Room for improvement in Australian Government's digital transformation

Room for improvement in Australian Government's digital transformation

Digital technologies are disrupting the public sector with only 30 per cent confident they can respond to digital trends

Insufficient funding, too many competing priorities and a lack of overall strategy are some of the barriers holding the Australian government back from a greater adoption of digital transformation, according to a new Deloitte report.

Digital technologies are significantly disrupting the public sector with but less than 30 per cent are confident their organisation can respond to digital trends, the new report, from Deloitte’s Public Sector Research group, The Journey to Government’s Digital Transformation, revealed.

Globally, about 75 per cent of respondents indicated digital technologies were disrupting the public sector with 96 per cent stating it was a significant impact. About 30 per cent said their organisation’s digital capabilities were ahead of their public sector peers and nearly 70 per cent said they were behind the private sector.

On a local scale, about 27 per cent of Australian respondents were confident about their organisation’s readiness to respond to digital trends and 80 per cent said their digital capabilities were behind the private sector.

About 43 per cent said their leadership understood digital trends and technologies, while 80 per cent said digital technologies and capabilities enabled employees to enhance their work with customers.

Deloitte Australia national public sector and healthcare leader, Fran Thorn, said the Australian Federal government has demonstrated it is serious about digital, with the recent establishment of its national Digital Transformation Office.

“But there is also a very compelling argument for more to be done in terms of driving the development and uptake of digital, both in terms of improved access to services and the provision of services at lower cost,” Thorn said.

“The report finds that public sector organisations at the forefront of using digital technologies tend to share a number of common characteristics, including a clear digital strategy, digitally savvy leadership, a workforce with the skills to realise their digital strategy, user-focused design, and a culture conducive to digital transformation.

“Most Australian agencies also use pilots for digital implementation, a deviation from the more pervasive ‘top down from central senior leadership team’ approach, and the barriers to greater adoption of digital transformation should also be noted, with insufficient funding, too many competing priorities and a lack of overall strategy all cited by respondents.”

Thorn said that to accelerate digital transformation, public sector leaders should focus on five major areas such as having a clear coherent digital strategy; being user-centric; having a strong digital-first culture; right tech-savvy workforce skills and approach to procurement and supplier relationships.

The report is based on a survey of more than 1200 government offices from more than 70 countries, including more than 200 in Australia across Federal and state governments.

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