There’s no getting around it – the government is a big ship to steer.
With employee numbers usually sitting in the millions, trying to effect change at a federal or state government level is understandably slow; hampered by red tape and the crushing weight of responsibility (getting it wrong isn’t really an option when your customer base is an entire nation).
In 2018, Australia’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) issued its bold strategy to become ‘one of the top 3 digital governments in the world by 2025’. But, with 2025 now just a few years away, Gartner’s recent survey findings suggest that the government is still struggling to move quickly, with these top challenges holding back progress on digital transformation projects:
- Organizational silos – rated the top challenge by 23% of government CIOs.
- Risk-averse culture – 17% rated culture and fear of change as a top barrier to progress.
- Lack of IT skills and resources – In line with the current global IT talent shortage, 10% cited IT resources, and an additional 7% listed insufficient digital skills as a major challenge.
- Inability to scale – 55% are failing to scale their digital projects, despite increased spending.
- Technology challenges blocking change – 4% admitted that restrictive technology is holding back digital transformation.
Digital transformation is possible – with a DXP
While these challenges are significant, they aren’t insurmountable. At Squiz, we’ve seen what’s possible when organizations have both the technology and incentive to drive digital transformation quickly. Many of our own customers achieved the ‘impossible’ during the pandemic, with one notable example of a leading Australian university turning around an entirely new online portal for students within a week – built on the Squiz Digital Experience Platform.
In the UK, GOV.UK has become the one-stop online destination for UK citizens, offering whole-of-government services – the result of migrating more than 2,000 websites onto one single platform, over a 10-year period. Last year alone, the UK government estimated saving of £142 million from ‘Digital Teams supporting departments to bring capability in-house and reduce the cost of running IT services.
For governments willing to make the move to a DXP, the gains are significant – from tax-payer savings to useful and simple citizen services. Here's how a DXP can help overcome the government’s biggest digital transformation challenges:
Working across governments, departments and business areas is a common major challenge for federal and state governments. In the US, a recent survey of federal government executives found that one in ten struggle to collaborate between departments.
A DXP is designed to act as a central, single point of reference, where all customer and business information can be easily accessed by staff and surfaced to users. This makes for a better front and back-end experience – particularly critical in government, where users expect to interact with ‘government’ seamlessly, not individual departments.
In order for them to do so, departments need to be able to collaborate seamlessly behind the scenes. A DXP allows inter and intra-department collaboration, supported by configurable permissions, roles, and workflows, and can overcome organizational data silos with streamlined integration services and fast data storage to unify data from multiple sources.
It’s no secret – the public sector tends to err on the side of caution. A study by the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) revealed previously a ‘creeping crisis of risk aversion’ in the Australian government, with only 40% of respondents believing that senior management would support ‘new ideas’. (This same study highlighted that lack of innovation was also a direct cause of a widening digital skills gap in government… see below for more on this).
While there are many contributors to the fear of change within government, a DXP enables teams to work in an agile approach (fast and iteratively) on new projects. With the ability to use templates, pre-configured components, and intuitive tools to spin up new sites and services, the upfront costs and risks are minimized, making business cases for new projects much easier to sell.
When Elizabeth Walter, program director for Digital Procurement Transformation at the Department of Customer Service NSW, and her team needed to launch a new procurement gateway in just 8 weeks, the initial cost assessment came in at $100 million AUD. By breaking the project down into manageable, smaller sprints, completed quickly via Squiz DXP, the team was able to prioritize functionality and prove value to senior management as each phase was delivered.
Lack of IT skills and resources
IT talent shortages and a lack of digital skills are being experienced across the world, in every industry – including government. But while the private sector’s solution is to enter bidding wars for the best candidates, the public sector struggles to compete (in New South Wales, the average salary of a private sector senior developer is $123,000, versus $94,000 for the same role in NSW Government).
Adopting a highly intuitive, user-friendly DXP that even non-tech users can pick up, with minimal training, will enable governments to spread the IT burden across their workforces, free up time for highly skilled (precious) IT teams and empower departments to deliver necessary citizen services.
Inability to scale
Many governments are now offering digital services – but what the Gartner research shows is that very few have gone beyond this. Only 21% of those surveyed are using digital to deliver ‘all critical services’, showing that the majority are still very much in ‘experimentation’ mode when it comes to digital. But, when most governments provide the same set of services for citizens, why reinvent the wheel?
Designed to scale, Squiz DXP enables government teams to spin up new sites based on pre-designed templates (that already meet web and accessibility standards). We even created an Australian Government Website Starter Template for federal, state, and local governments, in partnership with the DTA, enabling departments to eliminate the time, cost, and effort of designing new sites from scratch.
Technology challenges blocking change
Eighty percent of today’s citizens expect to be able to resolve online requests in a single transaction. That’s a difficult expectation to meet even with leading-edge technology; with an outdated CMS – designed to publish content, not deliver services – it’s impossible.
Squiz DXP is an open, fast and flexible platform enabling all levels of government to build digital citizen services and experiences with simple, user-friendly templates, components, and integrations. With the ability to integrate (and easily create new integrations) with the platforms and systems of your choice, Squiz DXP enables governments to adopt best-of-breed technologies, ensuring they can continue to serve citizens, regardless of changing needs and emerging technologies.