Digital transformation, cloud capabilities, blockchain, machine learning and automation, the subscription economy and cybersecurity… these are just a few of the priorities facing Government CIOs today. There’s no question that in 2018, government CIOs and senior IT leaders face innumerable conflicting and daunting challenges, needing to bring about transformation, innovation, and growth, whilst carefully balancing this with restrained budgets, growing security risks and compliance-oriented priorities.
But the good news is that considerable business and technology opportunities exist, which are too good to ignore. Here, we look at some of the top IT and business challenges currently facing government CIOs, considering how they can be resolved and the potential rewards available to those with tenacity and vision…
Digital transformation revolves around data. To be successful, public sector CIOs need to focus on expanding their data and analytics capabilities and creating a data-centric culture, by increasing the availability of open data and APIs for internal use and public consumption. Building out data analytics infrastructure is fundamental to improving government program outcomes and services to citizens.
The path to digital transformation
Digital transformation is the top-ranked business priority among government CIOs this year, followed by security and governance, according to Gartner.* Government information, IT, and technology teams understand the urgency of this challenge better than anyone, but it can’t be achieved through a fad diet of apps and digital tactics. Longer-term, strategic thinking is essential where the bigger picture is fully considered, and data silos removed.
“Digital transformation revolves around data. To be successful, public sector CIOs need to focus on expanding their data and analytics capabilities and creating a data-centric culture, by increasing the availability of open data and APIs for internal use and public consumption,” said Rick Howard, research vice president at Gartner. “Building out data analytics infrastructure is fundamental to improving government program outcomes and services to citizens.”*
Delivering a cloud-first environment
Gartner’s 2018 CIO Agenda Survey reveals, additionally, that cloud solutions, cybersecurity, and analytics are the top technologies targeted for new and additional spending by public sector CIOs in 2018.* Transitioning to the cloud will be crucial in helping government CIOs to accelerate their digital transformation, while delivering a host of other business benefits, with the cloud typically being more cost effective, scalable, secure, and flexible than legacy alternatives.
The UK government introduced its ‘Cloud First’ policy back in 2013, but progress to date has been a mixed bag, and many are still arguably in early stages of adoption. The need to contain costs and risks has created major complexity, and there is rarely a one-size fits all approach. Finding an impartial partner who works with several different suppliers is vital if departments are to truly achieve their cloud objectives.
Work is no longer is a place you go to. Work is about making things happen where you are.
Creating a flexible working culture
A couple of years ago, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, speaking at Future Decoded in London, claimed: “Work is no longer is a place you go to. Work is about making things happen where you are.”
Like all office-based organisations, government employees want the ability to be able to work from anywhere, at any time, and on any device. But many continue to be hampered by outdated data-sharing protocols and legacy systems that limit their physical movement and, therefore, the ability to access information and ideas.
One could argue the most straightforward long-term solution lies in the cloud, to enable workforces to access apps and work from anywhere, on any device or network, without compromising on security.
Keeping data secure
Last year, the NHS was infected by the major WannaCry ransomware attack. At least 6,900 NHS appointments were cancelled as a result, and a total of 19,000 appointments were most likely affected. The attack demonstrated the vulnerability of older, out-of-date IT systems and exposed the NHS trusts who were failing to meet today’s security standards.
Most recently, GDPR has added a further layer of complexity to the data security matter, and it is imperative that government CIOs seek out IT systems that balance security with agility.
Changing citizen expectations
Government CIOs also must consider the shifting expectations of citizens, who thanks to the breadth of data now available on them, wish to connect and be communicated with in fundamentally different ways.
There’s enormous pressure to accommodate every preferred method of interaction, be it social media, voice, email, or webchat. The Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, advanced data analytics, and wearables have also moved into the mainstream, and government CIOs must keep pace with this change.
Ultimately, the challenge of the government CIO is to deliver capability for today, and agility for tomorrow. Those who hold a bold vision of the technology possibilities, and prioritise long-term thinking over short-term tactical gain, will find themselves reaping the biggest rewards.
For further information on how Citrix can help government organisations tackle today’s technology challenges, please click here.
*Gartner Press Release, Gartner Survey Finds Government CIOs Will Increase Spending on Cloud, Cybersecurity and Analytics in 2018, January 23, 2018, https://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3847965