Government agencies across the globe – whether they be state, local, central, or federal – face a digital transformation imperative. Increasingly sophisticated digital services provided by the private sector have increased citizen expectations of government. For many agencies, legacy IT stacks and inflexible budgetary requirements stand in the way of meeting these expectations. Furthermore, the convergence of multiple industry-disrupting “mega-trends,” including cloud, IoT, mobile, and big data, has led to an explosion of connectivity endpoints, complicating the path toward digital government.
For government IT teams to keep pace with citizen expectations, they must increase IT agility without compromising security. We propose that an architectural approach centered around APIs and microservices should be used to unlock monolithic legacy systems where core data and services are siloed. Doing so can increase the speed of IT project delivery, leading to more efficient, cost-effective, responsive government.
CHALLENGES FACING GOVERNMENT IT
While IT teams across different government agencies have distinct strategic priorities and projects, nearly all grapple with how to deliver on an increasing number of projects within the confines of a fixed budget. The ubiquitous emergence of this challenge can be attributed to three key factors: an evolution in citizen expectations, the global trend toward austerity in government, and the convergence of technological megatrends.
Experience with best in class private sector service providers like Uber, Amazon, and Google have raised citizens digital expectations from government. Citizens expect transparency, accessibility, and responsiveness from government services, and those expectations are only rising as the private sector continues to innovate along these lines. In fact, a survey of US citizens conducted by Accenture in 2016 indicated that 85% of citizens expect “the same or higher quality” from government digital services as they do from commercial organizations.
Delivering on these expectations has proved to be enormously challenging for the government.
Often, government agencies are funded by legislatures who have minimal understanding of what’s needed to execute on IT projects. Furthermore, unlike private sector companies, who can more easily expand their project delivery capacity through outsourcing or increasing budget, the government must instead find creative solutions to get more value out of the resources they have available.
Delivering on citizen expectations in an environment of austerity has been further complicated by the convergence of multiple tech mega-trends like mobile, SaaS, cloud, and big data.
These trends have led to an increase in the number of IT projects government is expected to deliver. Few of these changes have been met with a corresponding increase in IT budget, forcing the government’s IT teams to do more with less.
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