Unit4 study highlights digital transformation challenges in the public sector

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Unit4 has released findings from a new global study, State of the Digital Nation, which confirms that organisations are facing a number of challenges to transformation, including resistance to change and delusions among decision-makers about progress.

Conducted by Vanson Bourne, the study examined digital transformation in the public sector around the world and the challenges and successes of back-office innovation, and consulted decision makers across a range of public sector bodies in Europe and the United States.

The digital transformation maturity among public sector organisations was evaluated, with only 9 percent stating that they believe they are outperforming in terms of modernising back-office IT systems to enable greater collaboration and productivity. The vast majority (76 percent) of respondents said they were either cautious followers or enthusiastic evaluators, suggesting there is a long way to go before digital transformation has reached every corner of the public sector.

At country level, Sweden (40 percent) is the global leader in terms of transforming back-office systems, followed by Belgium (39 percent) and the US (31 percent), whilst Canada has the lowest percentage of such digital transformations rolled out (11 percent). The UK has the highest percentage (56 percent) of partially rolled out digital transformation for back-office systems.

There are also concerns about how ambitious public sector organisations are in their delivery timetables for transformation. On average, it will take 2.4 years in central government and 2.7 years in local government to fully roll-out digital transformation across all areas of organisations.

Mark Gibbison, global director of public sector at Unit4, said: “The global public sector is coming through one of the toughest challenges it has ever faced, but in some ways, it has demonstrated what is possible in terms of digital transformation. However, organisations face an even tougher task in the years ahead to maintain essential public services and continue to invest in innovation to deliver significant improvements. It will require a mindset shift to embrace the change needed to modernise public services and a willingness to be more agile, accepting that disruption will ultimately lead to far better value for citizens.”