Digital Transformation is not just about technology
Digital transformation is a popular buzz phrase in government these days, especially with everyone working remotely during the past few months. COVID-19 has caused incredible disruption to everyone’s lives, both at home and work. Government organizations have very quickly transitioned to new technologies such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and WebEx to help employees connect with one another and the consumers of their products or services.
While the value of these technologies has surely been proven, it is important to understand that the desperate need to work remotely is what sped their fast adoption. Before COVID-19, many government organizations had telework programs, but some were considering rolling back these programs in order to have employees return to the office. In other words, it wasn’t the remote working technology that drove the fast adoption in the government, but the business need.
There are similar examples in the commercial space. Today’s great disrupters like Netflix, Uber and Airbnb are all heavily invested in technology, but that technology was implemented to support a new business model that solved a consumer need that wasn’t being met by traditional means. The technology itself, while innovative, had to be part of a new strategy and business model as well as provide a unique customer experience for its value to be realized.
The meaning of digital transformation is still often confused with emerging technology, cloud computing, or IT modernization. Even the research experts have trouble agreeing on a definition. In a recent report, Digital Rewrites the Rules of Business, Forrester Research states “the reality is that digital transformation has become so widely misused it’s now synonymous with any technology-driven business improvement.”
While all the aforementioned digital technology is critical to enabling transformation, at the end of the day, it’s really about creating value for the taxpayer. To the government, this means providing speed through agility, higher quality and cost-optimized services — faster, better, cheaper — with the least amount of friction for the consumer of the service.
In order to deliver real, pragmatic digital transformation, government organizations must deliver measurable mission outcomes, reduce the time to achieve impact, and mitigate the risk of transformation to the organization. Agencies should consider the following five strategies to help enable successful digital transformation:
These five recommendations should help focus digital transformation on mission value first, which will lead to better customer experiences, streamlined operation and selection of the right digital technology.
Author: Rob Buhrman