Andrea DiMaio

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Andrea Di Maio
Managing VP
15 years at Gartner
28 years IT industry

Andrea Di Maio is a managing vice president for public sector in Gartner Research, covering government and education. His personal research focus is on digital government strategies strategies, Web 2.0, open government, cloud computing, the business value of IT, smart cities, and the impact of technology on the future of government Read Full Bio

Coverage Areas:

The Eight Key Issues of Digital Government

by Andrea Di Maio  |  January 15, 2014  |  3 Comments

I have not being blogging for quite some time, but a lot has happened in Gartner government research over the last few months. Perhaps the most remarkable achievement has been the redesign of our research agenda to align with the digital government priorities that many of our clients are dealing or are about to deal with.

There is no doubt that there is still a fair amount of confusion in the marketplace about what constitutes digital. While I received some pointed criticism when I said that there is a risk that digital government looks pretty much like e-government, client conversations over the last few months clearly show that there is no single definition of what digital means and that the risk of turning it into more of the same is clear and present to several people.

Now, to set the record straight, I do believe digital government is profoundly different from e-government as well as from government 2.0 (although in some jurisdictions the latter terms still looks more relevant than “digital”). Whereas there are many differences as far as technologies and what they make possible,political will, and evolving citizen demand, my contention is that the single most fundamental difference is in the relevance of data and how new and unforeseen uses of data can truly transform the way governments deliver their services and perform their operations.

This is not at all just about government as a platform or open government, where government is primarily a provider of data that constituents – be they citizens, business or intermediaries – use and mash up in new ways. It is also about government themselves inventing new ways to user their own as well as constituents’ data. It is only by striking the right balance between being a data provider and being a data broker and consumer that governments will find the right path to being truly digital.

During the Gartner Symposia I attended last fall, I had numerous interesting conversations with people who are exploring very innovative ways of using its own data, such as:

  • tax authorities contemplating to use up-to-date financial information about taxpayers to proactively suggest investments that may provide tax breaks,
  • education institutions leveraging data about student location from their original purpose (giving parents information about students’ whereabouts) to providing new tools for teachers to understand behavioral patterns and relate those to more personalized learning
  • immigration authorities leveraging data coming from video analysis, whose role is to flag suspicious immigrants for secondary inspection, to inform public safety authorities or the hospitality sector about specific issues and opportunities with tourists.

In the second half of 2013, Gartner government analysts focused on distilling the fundamental components of a digital government initiative, in order to be able to shape our research and advice in ways that hit the most important issues that client face. The new government research agenda has just been published (see Agenda Overview for Government, 2014) and eight key issues, grouped in three distinct areas,  that need to be addressed to successfully transform into a digital government organization.

Engaging Citizens

  • Service Delivery Innovation: How will governments use technology to support innovative services that produce better results for society?
  • Open Government: How will governments create and sustain a digital ecosystem that citizens can trust and want to participate in?

Connecting Agencies

  • New Digital Business Models: What data-driven business models will emerge to meet the growing needs for adequate and sustainable public services?
  • Joint Governance: How will governance coordinate IT and service decisions across independent public and private organizations?
  • Scalable Interoperability: How much interoperability is needed to support connected government services and at what cost?

Resourcing Government

  • Workforce Innovation: How will the IT organization and role transform to support government workforce innovation?
  • Adaptive Sourcing: How will government IT organizations expand their sourcing strategies to take advantage of competitive cloud-based and consumer-grade solutions?
  • Sustainable Financing: How will government IT organizations obtain and manage the financial resources required to connect government and engage citizens?

This agenda is meant to both answer immediate questions about whether and how to deploy cloud solutions, how to deal with mobile service delivery, how to better leverage data, how to make shared services more successful, and so forth. But it also aims at looking beyond the obvious, at challenging the common wisdom, at warning our clients about jumping into the future without absorbing the lessons from the past. As usual, our research will reassure clients in certain areas and challenge them in others. We do not write research to please but to help.

I wholeheartedly hope that our effort will help the government community – both technology users and providers – find effective ways to advance the digital agenda, optimize the use of limited financial resources and skills, and set the pace for a transformation where digital becomes business as usual and second nature to government business leaders, IT executives and ultimately every single civil servant.

3 Comments »

Category: Uncategorized     Tags:

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Dr Natasha Khramtsovsky   January 17, 2014 at 1:36 am

    Sorry Andrea, but these terminological games – “digital government” vs “e-government” – has nothing to do with science. That’s marketing, and of the obsolete and inefficient kind at that! Wish you good luck with it! :)

    FYI in some countries the term “digital government” for years was used instead (or as a synonym) of “e-government” :)

    With all my due respect to big, open and whatever else data, so far they are mostly (say, 99% :) ) a hype. Open data movement often becomes offensive and harmful because the scarce resources of the government agencies are rerouted from their main mission to an activity that delivers very limited value. IMHO it’s a bit early to toot an innovative use of data as a fundamental game changer.

    Apart from that, I like your ideas.

    With my best wishes to you in the New Year,
    Dr Natasha Khramtsovsky

  • 2 The Eight Key Issues of Digital Government by A...   January 20, 2014 at 5:57 am

    [...] In the second half of 2013, Gartner government analysts focused on distilling the fundamental components of a digital government initiative, in order to be able to shape our research and advice in ways that hit the most important issues that client face. The new government research agenda has just been published (see Agenda Overview for Government, 2014) and eight key issues, grouped in three distinct areas, that need to be addressed to successfully transform into a digital government organization.  [...]

  • 3 AS   January 23, 2014 at 8:47 am

    If “Digital Government is little else than making e-government work” then it is may be not enough. Just making all data available electronically is not more than a face lift. To make any of d-government, m-government, government 2.0, etc. work it is necessary, as usual, “just” architect e-government. So, it will be “architected government” or “a-government”.

    Again, as usual in systems architecting, we have to start from an e-gov reference model. For example – http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2013/10/entarch-e-government-and-e-governance.html

    The e-gov reference model helps us to understand how:

    1. architect the e-gov for a country – http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2013/09/how-many-entarch-projects-do-you-need.html

    2. architect the e-gov for a continent – http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2013/03/pan-african-platform-for-e-governments.html

    3. fight the corruption – http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2013/10/e-gov-to-help-undp-about-better.html

    How a-government will address mentioned “key issues”?

    1. Service Delivery Innovation: How will governments use technology to support innovative services that produce better results for society?
    As service delivery is an integral part of the process then the customer experience will be taken into account – http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2013/06/practical-process-patterns-cxaap.html

    2. Open Government: How will governments create and sustain a digital ecosystem that citizens can trust and want to participate in?
    Also, BPM and entarch will help with the information security – http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2013/04/addressing-security-concerns-through-bpm.html

    3. New Digital Business Models: What data-driven business models will emerge to meet the growing needs for adequate and sustainable public services?
    For example, all laws and regulations will become a coherent set of business rules (or decisions) thus enabling faster execution of traditional formalities and adopting better laws.

    4. Joint Governance: How will governance coordinate IT and service decisions across independent public and private organizations?
    It is part of the e-gov reference model.

    5. Scalable Interoperability: How much interoperability is needed to support connected government services and at what cost?
    Interoperability will be address by platform-based approach – http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2011/04/enterprise-patterns-peas.html and http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/search/label/PEAS

    6. Workforce Innovation: How will the IT organization and role transform to support government workforce innovation?
    For example, the use of practical process patterns should liberate government workforce from re-intending the wheel and will allow them to concentrate on the unique business challenges. http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2013/10/conference-bpm-in-practice-vinlius.html

    7. Adaptive Sourcing: How will government IT organizations expand their sourcing strategies to take advantage of competitive cloud-based and consumer-grade solutions?
    Cloud works find with BPM and apparch for the platform – http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/search/label/cloud

    8. Sustainable Financing: How will government IT organizations obtain and manage the financial resources required to connect government and engage citizens?
    With the use of the e-gov reference model and the platform-based approach, solutions will be developed ONCE and re-used in MANY places. http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2013/09/how-many-entarch-projects-do-you-need.html

    Viva l’a-government!
    Thanks,
    AS