Broad digitisation putting govts, firms under tremendous pressure
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Govts need to be able to leverage the enormity of data to make well-informed, data-driven decisions to meet changing needs

By HABHAJAN SINGH / Pic BLOOMBERG

The rapid advance of the digital sphere is impacting corporations, institutions and individuals. Governments are not spared, either.

In fact, governments the world over are under pressure to respond to the rapid changes in technology, and with the advancement of delivery channels not seen before. Some of the platforms were not even captured in their vocabulary just a decade ago.

The digitisation of everything puts governments under tremendous pressure to deliver services quickly and efficiently, noted consulting firms that deal with the area of governments going digital.

It is not merely ensuring the government machinery goes digital. That is just the starting point. The governments have to ensure that the transition to the digital side is done without comprising security and privacy.

Kathy Conrad

Govts also need to be able to move at scale, to meet the rapidly changing needs of customers, says Conrad

“Governments need to be able to leverage the enormity of data to make well-informed, data-driven decision to meet changing needs,” said Accenture Federal Services LLC director for digital government Kathy Conrad.

“Governments also need to be able to move at scale, to meet the rapidly changing needs of customers. We talk a lot about liquid expectations of customers.

“It means that as people experience services in everyday life — purchasing from a web-based retailer, conducting an online banking transaction, booking a ride through Uber or booking a house through Airbnb — that simple, easy, quick experience with commercial brands translates their expectations with the government,” she said in an interview shared on the consulting firm’s website.

Her focus: Delivering digital services and emerging technologies that transform governments to be more customer-centric, data-driven and efficient.

In October 2017, the Malaysian government had announced some details for Malaysia’s digital initiatives implementation, with “Cloud First” for the public sector being one of the strategies.

In a statement then, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak had said the cloud adoption will enable the government to rapidly deliver innovative public sector services to the rakyat, without incurring high levels of capital expenditure to invest in information technology (IT) infrastructure such as data centres, servers and storage.

“This enables the government to allocate resources for more impactful programmes for the rakyat. With this strategy in place, there is no doubt the government is taking the lead in embracing digital transformation,” he added.

Agile Principles

Hence, moving forward, governments will be investing more and more of their resources as they embrace the digital move.

In the US, agencies are seen to be ramping up their investment in agile principles, while businesses are said to be using it to make data available when and where they are needed.

In a nutshell, agile has been described as a time-tested methodology used in IT organisations to build software or manage processes more effectively.

Broadly, it is a collaborative approach in which cross-functional teams design and build minimally viable products and features quickly, test them with customers, and refine and enhance them in rapid iterations, according to an article published by another consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

“Agile data similarly relies on a joint approach to development and delivery: Cross-functional teams, comprising members of business and IT, work in ‘data labs’ that are focused on generating reliable insights, that allow the company to address its highest business priorities and realise positive outcomes quickly,” the article added.

Moving forward, Conrad said the digital trends unleashed thus far are not just on the rise, but have achieved irreversible momentum. The US Congress, for example, has started monitoring the agile implementation under the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act.

“There is also an imperative to reduce risk. Major failures of IT systems have led to the realisation that there must be a better way of designing, developing and implementing systems with less risk and faster time for functional product.

“Agile principle reduces risk, and can identify problems and issues early in the process, so agencies can pivot and address concerns,” she said.