First steps government agencies must take when tackling digital transformation

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Digital transformation is a term that has been bandied around for quite some time in the enterprise space, especially as organisations look for ways to improve their business and better prepare themselves to disrupt and not be disrupted within their particular industry.

The same sentiment towards digital transformation exists for government agencies too, many of which have been slow to adopt such changes despite being acutely aware of the advantages it will bring.

In fact, late last year minister of communications, telecommunications and postal services, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said,”We will be repurposing the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) as a new digital transformation agency to drive digitalisation, innovation, localisation and supporting a capable state. We have appointed an Administrator, Mr Luvuyo Keyise, to lead the process for a 24-month period,” in a piece by Business Report.

A mammoth task

The task ahead of Keyise is not an easy one, but Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa’s Nancy Meyer believes that there are some initial steps that can be taken, not just for SITA, but government agencies in general striving for digital transformation.

Overseeing the business development at the firm, Meyer is tuned in to what this kind of process entails.

“As the South African government’s digital transformation partner, SITA is critical in an era where service delivery relies on technology and automation and has been tasked with modernising and transforming ICT services to meet the need and expectations of South Africa’s citizens. The agency has, of late, been facing accusations of corruption and failure to fix and update crucial IT systems,” Meyer points out.

Countering these accusations SITA’s acting CEO, Ntutule Tshenye, claims that the agency is facing increased demand for services, yet remains hobbled by budgetary constraints. As a result it has been unable to implement standardised ICT systems across the entire government ecosystem.

“To improve service delivery and tackle backlogs, the focus now needs to shift to how to create agile ICT-driven operations, upskill staff on technology and processes, and chart a way forward,” Meyer advises.

Where to start?

There are a myriad advantages to government agencies implementing a digital transformation strategy into their organisations, but there is the constant problem of where to begin the process.

“The reality is, that if properly implemented, digitisation and automation tools within the government sector could help to streamline services and result in significant cost reductions and service benefits,” Meyer explains.

“But the challenge is to find a solution that drives citizen services, reduces costs and aids informed decision making through analytics and reporting capabilities,” she stresses.

“Government departments would do well to implement an ICT solution that is specifically designed to adapt to public information mandates across departments; increase transparency; and effectively respond to requests for public records. By automating the process, valuable man-hours could be significantly reduced and transparency can be increased,” the Kyocera exec advises.

Opportunities beckon

When looking at key areas of opportunity that can be addressed in the government sector, Meyer has highlighted the following:

  • Transparency – Too much time is currently being wasted searching and sorting paper documents necessary for service delivery. Frustration builds as a result of long queues and slow response times.
  • Bottlenecks – Bottlenecks increase overheads and reduce quality of public service delivery.
  • Availability of information – Imagine the impact of government departments sharing certain information with citizens and partner agencies. A records management system that complies with POPI and other legislative parameters, while allowing government officials to respond rapidly to audits, examinations, and legal inquiries would remedy so many struggles.
  • Data management – As we settle into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, government departments are inundated with massive amounts of unstructured data which needs to be kept safe and processed to help leadership make more informed decisions, while still protecting sensitive and critical information.

Software as a solution

To facilitate the transformation process, Meyer advocates for partnering with a company that understands the intricacies of the government’s needs and one that can assist in employing software and ICT systems.

With this, government agencies could directly address key pain points such as effective document management, including the need for security, compliance, efficiency, cost control and waste reduction.

Here she points to Kyocera’s mix of enterprise content management (ECM), business process automation, workflow, records management, document imaging and webform software as a solution to the ICT issues currently plaguing the government sector.

More specifically Kyocera’s partnership with Laserfiche, an ECM software solution, enables access to years of experience with international governments.

Some of the elements that ECM software has helped governments with include:

  • Reducing paper-based processes to increase staff productivity and turn-around times.
  • Improving the ability of constituents and staff to search, share and collaborate.
  • Enabling mobile access for field workers.
  • Reducing the number of ancillary systems for an enterprise approach.
  • Streamlining and simplifying workflows through cross-jurisdictional and cross-agency collaboration.
  • Speeding up processes and eliminate redundant tasks through automation.
  • Creating greater coordination by using information in one program for another.

Here to help

Meyer notes that Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa is continually gaining insight into, and an understanding of, the requirements of government agencies, in order to meet their needs, throughout the country.

“We have experience in, and understand how technology enables crucial public services to provide an improved experience on what matters most to the public,” she concludes.

To learn more about how Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa can help enhance efficiency through document management at your organisation, head here.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Editor of Hypertext. Covers smartphones, IoT, 5G, cloud computing and a few things in between. Also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games when not taking the hatchet to stories.