Many agencies don’t see ‘clear value’ in digital government — survey

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A new report shows a majority of government agencies have adopted or are interested in adopting digital services, but not all see the clear value of such programs.

A 69-percent majority of government respondents are in someway supportive of adopting digital government programs, while the rest remain skeptical of digital government’s benefits, according to the survey, sponsored by the Unisys Corporation.

“Government agencies must meet citizens’ expectations of customer service based on what they see in commercial companies, and they should not hesitate to reap the benefits digital government can offer in terms of cost savings, enhanced security and a more efficient workforce,” said Mark Forman, global head of public sector at Unisys.

The results, however, showed that agencies are more divided in seeing a clear value in digital government. Fifty-five percent said their agency wants to offer more innovative digital government services. The other 45 percent were either neutral or disagreed.

The survey, which addresses organizations at the federal, state and local levels, defines digital government as the process by which agencies harness various digital technologies, like cloud, virtualization, advanced data analytics and mobile.

The leading reason for the pessimism behind the digital government movement, the survey found, is security. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said that their agencies were “very concerned” with potently security risks. Another 35 percent were “somewhat concerned.” Many were also concerned with their agency’s lack of staff with expertise.

Respondents believe the most important benefits of digital government are improving internal business processes and service delivery, with 66 and 65 percent, respectively, reporting these benefits as “very important.”

Despite the criticisms some respondents laid out, Unisys found that government agencies who are further along the path to adopting digital government are more likely to be superior in their capabilities in areas such as security, cloud, mobility and IT service management, compared to agencies that expressed skepticism.

“Beyond the direct benefits offered by digital government, there are multiple indirect benefits to government agencies in terms of more mature capabilities and forward-looking workplace cultures,” said Casey Coleman, group vice president for civilian agencies at Unisys Federal. “For these reasons, we believe more agencies will take the appropriate security measures and embrace digital government in the future.”

The report found 42 percent of agencies in the public sector to be digitally mature.

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Casey Coleman, Government IT News