March 4, 2021
For local government organizations, the challenges of digital transformation also highlight the opportunity and the value of accelerating their transformation journey. In this article, we touch on the most common challenges and how they can be overcome.
Local governments are currently in a period of momentous change: Digital platforms are rapidly becoming a critical lifeline to streamline and sustain operations, while data is emerging as a powerful asset to drive timely and targeted decision-making. These evolving capabilities are reshaping expectations for all levels of government and redefining the public sector’s role in enabling healthy, vibrant, and thriving communities.
Many government organizations are recognizing the opportunity for citizen-centric service delivery models to expand access, improve public engagement, and spur economic growth. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for public-sector modernization and pushed government organizations to shift services and operations, wherever possible, to a digital environment.
Yet, despite the urgency, many government organizations still lack the robust technology infrastructure required to provide seamless digital experiences for citizens and other stakeholders — particularly at the local level. Looking ahead, local governments must prioritize advancing their digital maturity by identifying stakeholder needs and catering programs and services to deliver a consistent experience.
However, there are numerous internal and external challenges ahead on this digital transformation journey; each having the potential to inflate costs, distort focus, and slow forward progress. Here, we outline some of the most pervasive concerns and recommendations to smooth the path ahead.
Many existing challenges within local governments stem from legacy decisions and historical practices, including maintaining a traditional approach to the management of information technology, including:
Local governments also face increased pressure from citizens, businesses, other levels of government, academic institutions, non-profits, and community organizations, which can slow transformation plans, including:
Lastly, local governments face challenges based on environmental and societal factors, some of which may be specific to their geographical area. A few notable environmental factors include:
While the above challenges are indeed potential barriers to digital transformation, the obstacle in this case also happens to be the best way forward: Digital transformation is undoubtedly the most effective solution for local governments to navigate change, mitigate risks, and efficiently deliver effective programs and services. The key is to work with a skilled advisor who can help you execute a comprehensive baseline analysis, identify key risks and opportunities, and create a customized transformation roadmap.
For local governments and public sector organizations, this should include experience with digital strategy and scenario planning, change management, and implementation. The right advisor should bring together an interdisciplinary skillset which includes familiarity with:
Most importantly, they should prioritize working collaboratively and in partnership with you from the outset — helping you advance on your digital journey by focusing on key outcomes and defining success. After all, this transformation needs to meet your needs not only for today but support your ability to innovate, adapt and evolve for many years to come.