In a previous blog, I compared the task of digitising the government services portfolio to eating an elephant – it’s a task that is most sensibly undertaken one bite at a time!

The benefits of digital enablement include cost optimisation and a lower administrative burden for the government itself, along with an improved relationship and higher service quality to the citizens. To get you started, here are the prerequisite steps as identified in our latest white paper.

The very first step is to establish consistency across organisational boundaries, certainly in the way governments communicate with citizens. Governments usually have multiple departments with multiple approaches, multiple solutions, multiple time-frames, and multiple objectives. You are never going to eat an entire elephant one bite at a time unless some order is imposed on this potential chaos on the process side. So first, create a consistent and innovative business and IT interlocked strategy, preferably at the highest governmental level. Time for solo adventures on interfacing with the citizens must be over.

The next step is to focus on citizen outcomes. This can be tough. Governments have spent many years respectfully looking inwards at internal structures. This was clearly understood and keenly observed; this service delivery followed the organisational set up. However, to digest the digital government elephant, this will now have to change. The transformation team must redesign services and processes around citizen outcomes and not around internal organisations anymore.

To optimise and standardise the solutions portfolio, the next step is to start using a digital reference architecture from day one. No more variations in similar business process flow across departments, with different rules and parameters or an application per process per department. Now all processes and client interactions must be designed and rolled out in the same way. And don’t be deterred by the importance of this undertaking – your approach should be incremental, starting with a first version and expecting to improve this over time.

Another challenge in the mammoth government initiative of digital enablement is the variety of data to be handled. Unstructured video, audio, and social media data needs your attention. So too, does fast-growing machine-generated data. All of this big data is coming into the organisation and it is increasingly being published by the organisation. You need to handle it, secure it, and analyse it. So, the next step is to design systems for structured and unstructured data.

The fifth and final prerequisite step is to organise around publishing qualitative Open Data by default. To be valuable and trustworthy, government data must meet the highest standards of quality and consistency. It must be extracted, transformed, and published the right way or industries will not convert it into apps. Quality comes for quantity (of number of data-sets).

When you have achieved these five steps, you’ve made it halfway through your elephant! Click to complete the entire digestive process: read my next blog titled The final steps in eating that [digital government] elephant.