Many organizations are investing in digital transformation. They want the kind of business-changing advantages that industry leaders (such as Ford Motor Company) and sharing economy companies (such as Uber) have achieved by leveraging back-end data to create compelling consumer-facing digital experiences. But some are paying a high price for transformation efforts that may not be paying off.
So here are three transformation essentials for IT professionals in public sector organizations who want (or need) to better serve citizens.
Digital Transformation—Why Now?
The nature of technology has always been to adapt and expand, but why is it so much more important today that digital transformation reaches the public sector?
The first reason is because citizen (and servicer) demographics are changing. Baby boomers (born 1946 – 1964) are putting a strain on government agencies as they reach retirement age. Generation X (born mid 60’s to early 80’s) and Millennials rely on smartphones and the internet as lifelines. And finally, all of these citizens want multiple touchpoints and various ways to access public services.
The next challenge is changing economics. While hardware costs have declined, personnel costs have risen. Keeping up with demand is no longer as simple as adding clerks to service the growing number of cuitizens. Rather, bots and AI can be much more cost effective. Further, rewriting applications to fit into a newer system is expensive and risky—especially when there’s constantly evolving legislation at play.
Finally, digital transformation is inevitably coming to the public sector because IT simply doesn’t have the flexibility to incorporate new, dynamic experiences using public service applications designed 20 or 30 years ago— not without help, at least.
So how can public sector orgs go about addressing each of these issues in a way that makes practical and economic sense?
Essential #1: Take a Data-First Approach
Data. Drives. Dollars.
Let that sink in.
Public servicers, especially governmental bodies that have been operating for decades, are sitting on a wealth of information that can motivate donations, investments, and funding. However, accessing that information on host applications is time-consuming and risky. The solution is data virtualization processes that allows visibility without moving the original data sources—and thus without risking unexpected data loss. Data virtualization is both a logical first step towards digital transformation, and a sustainable, scalable best practice.
Essential #2: Create an API-Economy Model for Applications
APIs have quickly become the cornerstone of digital user experiences. When you have access to all your favorite apps and services in the same window, it’s nearly impossible to revert to the click-and-switch of the past. Generally, it’s easiest to think about APIs in regard to sharing articles with social media. But APIs should be playing a much bigger role in citizen—and employee— experiences with their public organizations.
Rather than rewriting or reprogramming applications, creating reusable services accessible as RESTful API preserves years of investment. Further down the line, developers without any platform knowledge are still able to work, and you can avoid traditional application development.
Essential #3: Deploy Real-Time Analytics
Now that you recognize the importance of virtualizing data, and accessing that data with APIs, the next essential step is to analyze it in real time and spot trends as they’re developing. Host-based data virtualization brings priceless insight directly to the data, eliminating the need for data warehousing.
With real-time analytics, you can fine-tune citizen experiences as they happen, locate additional opportunities for efficiency, or imagine entirely new applications—and make them reality. Real-time operational intelligence is the bedrock of data security in both government and business. As the digital world evolves into a more wonderful and complex space, together these three essentials can equip any public-sector organization to handle just about anything.
Rocket & Digital Transformation
At Rocket we’re experienced in optimizing and modernizing host-based infrastructure of all types—especially IBM i and z Systems. By leveraging our 20+ year IBM partnership, we can help ensure that your citizens get what they need from your public sector organization in a way that meets new (and changing) expectations, while also giving your IT team the simplicity and flexibility they need.
The Rocket Software Digital Transformation product suite addresses all the essentials discussed above.
To learn more, click a product below.
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