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Digital Transformation In the Public Sector: The challenges with implementing change

Digital Transformation In the Public Sector: The challenges with implementing change

13 days ago By Emily Harris
Digital Transformation In The Public Sector Blog Image

Like a lot of sectors across Australia, the public sector is making a considerable effort to be on the right side of digital transformation. In this year’s federal budget it was announced that the Morrison Government would be investing almost $1.2 billion in Australia’s digital future through the Digital Economy Strategy. The strategy outlines policies and actions the government is taking to grow Australia’s future as a modern and leading digital economy by 2030, and aims to deliver better services with greater flexibility, more responsive policy, less red tape, all enhanced by digital technology[1] (Australian Government, 2021). 

A key focus of the Digital Economy strategy moving forward is investing in jobs, with the Morrison Government already moving forward with initiatives to build Australia’s capability in artificial intelligence, programs to grow Australia’s digital workforce (including work-based digital cadetships) and creating investment incentives and tax offsets to support Australian businesses investing in the global game development market (Australian Government, 2021). A key portion of the strategy relevant to those within the public sector, was the federal government’s pledge to enhance government services. During May’s federal budget it was announced that $200.1 million will be invested into overhauling myGov, in order to make it easier for Australians to find the services they need, as well as a $301.8 million investment to enhance the My Health Record platform and an expansion of the digital identity system (Australian Government, 2021). 

While these incentives promise convenience, efficiency and greater accessibility for community members who need to use government services, successfully overhauling a complex system like MyGov or My Health Record will require a lot of time and resources. Because, while it’s obvious a project like this requires software engineers to build the platform, it also requires a project manager to help oversee the project as a whole and make sure deadlines are being met, network and technical support analysts to help with troubleshooting, testing and monitoring and support staff that can help with the transferal of data from one system to another. Not to mention the service operators, who will need to be trained and competent in using the new and improved system once finalised, so they can then provide support and assistance to the general public. 

The overhauling of MyGov is just one example of the extent of IT resources that are required for any significant organisational transformation. Because as we move towards a digital economy, technology has become the linchpin on which many organisations grow and thrive. With any significant change or new process being implemented across local council or state government, there is new technology at the forefront of that change. This technology needs to be integrated with existing platforms in a way that doesn’t cause significant logistical issues and halt overall productivity. Managing this change is no easy feat, as not only does it require overseeing the tangible factors -the actual building and ‘renovating’ of a system or process- but it also requires ensuring staff are onboard with these changes. After all, employees are the ‘end user’ when it comes to implementing a new system within the workplace and if they aren’t properly trained or believe the new system or process will improve things, change will never successfully be implemented[2] (The Society for Human Resource Management, 2017). 

Especially as the initiatives set within the Morrison Government’s Digital Economy strategy roll-out, the priority for the public sector will be to support and reskill existing staff for the digital era, as well as further attracting talent with digital expertise. For those already in the IT arena, the age of digital transformation presents a unique opportunity as your specific skill set has never been more in demand. Consequently, in order to prepare for this demand and to become indispensable to employers, global consultancy group KPMG suggests that IT professionals focus not just on the hard skills relating to their specific profession (data analytics, UX/UI Design, network and information security etc.) but to also learn and develop their leadership, communication and problem-solving skills which are all essential components of change management[3] (KPMG, 2020). Because, as organisations within the public sector continue to overhaul processes and transition from legacy systems to newer technology, a key role for IT professionals will not only be on monitoring and building these new processes, but educating and communicating to the greater staff why these processes are being used, how these processes are changing and ultimately, leading the team through the adoption of a new system or technology.

Focusing on these soft skills in addition to your more specific ‘technical’ knowledge will ensure you’re an asset to any organisation and boost your competitive edge as a candidate, in what is becoming a very exciting time for the public sector. 

CONTACT US 

To find out more about the current IT opportunities within the Public Sector, you can visit our job page here, or contact our dedicated IT consultant Cheri Randell. Cheri works with a number of government organisations and local councils wanting to update and modernise their systems and technology and therefore knows what they're looking for in candidates to help oversee these transitions. Reach out to her today on:

Email: cheri@publicsectorpeople.com.au

Phone: 0466 699 297

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  [1] Australian Government. (2021). A Modern Digital Economy To Secure Australia’s Future. Retrieved fromfromhttps://www.pm.gov.au/media/modern-digital-economy-secure-australias-future

[2] The Society for Human Resource Management. (2017). Managing Organisational Change. The Society for Human Resource Management. Retrieved from: https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/toolkits/pages/managingorganizationalchange.aspx 

[3] KPMG. (2020). The Future Of Local Government. KPMG. Retrieved from: https://home.kpmg/au/en/home/insights/2021/08/future-of-local-government.html 

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