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Q&A with Grantly Mailes – Governmental Barriers in the Digital Age Part 4

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In the final of Grantly's Q&A blogs he talks about how governments influence technological adoption and use it to improve their systems.


You have been quoted as an advocate for social, mobile and cloud computing in the past- but now wish to see Victorian officials broadening their scope as to how they can utilise other technologies to improve government systems can you go into a little more detail of what your reasoning is here? 


To be relevant in a digital world, governments must completely re-think their approach to service delivery. There are two dimensions that governments must pursue.


Firstly, success in digital will require significant change, which can only come from strong and consistent leadership from both the political executive and senior bureaucrats. Along with leadership, organisational change programs, service transformation and technology projects will require strong governance.


Secondly, success in digital requires new business models. Digital business models cannot be sustained in governments using the current crop of core processing and business processes. In most cases, core processing does not scale effectively and business processes are based more on history than the efficiency required in a digital world.


The combination of strong and consistent leadership, and progressive modernisation of core processing and business processes, will allow governments to become relevant in the digital world.



To what extent do the actions of other government bodies influence your behaviour in regards to technology?


Governments frequently look to their peers locally and around the world for cues for service delivery and to collaborate on a wide range of service and technology matters. Australian governments are no different. We often look to other Commonwealth countries because of the similarities in the system of government, but are also happy to follow the lead of other countries.


The Australian government Digital Transformation Office (DTO) is clearly based on the work of the Government Digital Service in the British Government. Establishment work for the DTO started in early 2015 and it will commence formally on July 1st 2015. Australia is not the only follower here. Denmark has a “digital first” service model.


“Cloud first” started as a government agenda in the first Obama administration and has found its way around the world.  Most government digital strategies globally can trace some of their roots to that initiative.


We will very soon see some of the digital initiatives of the Estonian government playing out in other governments. Estonia has taken a born digital approach to service delivery - where any service can be delivered online.


Over 10 years ago the South Australian government established Service SA - a service model that centralised many citizen-facing services into a single entity. Service SA is a branded retail channel and online property inspired by the digital channel. Since then, most other governments have followed with central service initiatives, with Victoria announcing “Service Victoria” in its recent state budget.


The rate at which government services are being moved from traditional to digital channels is increasing. Governments are beginning to collaborate on common roadblocks and sharing solutions. The most conspicuous example is the Australian government offering myGov to other governments at little or no charge. Australian governments have been collaborating on a broad range of technical standards and policies. State governments often adopt or adapt Commonwealth technical standards such as information security. The South Australian and Queensland governments have effectively open sourced a range of technical standards, software and services for use by other governments.


This is another edition in the series of Q&A sessions with business leaders and experts. Optus Business would like to thank Grantly Mailes for his time. If you'd like to know more about Grantly, please follow him at @grantlymailes.


All views expressed are those of the author.