Embracing Digital Transformation

Embracing Digital Transformation

Greg Chavarria, CIO, City of Hallandale Beach

Greg Chavarria, CIO, City of Hallandale Beach

Digital transformation, when driven as a strategic initiative, embarks upon the integration of digital technology across all department units of the organization. This effort goes beyond the IT department and requires ample participation from all functional stakeholders. Digital transformation is all about improving business processes, leveraging an innovative culture and developing roadmaps for technology consolidation.

Why is Digital Transformation necessary?

Digital transformation is critical to any government organization. Our fast-paced world, changing times, fierce economies and the consumerization of IT demand digital transformation. Government technology leaders must have a forward-thinking mindset to enable digital transformation. This strategic initiative may accelerate government functions, processes, and capabilities that allow the organization to serve resiliently within today’s environment. Government CIO’s have the responsibility to become proactive and present innovative streamlined solutions to today’s multitude of complex challenges.

"Once buy-in and upper management backing are committed, ample awareness and critical project management practices will secure implementation efficiencies for digital transformation"

CIOs are the Catalyst for Digital Transformation

There are many factors required for the success of digital transformation strategies. From experience, digital transformation requires ample upper management sponsorship and buy-in. The CIO must start at the top and convey the winning factors for organization leaders. This effort may require highlighting the “what’s in it for me” to elected officials, as well, and ultimately provide value-added details that will bring forth momentum and support.

Once executive-level sponsorship is attained, culture transformation will be essential. The CIO must develop change management processes that will be key in revolutionizing the culture and perspective of individuals within the organization. Organization resources must know that they are valued and that digital transformation change is crucial to their growth and sustainability. Each individual must realize their role in the digital transformation effort, which will bring forth commitment and support from across the board. The CIO may propel digital transformation by identifying champions that will serve as change agents for proposed digital enhancements.

Instruments for Change: Ample awareness and formal project management practices

Once buy-in and upper management backing are committed, ample awareness and critical project management practices will secure implementation efficiencies for digital transformation. According to the Project Management Institute, communication efforts consume more than 90 percent of a project manager’s time. Project management combined with sound communication plans will supply the required level of integration effort required to bring forth transformation. Project management skills may be assessed to determine internal capabilities and controls for optimal performance. External support and project management training may be ideal to accelerate implementation of digital transformation.

Where do I begin?

CIOs may look at trends that are common in today’s business world. One may look at what other similar-size organizations are doing or evaluate the gaps that exist in within the government agency. Some of the current trends in digital transformation include Artificial Intelligence, personalization technology, mobile app services, cloud-based solutions, and interconnected IoT systems, to name a few. Each of these technologies brings forth digital transformation and integration efficiencies.

• Artificial intelligence: Through time, government agencies have gathered data that may be useful for developing cognitive technologies that could streamline work. Data mining and data analytics may be used to determine and predict behavior and modernize customer services for the general public. For instance, what if trends exist within the data that may predict when an illegal incident may occur, thus allowing the government agency to prevent an issue from arising? These could be explored further to determine feasibility.

• Mobile App Services: Look around you, and you will find the mobile-use phenomena in full effect: everyone clutching their smartphones. According to a report published by comScore, in 2017, mobile users consumed data more than twice the amount of time via mobile platform than desktop users. These stats compel CIOs to develop rich mobile smart apps and digital platforms that enable engagement and mobile connectivity. Streamlining the communication process between constituent and government agency will provide a win-win story for all stakeholders.

• Cloud-Based Solutions: Long gone are the days where a data center is required to host an amplitude of servers along with the costly maintenance operational plans. Today’s technology provides cost-efficient solutions that offer streamlined maintenance, business continuity and disaster recovery simpler and less complicated. Cloud-based ERP solutions may mitigate the need for numerous patch installations and costly onsite support services. Imagine how the cost savings may be used as reinvestment funds to accelerate further digital transformation.

• Interconnected IoT Systems: The wide-spread availability of sensors and high-capacity server processors have afforded new Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities. Today, green-sustainability options are available through the use of sensor-driven temperature control devices and smart lighting systems. License plate readers with optical character recognition (OCR) capabilities have provided greater Public Safety alertness and improved crime-fighting efforts. Smart water utility meters allow government utility agencies to be able to monitor water usage and control waste real-time.

Digital transformation platforms enable the technologies listed. CIOs may start by assessing and identifying opportunities for core government functions. Brainstorming with division leaders may bring about new partnerships and buy-in approaches for implementing digital transformation. CIOs that can initiate digital transformation formally may increase their chances to resolve today’s leading challenges with better control of resources, improved relationships and improved delivery times for digital transformation.

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