The post-digital government has arrived – what should organizations do to get ready?

Digital technology investments were once a factor of differentiation, but have now become the baseline of digital expectations in government. Today, digital is everywhere and organizations are preparing for when digital transformation will cease to be a driver for change.

The shift to digital government has accelerated quickly and many are now moving into a “post-digital” era, where returns from continued investment into digital are beginning to diminish. To sustain further investments, government organizations will need to reach beyond improving administrative processes and data use.

To succeed amidst a post-digital era, government CIOs and other technology executives will need to reset ambitions, embrace empathy, leverage insights and orchestrate a complex and changing ecosystem.

Resetting ambitions

The journey towards post-digital government allows organizations to reset their ambitions and focus on their public purpose. Gartner predicts by 2026, over 75 per cent of governments will gauge digital transformation success by measuring the enduring mission impact.

Enduring mission outcomes will be achieved by embracing empathy with citizens and stakeholders, leveraging insights to both anticipate optimal engagement and effectively react to the unexpected, while working within an orchestrated ecosystem of traditional and non-traditional partners.

Cognitive empathy

Develop cognitive empathy capabilities in government organizations. This will build a more complete and accurate understanding of stakeholders as people.

Identify direct and indirect stakeholders and understand the journey they are going through during a particular transaction or engagement. This will help gauge how the emotion changes at different points, and what creates frustration, distrust, discomfort or engagement.

From there, take a need-driven approach to all stakeholders involved and address those needs as effectively as possible. This makes it possible to identify critical moments, optimize stakeholder engagement, and know when to be reactive or proactive.

A method that encapsulates this is human-centered design (HCD). This approach is used by government organizations at both the federal and state levels. It involves problem solving with empathy as a cornerstone, putting the end user at the heart of the solution.

Leveraging data insights

To pivot the experience towards the optimal outcome, post-digital government requires hyperpersonalised services that combine these empathy insights with real-time, actionable operational insights during the decision-making process. Gartner predicts over 60 per cent of government artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics investments will drive real-time operational decisions and outcomes by 2024.

Organizations are quickly adopting AI which has been offering new pathways to data insights. Governments are using AI to capture new data that was previously not available and unlock the value of existing data. To have a real impact, the new real-time data insights must be operationalized into the organization’s ways of working.

Orchestrating ecosystems

Governments have always operated in some form of an ecosystem, often orchestrated around the department or agency. However, digital ecosystems are changing the way society works and shifting the expectations of citizens. An ecosystem orchestrated around a shared problem, or outcome is more likely to innovate and deliver the enduring mission outcomes desired by all governments.

To orchestrate these ecosystems there must be a careful assessment of stakeholder value and incentive. For example, establish a shared platform that offers access to a subset of government data, enabling comprehensive engagement with the citizens involved, or shared facilities and resources.

Each of these new and enhanced capabilities require new supporting technologies that will need to be incorporated into organization’s technology roadmap going forward. Link these technology roadmaps to the mission outcomes focus of the post-digital era.

Dean Lacheca is a VP Analyst at Gartner Inc. where he covers how the adoption of emerging trends, such as AI will impact the government. Gartner analysts are presenting additional insights on the transition to post-digital government at Gartner IT Symposium Xpo, taking place October 16-19 in Orlando, Florida.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) delivers actionable, objective insight to executives and their teams. Our expert guidance and tools enable faster, smarter decisions and stronger performance on an organization’s mission critical priorities. To learn more, visit

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