Have you ever heard of the expression “at government speed”? I hear it spoken a lot and as you can probably tell, it’s usually not a compliment. Granted, certain aspects of government – the wheels of justice, for example – are expected to turn slower and more deliberatively. That’s by design. But as for the rest, not so much.
Government organizations, while not quite up to speed with their commercial counterparts, are working hard to get up to speed. Today’s commercial omni-channel service delivery is forcing commercial organizations to deliver faster or go the way of the dinosaurs. And although governments aren’t threatened with extinction, they are faced with customers who are smart enough to know “if they can do it, you can do it.” And in government’s case these customers are also shareholders.
A lot of what slows government down is by design. But there are plenty of other factors in play. For example, programs are administered and services delivered largely according to organizational structures that create service siloes. That’s been the biggest technology challenge for governments since they started implementing technology solutions in earnest more than 50 years ago. Initially, they automated to speed up existing manual processes. That application of technology is akin to buying a faster horse and expecting to win the Indy 500. It’s a desirable outcome but not very achievable without a new strategy.
In the past ten years, though, transformative technologies have burst on the scene that are giving governments the ability to transcend speedy silos by converging the technologies of what research firm IDC refers to as the Third Platform. These include social, mobile, cloud and big data technologies.
But how can governments incorporate these simultaneously, incrementally, and without a complete system overhaul? That’s like trying to build a car while driving it. Though it seems daunting, it doesn’t need to be that way. Many are implementing an agile platform to build solutions to meet their immediate needs a piece at a time, while steadily increasing speed. And along the road, they’re beginning to realize the advantages that solution and technology convergence gives them to vastly improve the journey.
The Future of Digital Public Services