The transition to the digital economy and the advent of innovations, such as cognitive computing and robotics, are transforming nearly every aspect of individuals' and enterprises' lives. Governments that design the right strategy and governance can play and important role for their countries to embrace the benefits of digital transformation.
Government leaders worldwide recognize the value of information technologies for social and economic development. In the late 1990s, the advent of the internet drove them to step up support for technology investment both in the public and private sectors. The goals were to increase overall access to technology for individual and enterprises, grow ecommerce, improve public sector service access and delivery, and spur the growth of new businesses. European governments responded by designing information society actions plans.
These plans had common traits:
- Public investment and support for private investment, for example, through tax credits in infrastructure, particularly broadband connectivity
- Public investment and support for private investment in IT literacy programs
- Support for online services, including ecommerce, internet banking, egovernment, ehealth, and elearning
Notwithstanding the progress, technologies did not always make a deeper impact on society, such as transforming the way governments engaged with its constituents, how students learned, and how businesses created new revenue models. That deeper level of impact was in part due to technology that was not yet fully mature to generate that level of transformation, and in part due to government information society plans that lacked a clear strategic vision of how technology could change long-term outcomes, and clear governance models that allowed them to operationalize the strategy. Technology has now caught up. The transition to the 3rd Platform — mobile computing, social media, cloud computing, and Big Data and analytics (BDA) — is digitally transforming nearly every aspect of individuals' and enterprises' lives. In addition, a new round of technology breakthroughs — robotics, natural interfaces, 3D printing, Internet of Things (IoT), cognitive systems, and next-generation security — is ready to bring further disruption. Digital technologies are compounded by other societal factors that will accelerate digital transformation.
Governments should embrace digital transformation to make a lasting impact at three levels:
- Transforming the administration, by innovating processes, so that they are more integrated with the front-end, more efficient and more agile to respond to change.
- Transforming public services, by offering a seamless omni-channel experience and leveraging data to optimize service value streams across government programs.
- Transforming the country, by enabling citizens and businesses to be more productive and engaged with the social fabric of their community.
Governments that plan to launch new digital transformation strategies for their countries should align strategic vision, people, process, technology and data elements of their digital agendas. Read IDC recent research to learn more (subscription required)