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Government IT needs to aim higher

There is a shift in how government business is approaching processes, with a number of key trends looking to shake up the government technology market in 2016. 

That’s according to technology analyst firm Ovum, who says most governments will need to stretch higher to deliver integrated, citizen-focused services. 

According to Ovum’s 2016 Trends to Watch report on Government Technology: 

•    Many agencies are moving past e-government, automating existing processes, and toward digital government, where new processes of government are developed. •    Cost-effective end-user analytics tools can make evidence-based policy achievable. •    Agile government IT organisations require agile supporting business processes. •    Citizen identity is critical to seamless digital government services.

“First-generation e-government initiatives focused on automating existing government processes. We are now seeing a shift to rethinking the business of government and linking processes to deliver a digital experience,” explains Al Blake, principal analyst, Public Sector at Ovum and author of the report.

Blake says that in most cases the technically easy options have been delivered. “Does the world need any more ‘fix my pothole’ apps?,” he asks.

“While ‘evidence-driven policy’ has often been an aspirational goal, a number of technical developments are bringing it closer to reality,” Blake says.

“The increasing availability of massive processing power, coupled with intuitive end-user interfaces and ‘pay as you go’ delivery offerings, puts analytical capabilities at the fingertips of policy-makers and planners that would have been unthinkable a few years ago,” he explains. 

“This is a real game changer.”

However, the report highlights that responding to the demands of citizens and politicians for faster results requires organisation-wide change.

“There is not much point in having an agile IT unit if your procurement, recruitment, and budgeting processes still take months,” says Blake.

“Critical to the delivery of next-generation seamless services is solving the digital identity challenge, an issue closely linked to culture,” he continues. 

“Many countries, with a history of paper ID systems, cannot understand what the fuss is about, while others have been politically burned trying to introduce such systems and have to manage citizen suspicion and pushback,” Blake explains. 

“Countries that resolve that challenge sooner will move ahead of the pack in digital government,” he adds.

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