Like private business and the public sector, world governments look to technology to solve common problems. Whether the aim is to:
- Make life easier for citizens
- Save money on government investment programmes
- Improve security in a modern age
governments are at the forefront of such investment. The following government technology trends are already important in public service delivery, or are rapidly becoming important.
Adaptive security takes the philosophy of scalability in software and hardware technology and applies it to protecting the public cyber network. It’s become vital in the IoT (Internet of Things) age while the web becomes integral to our everyday lives. When a government’s approach to security is adaptive, it is, by definition, proactive rather than reactive. It treats cybersecurity, risk, and trust as an ongoing process. Past approaches were less proactive, reacting to common problems as they arose. This new flexible approach aims to stay one step ahead of threats.
There is, of course, no single solution to all cybersecurity risks. Yet a general approach to adaptive security can anticipate most problems. Of all government technology trends, this is arguably the most urgent.
Big Data Analytics
Of all the current government technology trends, this is the one with the greatest awareness among citizens. The average citizen understands two broad big data applications:
- Collection for marketing purposes, particularly tailored advertising
- Scientific data for use in large data set analytics and predictive modelling
But what about government?
Governments are already finding uses in a range of public services such as resource allocation and management in healthcare and urban and regional planning as the two most obvious. Analytics has the potential to make political decision making faster, easier, and cheaper. Government decisions are often far more complex than those made in the private sector. The latter can consider the bottom line as a priority, the former must consider interest groups and demographic sensitivity.
Digital Citizen Initiatives
Governments cannot use big data to its full potential until it uses that data to make life easier and more convenient for citizens. So-called digital citizen initiatives include unique cross-platform ID codes. This is used to access a variety of services at once, from healthcare, to registering a new employment status, paying tax bills, and so on. As government technology trends move towards efficiency, this is likely to be the biggest and most important of them all for both government and its citizens.
Where already in use, it has sped up the processes mentioned above, leading to fewer problems for government employees. In turn, it can be used for future data initiatives, and service provision, making integration easier. Previous concerns about digital authentication are already being ironed out in the private sector through multi factor authentication.
Multichannel Citizen Engagement
Traditionally, the government has been distant – presenting the idea of aloofness and disconnection. In the digital age where consumers expect direct B2C engagement through social media, we expect the same of the government too. Individual politicians use Twitter to reach out to bring government to the people. However, current government technology trends aim to take this much farther.
Data shows that governments using multiple channels – chatbots, social media, phone, mobile connectivity, websites and archives, benefit from a more engaged population. In the future, trends could include virtual reality and augmented reality. For example, most governments have a higher response to their email output than what the private or charitable sector currently experiences. It also has higher engagement on YouTube and Twitter. Government technology trends will use more channels in the future for maximum engagement.
Shared Services 2.0
IT infrastructure and hardware are expensive enough for businesses. For governments, it drops quickly down the list of priorities. Typically, upgrades only happen when there is no other choice. Most IT efficiency drives have sought to centralise and design systems for multiple departments. Cost efficiency drives both approaches, but it rarely works. Government technology trends must change in this approach. Shared services 2.0 may be that solution.
Shared services 2.0 alters how governments think about IT systems from the ground up. The focus is no longer cost saving. Instead, it looks at what multiple users and departments might need from the service: i.e. value for money for the government, value to as many users as possible (cross-department), and of course, cost efficiency.
This list is by no means exhaustive; there are many more government technology trends for 2020 to tackle the world’s biggest problems. However, it represents some of the most important technologies available now or in development to help government change policy and how it governs.
Overall, these technologies represent a change in how governments handle their most prevalent public services. Short-termism is making way for scalability and flexibility, adapting to the web as a core part of our lives, no longer as a luxury.