Deloitte’s GovTech Trends 2024 report predicts a gradual move within government from technical debt to technical wellness in the coming year.

Deloitte’s GovTech Trends 2024 report predicts a gradual move within government from technical debt to technical wellness in the coming year. Wong Yu Liang/Getty Images

2024 to bring ‘shifts’ in government tech

Obviously, artificial intelligence will be important. But a new report says there are other big advances on the horizon that governments will need to keep a close eye on.

While much of the hype going into 2024 for government technology surrounds artificial intelligence, a recent report says leaders should pay attention to more than just the shiny new object.

There are broader issues at play, according to Deloitte’s GovTech Trends 2024 report. While AI offers a lot of promise, especially through its generative applications, governments will need to approach modernizing legacy infrastructure in a more holistic way, embrace new computing technology, better empower workers and track the continuing evolution of the metaverse.

Scott Buchholz, chief technology officer for Deloitte’s Government and Public Service practice, said making predictions about technology can feel like an inexact science, but the overall trends usually hold true.

“The thing about trying to make predictions about the future is that sometimes the precision is wrong, but the direction is correct,” he said.


Nowhere is that more true than with the metaverse, which remains important, albeit in slightly different ways than anticipated a few years ago. 

While the hype surrounding the metaverse may have died down somewhat in recent years as companies that promoted it have redirected their spending to other initiatives, many of the basic principles behind it are still in effect, like using virtual and augmented reality technology and having immersive experiences for its users.

Buchholz said that is seen most in virtual reality training for employees in various fields, including law enforcement and social work, but also in the continued growth of digital twins, which create electronic replicas of buildings or other infrastructure to simulate challenges and changing conditions.

Governments’ use of the metaverse and metaverse-adjacent technologies will continue to evolve, Deloitte said, even though it may appear on the surface to have taken a back seat to other advances like AI.


2023 saw an explosion of interest and hype surrounding AI, especially its potential to make government more efficient. Generative AI could help alleviate some of the more mundane tasks employees must do and allow them to focus on bigger tasks.

The Deloitte report said it expects governments to implement more pilot initiatives to test the possibilities of generative AI and learn how to harness it safely and securely. And it said that generative AI’s ability to help agencies find answers to questions about existing policies, summarize large documents or data, and suggest content for review are among its best potential use cases.

“The interesting thing is—I think wisely—people have not just jumped off the deep end and released unfettered access to crazy things to make crazy things happen,” Buchholz said. “However, what I would say is, there is a lot of judicious use of the technology that's going on; there is a lot of experimentation.”

From technical debt to technical wellness

Modernizing legacy technology remains a key priority for governments, especially as they look to reduce their technical debt, which can refer to all manner of technological sins, including older systems, poorly written code, bad software design or inadequate documentation. That technical debt can make software or technology updates difficult to implement.

Reducing that technical debt is an ongoing challenge, but Buchholz said there appears to be a “shift” underway, as some agencies seem to be focusing more on technical wellness. That means instead of approaching modernization one system at a time, agencies can work to progressively add more modern technologies and techniques, including automated management.

That way, modernization can happen at a more appropriate pace and reduce the need for the kinds of major technological upheavals that can wreak havoc on existing infrastructure, Deloitte said.

“The shift I think we're seeing is that sometimes people get over indexed on this idea of technical debt for individual systems, and sometimes what's actually important is the collection, not the individual item,” Buchholz said. “You can upgrade the individual item, but [still] have everything else be broken around it. Or you've changed the process, but you can't really change the whole [technical debt] because it's served by a variety of these parts.”

Empowered employees, enhanced computing power

Amid the desire for more technical wellness, Deloitte also identified several opportunities for governments to take advantage of new computing technology. That includes new processing tools, custom chips used for AI and machine learning, and the promise of quantum computing that many states are looking to take advantage of. Governments will need to choose wisely from the various technological options on offer, as the right solution can improve performance and reduce cost. 

And to truly take advantage of that computing technology, governments also must empower their engineers and tech employees, Deloitte said. That means helping them be more productive in their jobs—including by embracing generative AI to help write code—and by eliminating any bureaucratic tasks, as well as promoting more professional development opportunities.

To stay competitive with the private sector, Deloitte urged government agencies to have a more flexible employee experience, something that Buchholz said some leaders are “waking up to.”

“There are pockets where enlightened leaders over the years have realized, for instance, that Agile [project management] is not just about ceremonies, but it's actually—in the best of all worlds—about removing impediments and barriers to progress,” he said.


Finally, next year will be a major election year, and state and local governments will be on the forefront as they staff polling stations and count votes, all while navigating various threats including cyberattacks, the physical safety of their election workers and the continued use of mis- and disinformation from bad actors.

Dealing with all those threats will need cross-agency collaboration, Deloitte said, and a unified approach to information sharing. It is “not the first time” governments have had to deal with all these threats at once, Buchholz said, although the growth of AI-generated deepfakes has made those issues even more difficult to deal with.

“The future is not random,” Buchholz said. “There are surprises, certainly. But if you sort of squint your eyes, you can see where things are generally headed.”