It is easy to see change as an event. Something happens and things are different, like you walked through a door into an entirely different environment. Government IT knows this type of change well. Change is predictable and has a calendar all its own based on elections and appropriation cycles. You know when to expect this type of change and after one or two cycles you learn how to deal with it.
However, that approach breaks down in a time of rapid change and that’s where we all find ourselves. For government IT people, elections still matter of course. But, change of one type or another – large, small, in-between – happens all the time. It doesn’t follow a calendar and if you wait for an event to happen you will find yourself running from one event to the next, never getting oriented and struggling to accomplish anything in a shifting landscape.
Perhaps that’s one reason 78 percent of the government IT staff surveyed around the world told DeLoitte that they see digital technology disrupting government. “Disruption” isn’t really a user friendly word, but it can serve as a wakeup call when you hear it. I think it speaks to an understanding that our approaches from the past simply don’t work anymore.
We need a new way to orient ourselves to what’s happening in IT. What we are really talking about is new technology that can improve procurement processes, service delivery systems and regulatory monitoring regimes. These are all public goods even if they involve changes in the way government works. And if digital technology can deliver them, governments need to adapt their entire perspective of change in an era of Digital Transformation.
Change is more journey than event today. Motivations for this road trip might start with cost or budget drivers. Yet, any progress at all on this path of efficiency leads to much more profound discoveries. It’s more than just fiscal pressures driving government to change. Consumers are changing their habits and the funny thing about consumers is that they’re also citizens.
Tech-savvy citizens have demanded that government at the local, state or federal level raise its digital game. Citizens are used to interacting with a wide range of services that know them personally, streamline their lives and help them achieve their goals, even anticipate what they need. The interfaces for dealing with our consumer lives are everywhere, on our desktops, in our pockets and they create an on-demand world of convenience.
Yet, with all this digital capability in our consumer lives, we all know the frustrations of standing in line at the DMV when we act as citizens. In many cases, we can order and accept shipment of a gizmo from the web more easily than we can exercise some of our fundamental rights as citizens. That disparity of experience is the issue that concerns the ultimate customer of government services – the citizen.
Citizens have been on a digital journey for many years now. Leading governments are adopting this journey approach to service delivery, procurement and collaboration.
In the coming weeks, I will share some of CenturyLink’s observations about this journey as well as the experience of some government customers at different levels of local, state and federal jurisdictions. Journeys require long-term goals and a plan to meet certain milestones – a stopping point to gas up or stretch your legs – instead of passing through a doorway or gate and suddenly finding yourself somewhere else. Journeys require infrastructure and vehicles – platforms or the cloud, for instance – and traveling companions who can help keep you on track or even take over some of the driving when necessary.
So, strap in and turn up the radio.
And if you’re ready to start your journey, call or click here to set up a free consultation.