mission and vision of the government agency, and they should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

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Government digital transformation strategy: 3 keys to success.

Consider these best practices that can help public sector organizations develop and implement an effective digital transformation strategy: 

1. Build a strong digital culture.

A digital government strategy is not just about technology; it’s also about people. In addition to providing employees with the right tools, government agencies need to build a strong digital culture that encourages innovation, collaboration, and continuous improvement. This culture should be based on a shared vision for modernization and a commitment to leveraging digital technology to improve public services and enhance constituent engagement.

By adopting a digital-first or mobile-first approach, agencies can deliver services to constituents in a more accessible, convenient, and user-friendly way. This involves designing digital services that are optimized for mobile devices and providing constituents with easy access to government services through web portals, mobile apps, and other digital channels. This approach also helps to improve the citizen experience and increase engagement and satisfaction by empowering people to access public services anytime and anywhere.

2. Embrace agile methodologies and automate processes.

Agile methodologies, combined with low-code development platforms and cloud services, can help agencies accelerate their digital transformation efforts and deliver value to constituents more quickly. Agile methodologies are based on an iterative and incremental approach to software development that involves close collaboration between developers and stakeholders. By embracing agile methodologies, public sector IT organizations can respond quickly to changing requirements and regulations and meet the agency’s needs.

At the same time, agencies are using process automation to improve digital transformation strategy. By automating processes, agencies can streamline operations, reduce costs, and improve efficiency. Automation can help to eliminate manual processes, reduce errors, and improve data accuracy. 

Automation can also help free up staff time, allowing government employees to focus on higher-value and more innovative tasks. Additionally, automation can help to ensure that public services are delivered in a consistent and timely manner, enhancing constituent trust and confidence in the government's ability to deliver quality services.

3. Improve data architecture using data fabric.

Data is a critical asset in digital transformation. By better leveraging data, agencies can gain insights into citizen needs and preferences, monitor performance, optimize service delivery, and make better decisions overall. Additionally, they can use data analytics to measure the impact of digital transformation initiatives and detect and prevent fraud, waste, and abuse, further enhancing accountability and transparency.

The problem is, many agencies store data in multiple, disparate systems, and these long-standing data silos make it difficult to analyze data holistically. New technologies like data fabric can unify data across on-premises and cloud systems, improving efficiency, transparency, and decision making. Data fabric helps agencies connect data, not just collect it, even across legacy systems that have long impeded digital transformation progress.

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