Public sector agencies realize the potential of digital transformation. The replacement of outdated legacy IT systems with modern technology such as the cloud has the potential to transform how agencies operate and deliver services, enabling a 21st century user experience with the kind of seamless access and convenience that constituents have become accustomed to in their private lives. Although the benefits of cloud migration and modernization are evident, for many agencies it can be tough even to know how to begin.
The public sector is currently undergoing a considerable wave of IT systems replacement, and for many agencies, this upgrade is long overdue. Many government agencies upgraded their IT systems before Y2K, but in some cases not since. These legacy systems create challenges from the perspective of cost, security and efficiency, as well as the ability to keep pace with innovation. Public sector agencies that are not moving toward digital transformation risk becoming outdated, complicating their ability to meet constituent needs, as well as attract the next generation workforce.
Largely, the public sector recognizes the need to modernize their IT systems. It is easy to understand why agencies are cautious, however. The process of modernizing an agency’s IT system can feel overwhelming and should come with some significant strategic questions. “A true digital transformation requires not only a monetary investment but an investment of time and expertise from leaders across an organization,” says Dr. Kurt Steward, Infor’s Vice President, Public Sector. IT leaders can struggle with determining how and where to begin. “The key,” says Steward, “is for organizations to have a strategic plan, the right technology tools and a willingness to change how they operate.”
Through modernization, agencies can create a consistent view across the organization, maintain the pace of innovation and keep pace with emerging technology such as AI, automation and robotics. “Legacy systems don’t support agencies’ complex organizational needs,” says Steward. These new technologies are held back, and in some cases not possible, within old systems.
With the cloud especially, agencies can design and build a secure IT system that works for them. IT needs fluctuate agency to agency, and at times, even department to department within an organization. Utilizing the cloud, agencies can determine the type of services and security best for their organization, customizing access to the system. Cloud systems are also easier and more cost effective to keep current, lessening the likelihood that a system will fall behind technologically and need to be fully replaced in the future. “The ease of updates alone makes adopting the cloud worth it,” says Steward, “a subscription-based cloud model enables organizations to keep their system current, while also ensuring consistency across different departments.”
To effectively plan and complete a digital transformation, public sector agencies need a vision and a team. “Agencies need more than specs — it comes down to experience,” says Steward. Working with a partner who is an expert in the field, who knows the technology and can design and implement a transformation strategy custom to your agency, ensures success. Further, it allows agency staff to focus their energy and resources on what really matters: their mission.
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