The landscape of Australia's public sector is being drastically altered due to the increased implementation of new technologies and digital tools, according to data from a recent survey conducted by Appian. It was discovered that 85% of government employees surveyed recently saw a digital initiative being implemented in their department or agency.
Appian's study involved reaching out to 425 Australian government workers. It uncovered that the majority believe their digital transformation projects have positively impacted the public. Indeed, 63% of the surveyed workers stated that adopting new technologies had improved the accessibility of government services for citizens.
According to Luke Thomas, Area Vice President Asia Pacific and Japan at Appian, "Making government services accessible to citizens is a critical function of the public sector. The deployment of innovative technologies like automation, AI, and user-friendly digital platforms allows government bodies to streamline processes, reduce complexities, and ensure that their services are more readily available to all citizens, regardless of their location or background. It's not just about convenience; it's about empowering citizens and enhancing the democratic process."
Appian's study also shed light on how integrating new technologies in government departments and agencies has led to improved organisational communication. Upon deploying new solutions, 64% of workers reported experiencing increased collaboration. However, contrary to expectations, the digitisation of traditional work processes did not reduce the workloads of government employees in a significant way. A majority of public sector workers reported their daily workloads had either increased (47%) or remained the same (43%) upon the introduction of new digital processes.
The survey also revealed an issue with data silos in the Australian public sector. Most government workers claimed that they found it challenging to access data in their workplace, with only 11% stating that they faced no such issues. This problem resulted in 33% of government workers admitting that they often had to carry out tasks without adequate data due to inaccessible information within their department or agency.
Luke Thomas explained, "Data silos in the public sector present significant challenges. Without a unified view of data, government workers can struggle to make informed decisions, hindering their efficiency and effectiveness. These silos also create barriers to collaboration, preventing different departments and agencies from working together seamlessly. It is crucial to dismantle these silos to improve public service delivery, enhance collaboration, and ultimately serve the community better."
Artificial Intelligence (AI) was another focal point of Appian's research. Despite the buzz around AI, its deployment in the public sector is sluggish. Around 74% of government workers reported rarely or never using AI in their current role. This aligns with the low confidence levels in using AI to support daily tasks, with only 14% of workers expressing high confidence in utilising these tools.
Luke Thomas concluded, "While AI utilisation in government spaces is currently low, this is expected to change in the coming years. To truly leverage the full potential of AI, it's crucial that government bodies educate their workforces about these new tools as they are introduced. This will not only increase the adoption of AI technologies but ensure they are used responsibly and effectively, which will enhance public service delivery and decision-making processes."