Friday, June 10, 2016
When it comes to technology in the public sector, the buzz is all about the power of digital technologies to transform the ways governments operate and deliver services to citizens. Certainly, that shift is real and transformational. What is often left out of that discussion, however, is the need for a modern IT backbone to make the digital revolution possible and to support the ever-increasing need for agility, real-time information, and customization of services. This backbone—or core system—must be able to process large amounts of information reliably, accurately, and securely, as well as maintain the integrity of critical data such as citizen records. Unfortunately, around the world, many core systems are aging and no longer able to meet government needs. And most attempts to modernize these systems fail or yield disappointing results.
The time has come to raise the bar on such efforts. The Boston Consulting Group estimates that “great” modernizations can create value that is two to five times higher than those modernizations that simply come in on time and within budget. That value comes in the form of improved efficiency and effectiveness of the department and more convenient and tailored services for citizens and businesses. Delivering a great modernization, however, requires more than IT competence and basic project-management skills. On the basis of extensive experience in technology-enabled modernizations in both the public and private sectors, we have identified six important actions that government departments must undertake concurrently:
- Transform the business—not just the systems.
- Design and execute for value.
- Select the right delivery approach and partners.
- Establish a proactive, enabled governance capability.
- Actively manage the stakeholder ecosystem.
- Overinvest in the right people and capabilities from day one.
It is not easy to execute well in all areas, but average results are no longer sufficient. Governments must rise to the challenge by setting bold goals and lifting their readiness for execution. Doing so will allow them to engineer a truly great technology transformation.