Colin McMichael has worked in the public sector for just six years, but in that short time, he has witnessed a significant shift in the public sector’s attitude toward IT.
“I think government has come to realize that the strategic use of technology is the only tool left to enhance access to government services…in the way the citizens would like to see these services packaged,” McMichael said.
But convincing provincial stakeholders that technology paves the path toward efficient service delivery is only half the battle. Manitoba has taken on a comprehensive digital initiative that requires plenty of work.
McMichael said the province aims to consolidate over-the-counter, teleservice and Web systems to present a unified, “At Your Service Manitoba” platform comprising a “citizen health and wellness” stream and a business service stream.
“A third stream also underway which is seldom mentioned, is the development of common tools and technologies, which enhance the cost-effective development of the services,” McMichael said. “These services are intended for use across government, not just the specific organizations delivering them.”
But it can be difficult to foster a horizontal mindset in the traditionally upright public sector. Electronic innovation “will…turn the current government’s management style upside-down and force us to rethink our government organizational structures,” McMichael said. “In some ways we will be moving from many years of government tradition unimpeded by technology to an era of significant government change unimpeded by tradition.”