Key Areas for CIOs to Build a Resilient Digital Government: Gartner Report

Analysts Share Digital Government Best Practices at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2016, November 6-10 in Barcelona

CIOs must work constantly with their IT leadership teams and the agency leadership in four areas to keep their digital government program on track and aligned with expected organizational outcomes, according to Gartner, Inc.
Dean Lacheca, research director at Gartner said, “Digital government failures or even minor setbacks may drive a risk-averse government to take a step back at the exact time it should be making bold digital investments. That’s why it’s vital that digital leaders in government look at four areas to build resilience and inspire confidence in their programs.”

Develop a Digital Leadership Program to Build Resilience and Digital Acumen

CIOs and IT leaders developing a digital initiative should build a partnership with their organization’s head of HR and the lead of any wider transformation programs. This partnership may be extended to other key roles like chief digital officer or head of citizen experience, where appropriate.

Create a Shared Digital Government Strategy and Continuous Delivery Practices to Sustain Momentum

Shared goals between the IT department and executive leadership within the government organization are a critical aspect of success. IT cannot be expected to successfully deliver digital government if it is focused on technology alone, as opposed to looking more broadly at organizational goals.

Implement a policy of Transparent, Open Communication on Progress, Successes and Setbacks

This step should be at the core of all IT principles, and should be clearly visible in the actions of the CIO and IT leadership team. Open and continuous communication around progress, successes and setbacks should underpin every stage of digital transformation from planning to delivery. It is one thing to achieve great things with IT, it is another to have those achievements recognized (and continue to receive the support they deserve). Communication is a vital and often overlooked part of success in digital transformation.

Take a Broad View of Risk Management Practices to Ensure They Reflect the Current Risk Appetite

The perspective on risk is one of the fundamental differences between government and the private sector. Public sector organizations are usually not driven by a desire for growth or shareholder return. Therefore, using traditional IT project-based approaches to risk management may result in a disconnection between the risk appetite of the organization and the risk-management activities of the program.

Implementing ‘fail fast’ approaches by backing agile delivery practices with formal reviews at crucial states by executive leaders ensures there is an ongoing dialogue on risk, and an opportunity for executive leaders to feel they are closely involved.

“The CIO must actively translate the needs and concerns of the organization’s executives into tangible goals for the delivery teams,” said Rick Holgate, research director at Gartner. This means being aware of the changing external influences on the program, while managing the risk expectations and concerns at the highest levels of organizational leadership. “Maintaining an ongoing dialogue on risk should allow the CIO to keep the digital government program on track, and build confidence that any setbacks are under control and within expectations,” concluded Holgate.

Holgate is sharing Gartner’s insight on trends in digital government at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2016 in Barcelona. Gartner clients can read more in “Four Actions Government CIOs Should Take to Maintain or Regain Trust After a Digital Government Failure.”

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