Top-5 Takeaways from the 2017 IDC Government Insights Conference

Recently, Solnet (in partnership with IDC and others) gathered together 30 CIOs from across government for a one day conference in Wellington - 2017 Government Insights. 

This provided an opportunity to hear about where various government agencies are going on their digital journey, along with some free and frank discussion on what’s working, how to improve, and what factors are going to shape government technology choices in the coming years. The following are our five key takeaways and lessons:


1. Make yourself a digital-first organisation and start with your exec team. 

Digital-first is about digital leaders within the organisation being elevated to the same level as the rest of the exec team. Either it lives with an existing exec like the CIO, or in some other way it reports to the CEO. Each organisation is different, so will need to do what works in their case. 

This approach ensures there is accountability and responsibility for the growth and quality of digital across the organisation. It also means that the rest of the exec team understand how they can be leveraging digital technologies for performance improvements in their own domains.


2. Commercial satisfaction measures and scores have a place in government too. 

As government begins to rely more and more on digital channels to offer services to New Zealanders, satisfaction measures like Net Promoter Score, data around how people interact with digital platforms, and more traditional customer satisfaction surveys take on new meaning. 

The reason for this is that digital channels give us access to a wealth of information about how our customers behave, what they like and don’t like, and how we can continuously tune and improve our approach. There is also a rising expectation from the public that the interactions they have with government will at least equal those they have with major consumer brands.  A slick customer experience which adds value needs to be front and centre.


3. There is a difference between digitising your business and changing or expanding your business with digital. 

Digitising business processes for the sake of efficiency and cost is completely different from offering new products and services via digital channels. 

For consumers, being able to interact with government or any organisation digitally is now a hygiene factor. The strategic and technology thinking required to get to this point will not lift organisations to the next level of customer interaction and digital product delivery. Government organisations need to take a critical eye to both the technology stack which underpins their core functions, as well as the more consumer facing technology which they wrap around this to give the best experience to their customers.


4. There are huge benefits in opening up and sharing data – but we need to protect privacy. 

Government must deal with an extra level of complexity, security and risk when it comes to people’s private data. Both government and businesses realise that their customer data is a hugely valuable asset when it comes to developing the products and services people want, making investment decisions and improving the customer journey. 

However, in the case of government, no other industry has a higher standard for how it must treat data, with any failure or data breech being played out in full view. With this in mind, smart data strategies, technology choices, storage and permissions need to be managed with an eye to the future. This means that citizens can be comfortable their data is being used in a way they have consented to and is stored securely to protect their privacy.


5. AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning will be hot technologies for government in the coming years.

AI and machine learning are already starting to revolutionise how organisations are both dealing with, and processing, customer data. When this is applied at scale, the performance benefits to the organisation are huge. In the case of government, this will allow for a wider offering of digital services, with AI and machine learning doing some of the heavy lifting due to the sheer volume of data.

In practical terms this means that applying for government services can be automated to the point where people will be able to devote their time to the exceptional cases which need a person to make complex decisions. This will reduce the repetitive workload on teams and let them apply their skills where it counts the most. 


Throughout the conference, we saw again and again the need for good digital technology partners who are both practical and add value quickly. But also have an eye on the future and what can be done. 

From digital and technology strategies, through to designing your customer experiences and interactions for maximum impact, talk to us today to realise your digital potential.