Ronald Reagan once said, “The nine most terrifying words in the
English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to
It is always amusing (if slightly controversial) to
start public sector IT presentations off with this quote, but it
sets the tone, gets the blood flowing and it helps convey a sense of
how (we very much hope) that time has passed.
are changing. All around the world we see public
administration bodies being compelled to reinvent themselves, become
more dynamic and embrace all of the cloud-driven, often
mobile-first, technologies that will ultimately lead them towards a
new point of digital transformation.
Governments have to do
this, because governments have to now reshape to serve connected
smart-city societies, where individuals expect intuitive
consumer-level interactions with every public service that they come
into contact with.
Governments can no longer afford to be
seen as slow moving, bureaucratic behemoths slowed down by the
weight of their own red tape.
A fundamental reinvention at the core
proactive, forward-looking bodies, governments realise that they
must now reinvent themselves at the core. This requires a shift
towards digitally transformative technologies that will elevate back
office processes, operations processes and commercial processes into
a new digital space.
That new digital space is perhaps
unsurprisingly driven by cloud computing – and in 2018, with the UK
G-Cloud Digital Marketplace now established, there should be no
misgivings about the use of the cloud computing as a public data
But government digital transformation isn’t just
about moving existing systems to the cloud computing model. It is
also all about using a new digital fabric to innovate for the
future. Not always the type of thing you expect the public sector to
talk about, this is where new products and services are developed
and brought online, new public-private channels are forged and new
business models and cemented.
The UK government has digitally
progressed exceptionally well in relation to some other contemporary
first world economies. As we now look to the UK’s digital government
future and further afield, we can see new innovations, such as
micro-transactions over social media channels like WhatsApp, being
used to perform a certain number of public services.
look at the pressure that the commercial world is putting on user
experience, government is now having to understand how fickle
consumers are today in relation to the way they are using their
phone provider, utilities suppliers and even services such as Uber.
This is the transformative shift that government must now embrace.
The use of public services has to be efficient, always-on,
collaborative, intuitive and perhaps even fun.
aware that citizens can now form an invaluable information channel
for government to use to operate with and improve service delivery
in public sector. This can all be channelled towards populating a
service portal so that all services can be managed from a holistic,
Four factors in every service
If we consider what a
service (any service, governmental or otherwise) relates to and is
composed of, we know that all services are actions designed to:
- Get help.
- Make a request.
- Make a
- Provide a user with knowledge and advice.
In real terms, these four elements manifest themselves in any
number of things, like visitor building registration processes for
example, which are typically forms-based applications. This is the
type of process that typically takes up to much time and manual
effort inside any given organisation – and these are the kinds of
things we can build within the ServiceNow platform in as little as
We can then take that information from our
forms-based applications forward and start to apply anomaly
detection models to work out who should be where at what time so
that we can analyse what kinds of workflow patterns are playing out
across the business.
At this level we now see a lot of peer
benchmarking where ServiceNow customers are using anonymised data in
specific industry verticals to see how fast, for example, a
financial services organisation would be able to fix and outage or
fulfil a service request. If we can start to bring these new types
of actionable analytics to bear then we can start to make the
following type of judgement:
- I know how (a public
ministry or agency) performs historically.
- I know how it
is performing currently due to service portal analytics.
- I know how other similar operations across peer review
benchmarks are performing.
- I know where this departments
need to get to operationally.
- I know what types of
strategic business action you need to take next.
A wide adoption curve
On the total all-industry path
to digital transformation we see chemical firms alongside oil and
gas organisations and utilities all at the slow end of the curve. At
the other ‘born in the cloud’ end of the curve we see tourism,
banking and media at the most innovative business operations.
Government can use the breadth of this viewpoint as a measure to
take individual ministries, and the sub-agent divisions that compose
them, to strategically plan and build service-centric workflows for
The new era of government digital transformation
will work with a new services taxonomy that underpins service
experience, service delivery and service assurance – all benefiting
from a higher-level fabric of service analytics.
exists to automate business processes faster, more effectively and
more efficiently. As we now help build digital government programmes
far elevated above the data silo architectures of the past, we will
help build a better society, for all societies.