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Gartner: More than half of digital government programs failing to scale

By Shannon Williams, Wed 27 Oct 2021

Despite increased focus and investment, 55% of digital government programs are failing to scale, according to a survey from Gartner.

The analyst firm says government chief information officers can adopt practices from digitally advanced governments to successfully scale their own programs.

“Citizens expect results, they are not interested in effort,” says Dean Lacheca, senior research director at Gartner, speaking at the virtual Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo 2021 for the APAC region, which took place this week.

“Digital government programs have accelerated during the pandemic and attracted more investment, yet many governments are still struggling to translate this into results at scale," he says.

"Those that are yet to scale digital should build on the momentum unleashed by the disruption to progress their digital transformation," Lacheca says.

In the survey of 166 government organisations in April-May 2021, 10% of respondents said they are at the early stages, experimenting, exploring, or deploying some citizen facing digital services. 

However, only 5% of respondents reported that they were at the top of the maturity scale, optimising the use of digital solutions that underpin all aspects of their organisation, and they are looking for new opportunities.

In the survey, 24% of government organisations were classified as digitally advanced, delivering against transformation-focused digital initiatives, as well as initiatives that could be considered optimisation of existing practices.

“These digitally advanced government organisations are realising more of the benefits, such as higher efficiency, cost reductions, greater workforce productivity, compliance and transparency,” says Lacheca.

“Even more important are outcomes associated with public purpose or mission, such as citizen experience and community safety,”
 he says.

The survey found eighty five percent of digitally advanced respondents have successfully scaled digital and are using it extensively across their organisations.

According to Gartner, some of the more digitally advanced governments have benefited from sustained, long-running digital government commitments. Others have made faster progress by establishing a balanced digital government agenda that includes both transformational and optimisation initiatives, it says.

Gartner recommends that government chief information officers assess their organisation’s digital maturity and use the output to provide insight into areas of potential focus, to communicate the real benefits to policymakers and stakeholders, and to justify budget and prioritise IT investments.

Gartner’s Digital Transformation Divergence Across Government Sectors research was conducted in April to May 2021 with 166 respondents from government organisations in several countries across North America, EMEA and the Asia Pacific, in a bid to understand differences in objectives, practices, the makeup of programs and success in scaling digital across government.

The Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo 2021 was a gathering for CIOs and other IT executives. According to Garner, IT executives rely on these conferences to gain insight into how their organisations can use IT to overcome business challenges and improve operational efficiency. 

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