Digital transformation in the public sector: Balancing speed, security and innovation

When it comes to transforming for the digital era, chief information officers from across sectors face a swathe of challenges. Foremost among these is managing the daily expectations of both internal staff and external customers.

Customers are consistently looking for the experience they are used to in the consumer space - fast, easy to use, and seamless. However, it is not only customers looking for this experience. Staff would also like the ease of access across the different systems and data they need to get on with their jobs.

Tech executives from both government and the private sector recently gathered in Wellington, New Zealand, at a lunch sponsored by Box to discuss how they are navigating these challenges and ensure their digital transformation activities deliver what has been promised.


Scott Leader, regional vice president at Box, says there has been an explosion in technology choices to drive productivity and collaboration in the workplace.

“With the consumerisation of technology, the expectation from talent is they will have the best tools available to work both internally, and collaborating externally. The key piece of advice here is to get best of breed within the Cloud when looking for tools to drive a modern digital workplace,” Leader says. 

Michael Cabatbat, iSG ops IT team leader at The Salvation Army NZ, says his IT team is ensuring all its officers and staff across the country can effectively use available resources and technology to carry out the organisation’s mission.

“We are implementing procedures and system processes to meet service level agreements with our internal and external users, and maintain the quality of our service delivery so everyone can consistently produce and share information between centres and appointments,” Cabatbat says.

Educating users to empower them is also vital, adds Cabatbat.

“We collaborate and peer review to champion the use of appropriate technology throughout the territory. Using the right tools, we are able to improve the quality of work and services we are providing,” he says.

As part of its transformation, The Salvation Army is creating systems to automate users’ jobs.

“Though we have on-prem servers, we have migrated most of our data and systems into the Cloud, and we will continue to work on streamlining and developing systems and processes within our budget and scope,” he says.

Jake Davis, chief information officer at Wellington Water, says his organisation wants to be pushed by consumer technology in order to match the experiences users demand outside of work.

“We have to adapt because our staff and customers are interacting with us through consumer technology the majority of the time. Therefore, our technology teams encourage staff to demonstrate these tools to determine if they can be used within the governance rules of the business,” Davis says.

Davis adds Wellington Water is still a young organisation, which means it doesn’t rely on legacy technology.

“We also do not expect our investments to go beyond three to five years for any technology, so we make sure roadmaps include upgrading and/or replacement within this timeframe,” he says.

Developing the right skills

Attendees discussed the skills staff requires as organisations digitise legacy processes. Leader says Box is seeing more demand in the user experience (UX) space.


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