It’s an exciting era for federal IT leaders –- and a demanding one. They are observing the digital evolution producing “smart enterprises” in private industry. A smart enterprise is one that takes advantage of digital innovations not just to produce incremental gains in savings or productivity, but also to inform every aspect of the enterprise.
The smart enterprise leverages digital innovations to differentiate from competitors, perform its operations, produce its products and services, delight its customers, and capture new ones -– all while safely securing its information and networks. The smart enterprise is hyper mobile and always on, requiring flexible, always-on support. Users work collaboratively, connecting via any and all devices, using social media intensively, and consuming massive amounts of data -- much of it highly sensitive.
Creating such an enterprise is one thing for digital natives like eBay, Uber, Amazon, and lesser knowns like Dollar Shave Club, Postmates, and Glossier. They tend to be agile, unburdened by legacy culture or technology obstacles, heavily funded, and highly valued even before turning a profit. But large-scale digital transformation is arduous, complicated, and costly for traditional organizations that have to overcome constraints of legacy systems, long-established cultures, vast but mostly unusable data stores, and constant pressure from overseers.
Many government agencies find themselves in the latter category, with digital pilot projects and small initiatives underway as they gain insight and experience. As citizens become dependent on digital enterprises, they expect similar performance improvements with government services, the success of which increasingly depends on agencies’ ability to securely translate data into informed insights at record speed.
Success also depends on the ability of government to replicate the modern work environment of digital enterprises, which requires attracting, developing, and retaining skilled resources in direct competition with private industry. A recent study we conducted found that workers at technology laggard” organizations are more than 500% more likely to be frustrated and 600% more likely to consider quitting when they work with outdated technology.