The creation of the Australian government’s Digital Transformation Office last year signalled a turning point in how the country’s public entities use and manage information.
The mission of the DTO, according to the organisation’s own website, is to “lead the transformation of government services to deliver a better experience for Australians”. A large part of this mission is finding new ways to achieve rapid transformation, improve in-house digital capabilities in government agencies, and establish common platforms to make government more efficient overall.
In early April this year, the DTO and the agency it’s modelled after, the United Kingdom’s Government Digital Service, signed a deal that is likely to pave the way for further developments within the DTO and its strategies, based on the successes of the British organisation’s experience.
This is just the beginning of a new era of digital-driven change in the country’s government sector. This is happening not just in Australia, but around the world. The government sector has long been known for its glacial pace of internal change, and this new digital transformation era is already shaking things up.
For the private sector, which has been undergoing unprecedented competition thanks to the increasing pace of technological change, digitisation is largely a moot topic. Most organisations have been undergoing digital transformation strategies for some time in a bid to remain relevant and competitive.
Global research firm Gartner has made forecasts suggesting that, by 2020, up to three-quarters of organisations will be classified as “digital business” or will be preparing to become one.
There is a range of new and emerging technology driving the DTO’s change agenda, with cloud infrastructure, data analytics and managed services playing an increasingly large role in how government organisations are expected to undergo a successful digital transformation.“Digitising documents lets government agencies improve efficiency and become more responsive.”
One element that stands at the nexus of much of the technology driving digital transformation is enterprise content management infrastructure. A rapidly evolving technology in its own right, ECM is a particularly well-suited class of solution to help organisations deal with a digital transformation.
First and foremost, ECM solutions help organisations stop chasing paper trails and start streamlining business information processes. Digitising documents lets government agencies improve efficiency and become more responsive. These are traits that have not been traditionally associated with government entities, but they lie at the centre of what the DTO is trying to achieve with new technology.
The ability to efficiently manage information in all of its forms, both digital and analogue, is rapidly becoming a top priority for government agencies and departments. Especially now, as the government, on both state and federal levels, works to make more of its non-sensitive data public.
The government’s open data initiative, which aims to make non-sensitive government data open by default, sees the publication of large data sets such as geospatial information on its data.gov.au website, revealing the depth and volume of data that various government entities have to handle. With the publication of this data, extremely stringent control mechanisms need to be put in place to ensure sensitive data is not inadvertently published along with publicly benign data.
Once again, ECM technology plays a vitally important role in keeping track of information to make sure data is safely managed. ECM platforms enable government organisations to limit access to certain documents, which improves agencies’ regulatory compliance and security posture while also making sure sensitive information remains secure.
In this way, among others, ECM lies at the centre of the public sector’s long process of digital transformation. With the help of this kind of technology and the driving support of the DTO, government entities are well on their way to becoming digital-first entities.