Can Digital Transformation Help Government Organisations Evolve?

Government organisations such as public services and law enforcement are often seen as static and resistant to change. This resistance to evolving comes from the inertia brought on by the size of typical government institutions, alongside the lack of a profit motive which often forces change on a commercial organisation. How then can government organisations kickstart change? Digital transformation holds the key.

By Definition, Digital is Different

The phrase digital transformation was coined as it emerged that digital technology had an enormous capacity for changing large organisations such as enterprise and government. Adopting digital technology implies change because technology modifies how organisations function. This change can kick-start a long-term evolution in static organisations such as government entities.

For example, digital transformation can have a real impact on the ability of a government organisation to innovate while also ensuring that government organisations adopt more agile working methods. With modern digital systems, government organisations can be nimbler and more responsive to the needs of citizens. In essence, digital technology removes barriers to evolution.

In fact, digital transformation can significantly change the culture of an organisation, including governments. Government institutions can have rigid cultures, but this rigidity is challenged when digital technology disrupts old methods of working. Indeed, the way in which digital transformation introduces change can kick-start the evolution of a government organisation.

Efficiencies from Digital Can Be Invested in Change

Changing a large organisation can be costly. Many institutions avoid large structural changes because they are aware of the costs involved – whether in laying off staff or in setting up new processes and departments. Digital transformation can lend a helping hand.

The cost savings introduced by digital transformation can be a game-changer. With modern technology, inefficient processes are rebooted, cutting out unnecessary labour and other expenses. For government organisations this means reduced costs throughout the process of servicing citizens needs.

In turn, the cost savings can be deployed to execute more fundamental change inside of government organisations. Whether it is to pay for qualified consultants, hire new staff or even the acquisition of further technology solutions, the savings brought on by introducing digital transformation can enable organisational change.

How to Ignite Change in Government Organisations

It is easy to argue that digital transformation is the key to unlocking change in government organisations but triggering a digital transformation process is no easy matter. We suggest that governmental organisations consider these steps:

  • Be sure to collaborate. As we noted earlier, government institutions are known to be resistant to change. To affect change via digital transformation government organisations must start a collaborative project extensively involving both employees inside the organisation and stakeholders outside, indeed including other government institutions.
  • Start with small changes. The last thing leaders want is for staff and senior government personnel to baulk at large, sudden attempts at digital transformation. Large changes also carry a greater risk of failure. Instead, coax the process of change by starting with successful, smaller changes that prove the worth of digital transformation.
  • Look for end-user benefits. Change can be easier if the public is on board. Attempt to prioritise the processes and operations that benefit citizens. With support from the users of government services leaders will find it easier to motivate for further, larger, deeper changes.

Essentially, embracing digital transformation can be the first step to change in government organisations. Because digital can so fundamentally alter the makeup of an organisation even a small starting point can trigger tremendous change. Leadership at government institutions are well-advised to make a start at digital transformation sooner rather than later.

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