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Gartner lists tech priorities for government CIOs

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Gartner has released its top 10 government technology trends for 2019 through to 2020, revealing citizen digital identity among the trends with the potential to optimise or transform public services.

According to Gartner’s definition, a digital identity is the ability to prove an individual’s identity via any government digital channel that is available to citizens.

Although citizen digital identity is critical for inclusion and access to government services, the firm says many governments have been slow to adopt it. “Government CIOs must provision digital identities that uphold both security imperatives and citizen expectations.”

Gartner says its strategic technology trends report is designed to help government CIOs establish the rationale, timing and priority of technology investments over the next 12 to 18 months. The latest trends were selected in response to pressing public policy goals and business needs of government organisations across the globe.

In a digital society, forward-looking government officials know policy is the technology and technology is the policy, says Rick Howard, research vice-president at Gartner.

“Any government service delivered at scale is underpinned by a host of technologies. If the success of these business projects is compromised by poor implementation of technology, then the political objectives are compromised, too.”

Howard adds: “Now more than ever, technology priorities must be established in the context of business trends such as digital equity, ethics and privacy, widening generational chasms and the need for institutional agility.

“Public sector leaders expect government CIOs to find ways technology can reduce costs, create efficiencies and improve outcomes for citizens and businesses. They also expect CIOs to consider the social, technological, economic, environmental and political trends that impact the constituents they serve.”

Gartner stresses the list does not represent what government CIOs are spending most of their time or budget on today. As a result, the trends will vary in importance depending on the tier of government, region and business context, adding it is for this reason they are not ranked in numerical order.

The rest of Gartner's technology trends for government CIOs are:

Adaptive security

An adaptive security approach treats risk, trust and security as a continuous and adaptive process that anticipates and mitigates constantly evolving cyber threats. It acknowledges there is no perfect protection, and security needs to be adaptive, everywhere, all the time.

Multichannel citizen engagement

Governments that meet citizens on their own terms and via their preferred channels, such as in person, by phone, via mobile device through smart speakers, chatbots or via augmented reality, will meet citizen expectations and achieve programme outcomes. According to a 2018 survey, more than 50% of government Web site traffic now comes from mobile devices.

Agile by design

Digital government is not a “set and forget” investment. CIOs must create a nimble and responsive environment by adopting an agile-by-design approach, a set of principles and practices used to develop more agile systems and solutions that impact both the current and target states of the business, information and technical architecture.

Digital product management

In the 2019 Gartner CIO Survey, more than two-thirds of government CIOs said they already have, or are planning to implement, digital product management (DPM). Often replacing a “waterfall” project management approach, which has a poor track record of success, DPM involves developing, delivering, monitoring, refining and retiring products or offerings for business users or citizens.

Anything-as-a-service (XaaS)

XaaS covers the full range of IT services delivered in the cloud on a subscription basis. The 2019 Gartner CIO Survey found 39% of government organisations plan to spend the greatest amount of new or additional funding in cloud services. The XaaS model offers an alternative to legacy infrastructure modernisation, provides scalability and reduces time to deliver digital government services.

Shared services 2.0

Many government organisations have tried to drive IT efficiencies through centralisation or sharing of services, often with poor results. The shared services 2.0 shifts the focus from cost savings to delivering high-value business capabilities, which includes enterprise-wide security, identity management, platforms or business analytics.

Digitally-empowered workforce

A digitally-enabled work environment is linked to employee satisfaction, retention and engagement – but government currently lags other industries in this area. A workforce of self-managing teams needs the training, technology and autonomy to work on digital transformation initiatives.

Analytics everywhere

Gartner refers to the pervasive use of analytics at all stages of business activity and service delivery as analytics everywhere. It shifts government agencies from the dashboard reporting of lagging indicators, to autonomous processes that help people make better decisions in real-time.

Augmented intelligence

Gartner recommends government CIOs reframe artificial intelligence (AI) as “augmented intelligence”, a human-centred partnership model of people and AI working together to enhance cognitive performance.

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