Very few public service bosses in Australia and NZ feel like global digital leaders

By Stephen Easton

Friday August 10, 2018

Only 7% of public sector leaders in Australia and New Zealand believe their organisation is further along its “digital transformation journey” than international counterparts, according to a new survey from Infosys. 

In contrast, half of the public service bosses surveyed felt they were behind their international peers, and the remaining 43% sat on the fence, guessing they were probably “on par” with similar agencies overseas.

Public services are clearly the least confident of any sector surveyed, a marked contrast to our recent second place in the United Nations e-government rankings.

The most popular purpose for digital transformation projects was to increase efficiency (63%) and the biggest challenges to them in government are considered to be “building a culture of innovation” — 57% agree with that — and “improving agility and flexibility of processes”, which is the big challenge for 47% of respondents.

The best answer to overcome these challenges is “organisational level transformation” according to the survey results, which show 63% of senior public servants see this as the key.

And to 60% of respondents from the public sector, the best “influencer” over whether these efforts succeed or fail was the level of capability to manage large and complex programs.

The stats on where Australian and NZ public service executives think they sit compared to local peers demonstrate no clear consensus. “On par” was again the top response, given by 38% of public service leaders, with 34% saying they are probably behind and 28% placing themselves ahead of the local organisations they would compare themselves to.

Infosys also polled the business and public service leaders about their thoughts on the level of “digital disruption” in their sector. Among the public servants, 38% think there’s a high level of disruption in the government sector, according to the new report published this week.

The majority again went for the middle ground with 48% saying there was probably a medium level of things being shaken up by digital technology, and 14% don’t believe the hype, suggesting there’s a low level of disruption.

A note on methodology from Infosys:

“Infosys commissioned independent market research company Feedback Business Consulting to undertake research to understand the decision-making processes and challenges around the digital transformation journey businesses embark on. From January to March 2018, the qualitative and quantitative subset of the study was carried out, interviewing 175 senior IT decision makers who have a role in digital transformation initiatives. Respondents were from organisations with 1,000 employees or more and $1 billion global annual revenue or higher across verticals such as Retail, Banking, Financial Services and Insurance, Public Service, Logistics, Healthcare, Telco/Utilities and Manufacturing.”

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