Technologies that enable new service models for digital government must be at the top of the list for government organisations as they prioritise technology investments.
Gartner has identified the 10 most important technology trends for government in 2015 in order to help CIOs and IT leaders assess critical strategic technologies and plan their enterprises' or agencies' IT roadmaps.
Spending by national, federal and local governments worldwide on technology products and services is forecast to decline 1.8 percent from $439 billion to $431 billion in 2015, growing to $475.5 billion by 2019.
Gartner research director Rick Howard said organisational culture, legacy IT systems and business processes, stretched IT budgets, and the lack of critical IT skills are among the inhibitors for government CIOs when evaluating and selecting new technology or sourcing options.
“Public sector CIOs can gain support for digital innovation from public officials and administrators by explaining digital innovation in terms of business priorities and presenting relevant examples of what the consumer service industry or other digitally savvy government agencies have done, how they have done it, and what the results have been," Howard says.
“These strategic technology trends have substantial disruptive potential that is just beginning to materialise and will reach an inflection point within the next three to five years.
“Public sector CIOs can capitalise on the value of these trends by first determining how they will impact government program operations or service delivery models, and then by building the organisational capabilities and capacity needed to support them.”
1) Digital Workplace
The government workforce of the future will be populated with digitally literate employees, from frontline workers to top-level executives.
The digital workplace is open, flat and democratic. It is the organisational manifestation of open government. CIOs and IT leaders must take a leadership role in building a more social, mobile, accessible and information-driven work environment.
2) Multichannel Citizen Engagement
Government jurisdictions with multiple channels (municipal offices, physical mail correspondence, contact centres, e-government websites and mobile apps) are struggling to provide their citizens with one coherent view of the enterprise.
A multichannel strategy, in the context of digital government, means more than delivering a seamless experience to stakeholders. It also is about delivering interactions that are connected, consistent, convenient, collaborative, customised, clear and transparent.
To produce those outcomes, policymakers and CIOs must radically redesign service models by combining traditional marketing tools (such as focus groups, user experience labs, surveys and stakeholder analysis) with new approaches (such as citizen co-creation initiatives, agile development and design thinking).
3) Open Any Data
The number and variety of public-facing open datasets and Web APIs published by all tiers of governments worldwide continue to increase. Gartner's view is that government open data is here to stay, but it will take a decade or more before its maximum utility is realised.
The rapid growth of open datasets among early mover organisations and flat or declining budgets create sustainability challenges to government open data programs. Open data is not free.
For most government agencies, open data programs are an unfunded or underfunded cost centre.
The "value" of open data must become tangible to government in terms of how its availability can quantifiably contribute to operational efficiency or effectiveness, let alone how it supports economic development, national productivity or commercial ventures.
Gartner predicts that by 2018, more than 30 percent of digital government projects will treat any data as open data.
4) Citizen e-ID
Citizen electronic identification (e-ID) refers to an orchestrated set of processes and technologies managed by governments to provide a trusted domain for how public services will be accessed by citizens on any device or through any online channel (Web, mobile devices or applications) - and, in some cases, using smart card readers attached to PCs or kiosks.
It has been a long-standing yet elusive goal of many government planners to provide citizens with integrated and seamless access to all government services.
To be successful, citizen e-ID programs require a trusted relationship between government and commercial vendors, with a focus on business value, interoperability and user experience.
Regardless of whether a government agency serves as the primary citizen e-ID identity broker or contracts with a commercial identity and access management as a service (IDaaS) provider, CIOs must ensure that personal privacy and data confidentiality requirements are met.