Digital Transformation: A Local Government Experience

Digital Transformation:

A Local Government Experience

Today, digital transformation in Local Government has become critical for meeting the expectations of ratepayers and maintaining efficiency across sectors. Governments are undertaking digital transformation journeys to more efficiently, cost-effectively and transparently deliver government services across the country. Technology can improve how local governments interact with and serve their people, but digital transformation is complex, and the journey needs to be approached correctly to avoid potential issues with security and privacy, particularly in an era where privacy and user protection are so highly prioritised.. Finding the right mix of solutions that meet employee needs, meet public demands and work together seamlessly is a daily challenge that IT stakeholders face. Ensuring employees can smoothly adopt new technologies and remain productive is crucial to the outcome, and that can take time, especially considering many government entities are risk averse, and change is often seen more as a liability than an enabler.

So how do Local Governments safely and efficiently adopt new digital technologies available to them?

Cloud Transformation: Using Cloud Applications Securely

Cloud technologies today are considered as secure, if not more so, than traditional software. Technology leaders dedicate more and more time to educating their teams about the latest cloud developments (especially IT leaders), and what security measures are pre-built into cloud technology.

In a 2018 study, Gartner found that the top two drivers of cloud adoption in Government are 1. higher efficiency in the delivery of services and 2. achievement of costs savings.

This is important now more than ever as government agencies are adopting new IT systems and upgrading current ones at a faster rate than ever before. This has created an environment in which modern solutions must be compatible with legacy systems that have been in place for many years and can’t be decommissioned right away. With robust security and data protection being essential in all Local Government sectors, ensuring the correct technologies and processes accompany them is crucial to maintaining a strong security posture throughout.

Using outdated technology lowers productivity in employees, makes for an undesirable end-user experience, and centrally managing users and the required authentication practices across a set of different systems an organisation relies on is a complex task for any IT team.

Using a cloud-based, centralised system for document management, communication and collaboration is the solution for most organisations. These systems support an entirely remote workforce with state-of-the-art security measures in place, and different authorised access levels for different users.

Single Sign-On (SSO) as a Solution

Government applications tend to be broad and varied. One solution may be on-premises and custom, while the next may be cloud-based and provided by an external consultant or vendor. Due to this, it has seemed improbable to find a single sign-on (SSO) solution versatile enough to manage every application in a government agency.

Ratepayers are engaged with multiple Council services requiring numerous portals and credentials in order to log in to their specific member services area. While numerous single sign-on platforms exist in the marketplace, none could be customised in line with Councils requirements and not with the privacy and security standards required by Council.

The Case Study:

To solve this problem, Acclario began by working through a discovery process with Council to understand from their perspective what it was that they required in terms of ease-of-use for ratepayers but also from a privacy and security standpoint. We were then able to document a roadmap for delivering a suitable solution by starting with concept designs and user experience testing to make sure the end user (the ratepayer) would see value in the solution.

As we got closer to an approved UX, we continued to rigorously test the chosen technology footprint to ensure that it would provide a robust and consistent experience for ratepayers and Councils, regardless of traffic load or external data network reliability.

Having reached the point of being able to repeat our technology metrics under various workloads around the clock, we were able to demonstrate to Council how the new custom SSO system functions from both a ratepayer perspective and a Council perspective. Having made a few cosmetic modifications to the system, we were then approved to begin the rollout of the new system.

Employee Adoption: Building Change Advocacy

A people first approach and an opt-in adoption of new technology is crucial to the success of any digital transformation journey. Digital transformation, which impacts people as much as it does the technology we use, demands careful attention to user training and adoption. New systems can mean more training, a requirement for highly skilled development resources, and issues that come with new systems and upgrades.

Automation and implementation of lean, self-service processes which require little or no direct intervention are replacing traditional working methods. Encouraging all employees to find opportunities where technology can improve their roles leads to greater productivity and efficiency, and genuine buy-in from those employees who’ve been a part of the transformation journey.

On the other hand, ratepayers require their local Councils to address complexities and make services intuitive and convenient for them too. Technologies should exist to assist citizens in being self-sufficient, not make their lives harder.

In conclusion

While the advantages of digital transformation are understood by governments, they still find themselves unable to implement new technologies efficiently. Whether the budget isn’t there, or the security concerns are just too severe, government agencies hesitate to make digital upgrades. Government sectors face many challenges and complexities, but technology adoption is gaining great momentum throughout Local Government. Governments all over the world are implementing more sustainable and efficient modes of operating, whether it’s as simple as moving to a paperless application or as complex migrating entire legacy systems into the cloud.

Digital transformation can empower Local Governments to accomplish their initiatives using innovative solutions that save them time while keeping them connected to the people they serve. The process can be overwhelming and downright crippling, but a logical process and systematized schedule for roll out will help alleviate any uncertainty and provide easier to digest milestones rather than relying on faith for a good outcome.

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