by Suma Nallapati

What digital transformation means to the public sector

Apr 24, 20152 mins
GovernmentGovernment ITIT Leadership

At the State of Colorado, digital transformation is not just a buzz phrase: it means creating digital touchpoints and ease of use at every interaction citizens have with the state.

digital customers
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Every year or two, the IT industry introduces a powerful idea that turns business models on their heads. In the 1990s, the idea was “Information Highway,” then it was the “Information Superhighway” and more recently it was “Cloud First and Disruptive Technology.” But right now the big buzz is about “digital transformation.”

At the State of Colorado, we know if we don’t take that concept and run with it, we’ll be left behind. Our digital transformation means creating success for our citizens at every digital touchpoint. It means making lines shorter at the Division of Motor Vehicles. It means making medical, food and cash assistance readily available for those most in need. It means creating ease of use at every interaction a citizen has with the state.

Some of the challenges in the public sector, of course, are legacy technologies and lack of funding. But these will be constants in the near future (unless we win the lottery), so we have to get scrappy. We need to leverage what we have and invest wisely in what’s to come. Whatever we do, we will not be left behind. Whether you’re in government or the private sector, digital transformation is the new expectation.

Our society expects mobile apps, information at its fingertips, and for all of its information to be held securely as people conduct digital business with the state. So we must deliver. And it’s not just about customer service: it’s also about using tax dollars wisely to streamline processes.

The thing about digital transformation is that those who are truly evolved in this area aren’t necessarily IT organizations: it’s the businesses that are thinking outside the box with their technology. Uber is a taxi service that doesn’t own a car. Airbnb is a bed and breakfast that doesn’t own property. So we need to be thinking — how do we get in that game from a public sector perspective?

We’ve already begun in Colorado. We have innovative agencies that have apps that give traffic updates, others that tell customers where to find farmers’ markets and vineyards and another that allows Medicaid recipients to check on their accounts. But our Digital Transformation has just begun. It’s not a buzz phrase. It’s our goal for the citizens of Colorado.