The Australian government is thinking about wholesale upgrades to its digital transformation agenda. Source: Shutterstock

The Australian government is thinking about wholesale upgrades to its digital transformation agenda. Source: Shutterstock

Australia’s digital transformation agenda to add holistic milestones

COMPARED to peers in the Asia Pacific (APAC), Australia has been a little slow to lunge into digital projects. However, the country is making good progress.

Last year, the government launched its ‘Digital Transformation Strategy’ along with a Roadmap with about 100 key projects and milestones across government services, aimed at delivering world-class digital services to the public.

At a recent event in the country, Government Services Minister Stuart Robert said that the past 12 months have been very rewarding, with the successful roll-out of digital services from 73 of the 100-odd projects initially tabled.

The ultimate goal, of course, is to make all (public) services available digitally by 2025.

While Robert reported making progress on several fronts, including myGovID and Australia Post’s Digital ID, some experts such as University of Sydney Business School Professor and Chair in Management and Decision Sciences Ben Fahimnia believe that more coordination and collaboration is required.

However, given the direction that the government is now going in, it seems as though Fahimnia’s concerns will be addressed adequately.

“[…] In addition to progressing individual projects and initiatives, in order to make our goal a reality, we need to tackle bigger and more complex structural, the whole of government issues in the period ahead.”

“This is a critical new layer in prosecuting the vision of the Digital Transformation Strategy.

“The current siloed approach to technology architecture, investment, and delivery across government departments makes it difficult to deliver interconnected services that span agency boundaries, address people’s complex circumstances and life events.”

The Government Services Minister also explained that the current funding processes are inhibiting the take-up of more agile ways of delivery at a time when the era of billion-dollar monolithic technology projects that take a decade or more to deliver is clearly past us.

Further, he said that the lack of a sophisticated whole of government portfolio view of ICT projects, capabilities, needs and liabilities makes it difficult to develop scalable platforms and capabilities.

“This is not the way to get the best value of your, mine and every taxpayer’s money. This is not the way technology and business teams should be constrained when trying to deliver services.

“Most importantly, this is not the way we will be able to deliver a customer experience that is simple, smart and personalized for the benefit of all Australians.”

To ensure that the government creates holistic milestones going forward, the Digital Transformation Agency will engage with the largest technology shops in government such as defense and home affairs – to create a task force that will explore what a single whole of government technology architecture may look like.

The task force will then identify critical technology capabilities that support broad business outcomes and progressively develop a more nuanced view of strategic capabilities across government.

“This will help us understand both the common functions we need to perform across the whole of government as well as discrete capabilities specific to the business needs of individual agencies.

“Consistent with the Digital Platforms Strategy, we will then be able to identify and invest in scalable platforms across the whole of government in an effective and more efficient way.”

Ultimately, the government is keen on building systems that provide delightful experiences to the public, seamlessly — and is taking action to make that happen, quickly and effectively.