KPMG: Governments must upskill public service to survive in new era

By Shannon Jenkins

Thursday May 6, 2021

customer-centric government
(Image: Adobe/metamorworks)

New research has predicted that policymakers will increasingly take note of the work of the commonwealth’s Digital Transformation Agency as governments around the world move into a customer-centric era.

The report released by KPMG on Wednesday examines global government trends, highlighting an “emerging era of modern government that is customer- and business-centric, agile, digitally enabled and inspired for future change”.

A key takeaway from the research is that governments need to reskill and upskill their workforces in order to retain valued talent and knowledge, overcome talent shortages, and enhance services.

“Governments should be proactive in attracting and retaining the next generation of public servants, introducing critical new skills and ultimately reshaping their workforces to align with the demands of a digital society,” the report said.

The paper has argued that governments should prioritise investment in revolutionary technologies, platforms, systems and processes in order to be more responsive, cost-efficient, customer-focused.

READ MORE: DTA remains under Stuart Robert’s watch despite move into PM&C

As part of the study, Forrester Consulting surveyed 395 professionals involved in customer-centric strategy decisions at government organisations. This included decision-makers in non-political leadership roles, representing national, federal, state, or provincial government organisations that set policy and have significant operational roles.

The research found that:

  • 29% of government organisations count their customer-centric strategy as a top priority, while 46% are making it a high priority.
  • More than 50% of government organisations rate their customer-centric capabilities as average at best, with 16% calling them ‘less mature’ and 42% rating their customer centricity as ‘about average’.
  • 35% cited data security and privacy concerns as the main barrier to their successful execution of customer-centric strategies.
  • 30% of government organisations said a lack of qualified staff was a barrier to executing customer-centric strategies.
  • 56% will prioritise near-term investment in creating an aligned and empowered workforce.

KPMG and Forrester have predicted that governments will continue to centralise customer experience (CX) governance over the coming years. In doing so, they will create senior roles charged with overseeing improvement of the customer experience, and will likely pass more CX-related bills containing mandates related to enhanced service standards, technology, monitoring and reporting.

Meanwhile, more policymakers will follow the lead of the DTA, and issue stronger CX-related requirements for departments, the report said.

The report has suggested that governments evolve operations to focus on their stakeholders, and position themselves to continuously respond to ever-changing customer needs.

“Putting people ‘at the heart’ of government policy may also include the need to meet evolving public values and ambitions in areas such as the environment and social inclusion,” it said.

KPMG Australia national leader Paul Low said the research has shown that a modern government is trusted, agile and embraces technology to rapidly meet the public’s needs and expectations.

It has also suggested that the future is collaborative, Low noted.

“Collaborative public-private partnerships between various levels of government and business in the last decade have demonstrated the speed and efficiency with which public services and infrastructure can emerge,” he said.

READ MORE: Major APS workforce strategy goes live


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