Digital transformation delusions warning

Socitm has warned that authorities need to engage in ‘higher level’, technology driven work in order to achieve less ‘cosmetic’ digital transformation of their operations.

Recent academic findings from Brunel University have questioned the value of digital transformation plans of local authorities, arguing that, in some cases, the potential of ICT to change policy design, implementation and administrative practice has been ‘missed’.

The university research suggested that ‘digital’ should be enabling transformative policy development, rather than just undertaking existing policies ‘faster, better, and cheaper’.

In response, Socitm has outlined three ‘delusions’ currently held about digital technology in government and public administration.

The first ‘delusion’, it argues, is that digital transformation is about cutting costs, when in fact additional resources may be required. The second is the need for everything to be user-focused, which carries the risk of overlooking wider transformation of processes.

The third ‘delusion’ is the immediate understanding that technology will transform processes independently, when, in reality, technology is one of many enablers, not the sole necessity.