Government Reimagined: The Top Digital Trends in 2022
The top digital trends reshaping government
Events of the past two years have accelerated the need among government departments and agencies to reimagine public service delivery. With entire populations forced online, the efficacy of digital government and its ability to cater to every citizen has come into an even sharper focus.
While many governments embraced the digital shift, Adobe’s 2022 Digital Trends – Public Sector in Focus report shows that globally, just 14% believe their digital experience is ahead of citizen expectations. Ongoing challenges to developing innovation capabilities, digital skills and modern technology solutions unearthed by the report may help explain why. To uncover the pathways to keeping pace with citizen expectations and navigating internal complexity, the report examines the most powerful digital trends shaping the government response. It shows that unlocking the next generation of government services relies on user- and equity-centric initiatives and developing capabilities in the public sector to deliver.
Anticipating the needs of each and every citizen
The report shows that while fast and personal citizen experiences are now a hygiene factor for the competence of digital public services, enterprising governments are looking to the next horizon. This includes proactively and intuitively meeting every citizen’s needs. For example, Denmark has introduced public services triggered by life stages, including automatically issuing benefits to parents upon the birth of a newborn child and eliminating the need for forms.1
Delivering this level of proactivity relies on a shift in technology and mindset organised around the citizen. It means combining user experience, customer experience, and employee experience capabilities – powered by AI and analytics.
Taking a citizen-centric view also extends to digital equality and developing the capability to reach all – not just most – of the population. The critical need to get public messages out to every community and across locations was underscored during the pandemic. With digital strategy and policy strategy lines blurring, mandates for more inclusive digital experiences are climbing the agenda.
The challenges associated with delivery are in part reflected by the perspectives of government teams. While it’s encouraging that almost one in two middle managers and junior staff feel their digital experience keeps pace with citizen expectations, 37% say it’s lagging. Only 14% say it’s pacing ahead.
Mind the skills and data gap
Proactive, tailored, and inclusive governmental digital services are driven by public data upon which citizen preferences and context can be unlocked. Data sharing across agencies and digital identity programs are crucial to enablement, bringing privacy, governance and citizen control of data further into the spotlight.
The research finds that public sector organisations worldwide believe they are doing a good job and ensuring citizens are in control over how their data is used, with 71% saying they are effective or very effective in this regard. However, 22% concede they are ineffective, and 8% are highly ineffective, showing room for improvement in data governance and controls.
In addition to the requisite data capabilities, improving digital skills ranked globally as the top operational change that would affect experience. Learning and development were similarly rated as the most significant driver of increased productivity.
However, public sector organisations acknowledge that excellence is yet to be attained. Only 20% of government or public sector staff globally rate their talent and education programs as eight or more out of ten, and 61% agree that their organisation lacks critical digital skills such as design thinking and journey mapping.
These themes from 2022 Digital Trends – Public Sector in Focus represent just some of the insights contained in the report. It confirms a need to reorganise around citizens to better anticipate needs and ensure no one is left behind. It also outlines the case for strengthening skills in leadership, design and management of digital initiatives and the role that automation and cloud innovation can play in driving efficiencies.