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Most Govt. Digital Transformations Fail.Here’s How to Succeed in Yours

Research shows that most government digital transformation projects fail. Read how governments can get technology transformations right.Governments worldwide are engaged in large-scale digital transformation projects to change the way they operate and deliver better services to citizens less expensively and more effectively. But the dirty truth is this: Most government digital transformation projects fail. So concludes research from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), which found, “Seventy percent to eighty percent of public-sector core-system modernizations either fail outright or are disappointments: they have budget overruns, missed deadlines, or fail to deliver expected functionality.”

The group says things needn’t be that way, and offers a solid set of recommendations for helping the transformations succeed in its blog post, “How Governments Can Get Technology Transformations Right.”

BCG says the stakes are high for the projects -- global investment in government IT projects will reach $476 billion by 2020, it estimates, with some individual projects costing $1 billion. If the projects succeed, they’ll be money well spent. The group says that “‘great modernizations can create value that is two to five times higher than those modernizations that simply come in on time and within budget.”

The primary roadblock to successful projects is the disconnect between the expectations of the public and the outdated systems governments need to modernize. The blog notes, “increasing numbers of citizens expect to conduct business with government using their mobile devices in a way that is as simple as downloading a song from iTunes or buying a product from Many government systems, however, were developed decades ago and are limited in their ability to support new digital user interfaces and tools.”

Making the problem worse: those core systems are inflexible and there’s a skills shortage of people who can work with the outdated systems. In addition, government is more risk-averse than the public sector and less willing to take on risky projects that may have big payoffs.

 How Can Governments Succeed at Digital Transformation?

Given all that, what can governments do to succeed at digital transformation? BCG says first, projects need to focus on transforming the way that governments work, not just the underlying technology. The group says, “This might include finding new processes to meet the needs of the department and citizens, segmenting citizens and tailoring services to the resulting citizen groups, or tying together services that are delivered through various agencies to provide more integrated services.”

Next, the system design and execution needs to be flexible. The group recommends, “Design and deliver in small blocks…regularly adapt plans to maximize business value on the basis of lessons learned.” The right delivery approach and partners also need to be chosen carefully. And finally, BCG recommends, “Overinvest in the right people and capabilities from day one.”

What’s the Best Tool for Governmental Digital Transformation?

Alpha TransForm can help speeding up government digital transformation. It offers tools that lets existing staff build business apps much more quickly and effectively and enables savvy business domain experts and IT departments to work together to digitize business processes and deliver tangible business impact. It also simultaneously enables IT to control data integration with systems of record, and data security compliance.

Learn how Alpha Software is helping Government organizations mobilize their processes and better serve citizens.

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About Author

Amy Groden-Morrison
Amy Groden-Morrison

Amy Groden-Morrison has served more than 15 years in marketing communications leadership roles at companies such as TIBCO Software, RSA Security and Ziff-Davis. Most recently she was responsible for developing marketing programs that helped achieve 30%+ annual growth rate for analytics products at a $1Bil, NASDAQ-listed business integration Software Company. Her past accomplishments include establishing the first co-branded technology program with CNN, launching an events company on the NYSE, rebranding a NASDAQ-listed company amid a crisis, and positioning and marketing a Boston-area startup for successful acquisition. Amy currently serves as a Healthbox Accelerator Program Mentor, Marketing Committee Lead for the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Launch Smart Clinics, and on the organizing team for Boston TechJam. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University.

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The Alpha platform is the only unified mobile and web app development and deployment environment with distinct “no-code” and “low-code” components. Using the Alpha TransForm no-code product, business users and developers can take full advantage of all the capabilities of the smartphone to turn any form into a mobile app in minutes, and power users can add advanced app functionality with Alpha TransForm's built-in programming language. IT developers can use the Alpha Anywhere low-code environment to develop complex web or mobile business apps from scratch, integrate data with existing systems of record and workflows (including data collected via Alpha TransForm), and add additional security or authentication requirements to protect corporate data.