With the onset and outcome of COVID-19, governments have propelled digitization projects and in doing so, faced multiple challenges. In this article, we will take a look at why despite such challenges it was necessary, how governments funded the projects, and how a connected Enterprise Architecture helps in the initiative.
Digitization is necessary to transform the government and public sector
Government bodies globally have shifted rapidly to embark on digital transformation projects since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, for various reasons. Cost saving, citizen trust and satisfaction, and optimizing services are just 3 of many to be listed.
While the pandemic has been cataclysmic, it has drastically changed our views and pushed technologies and innovation across boundaries, be it cultural, economic, or social.
Example of public sector digital transformation in APAC
- The Supreme Court of the Philippines shifted to virtual hearings for its 925 Courts nationwide
- The Ministry of Health Malaysia enabled medical professionals to provide remote care by collecting and analyzing the data of some 600 patients at its Quarantine and Treatment Center
- Australia will digitize all government services by 2025
These initiatives, while applaudable, come with their unique set of challenges that the public sectors have needed to address, such as data collection, conducting identity checks, and ensuring secured access. While the public sector is not usually well-equipped, the crisis has forced organizations to speed up the need for digitization and be ready for the next crisis.
According to Gartner, global Government IT spending is expected to grow by 6.5% in 2022. Despite more investment, overall digital maturity is considerably low for the majority of government agencies due to a lack of resources and cultures that resist change. Over 50% of agencies would also need to modernize legacy applications.
Funding plans to accelerate governments' digitalization
Many countries across the Asia Pacific have accelerated digital-first plans, supported by investments and policies put in place by governments.
- The Government of India introduced the Digital India program with a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy
- The Korean government announced its “New Deal” plan that includes the Korean Digital New Deal, a project aimed at achieving national digital transformation by applying ICT to all industries
- The Malaysian government recently launched its Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint, MyDigital, a roadmap to achieve their vision of becoming a regional leader in the digital economy and attain inclusive, responsible, and sustainable socioeconomic development.
- Thailand established Thailand 4.0, with the ambition is to become the region’s innovation and knowledge-based digital hub
- The federal government of Australia released an updated digital government strategy as part of its goal to make Australia one of the top three digital governments in the world by 2025. Under the strategy, the government has set out three priorities for its services in trying to achieve that goal. These priorities are making all government services digitally available, easily accessible, and people and business-centric.
A connected Enterprise Architecture helps for digitization in public sector
With all types of potential crisis, public bodies may yet face, there will still be a lot of business either cutting back on their operations significantly or preparing themselves to recover via mergers and acquisitions.
As for enterprises and public administration, to gear up with this 'new normal', they must move towards solutions supporting their digital transformation initiatives, especially with higher investments. According to the international study on enterprise architecture trends conducted by the Enterprise Strategy Group institute on behalf of MEGA International in 2022, “70% of organizations report that their investments in enterprise architecture have increased (15.7% on average) and 97% of them are planning several significant investments in the next two years”.
An integrated approach is the most relevant as it is based on the connection between different concepts such as business process management, data intelligence, governance, risk, and compliance to enterprise architecture.
In this aspect, a business-outcome-driven EA approach is key.
- An Australian agency that handles government payments and services recently embarked on an IT transformation project where they deployed an end-to-end EA tool. They established a clear single catalog of services, associated technology, applications, and roadmaps. The organization is now able to have all desired practices in a single solution catering to over 250 users across enterprise architects, IT planners and portfolio managers, solutions architects, and process designers.
- Another government agency in the military sector, on the other hand, deployed an EA solution across public and military departments to better support decision-making through the provisioning of ICT roadmaps, application and technology portfolio management, investment analysis, and architecture modeling.
The outcome of both examples is that agencies were able to identify where to invest, and where to spend IT resources where it matters more.
It is important to ensure that all stakeholders in a project work together around an enterprise architecture platform that connects them. For example, using a common repository to centralize data will promote collaboration and facilitate decision-making.