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How to build a confident, resilient digital government


November 10, 2016

Daring, impulsive, and reckless. These are all adjectives you’d never want your country to be described as.

Therefore, as governments around the world look towards digital transformation, “it’s vital that digital leaders in government look at four areas to build resilience and inspire confidence in their programs.”

That was the message from Dean Lacheca, research director with Gartner, while speaking about digital government at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2016 this week.

Develop Digital Leadership Program

In the beginning of every digital initiative, you want every level of the organization to buy-in to the program. CIOs and IT leaders should build partnerships with the organization’s head of HR or the lead of any transformation programs. With this, digital leaders will be able to recruit tech-savvy stakeholders within the organization.

Lacheca said, “This involves mentoring and educating to create champions for the digital program that can provide feedback and advocate the benefits at all levels of the organization. This should result in more steadfast support for the program, even in the wake of any setbacks or failures.”

Create Shared Digital Government Strategy

When implementing digital initiatives within government, IT departments and leadership must work together to look beyond the technology, and identify organizational goals.

“As each technical milestone is reached, it should be related to direct benefits or improved services for stakeholders and citizens,” said Lacheca. “This builds crucial momentum, as well as trust and confidence that is likely to result in a degree of tolerance when faced with any future setbacks.”

Implement policy of Transparent, Open Communication

Communication is often overlooked, but is key to the success of any project. Therefore, this step should be at the core of all IT principals. With open communication around progress, successes and setbacks, every stage of digital transformation is identified with achievements receiving the support they deserve.

“It often pays to have a communication strategy in place where the possibility of a setback is known in advance,” said Lacheca. “This mitigates any perception of panic that can simply add to the sense of ‘crisis’ rather than a ‘bump in the road’.”

Take Broad View of Risk Management Practices

As the public sector is not usually driven by growth or shareholder returns, the perspective around risk is fundamentally different than in the private sector. Using traditional IT project-based approaches to risk management may result in a disconnection between the risk appetite of the organization and the risk-management activities of the program.

“The CIO must actively translate the needs and concerns of the organization’s executives into tangible goals for the delivery teams,” said Rick Holgate, research director at Gartner. This means being aware of the changing external influences on the program, while managing the risk expectations and concerns at the highest levels of organizational leadership.

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Michael Sutherland-Shaw

Michael Sutherland-Shaw

Marketing Communications Specialist at FreeBalance
Michael works in the marketing and communications department following a career in journalism. Michael is currently learning Ruby on Rails and loves discovering new music.

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