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Nine public sector predictions for 2020

Posted by  Mark Gibbison

As we enter a new decade, we will see a renewed focus on infrastructure expansion, climate change and data ethics. To meet rising expectations from citizens and staff, we’ll see revived investment in AI, Cloud ERP and IoT technologies to help public sector organizations deliver improved services while reducing admin costs.

1. The digital citizen/customer will rule the day

Taxpayers will expect a more joined-up service from all layers of government as they increasingly expect to be treated like customers. Through unique digital identifiers and increased use of app-based, cloud ERP platforms, public sector (PS) organizations will have access to the capabilities to start meeting these expectations. Therefore, I expect to see PS organizations creating seamless, personalized customer experiences to improve services across federal, regional and local municipalities.

2. Expect more investment in infrastructure

We will see increased investment in large-scale local infrastructure projects over the next couple of years because of the low cost of capital and borrowing. It’s happening in the US already, and the UK Government has expressed its commitment to investment following the recent election. But, to manage these large-scale projects (while delivering more and better services with less funding), PS organizations will need to increase the efficiency of their admin services. So, I expect more demand for support from ERP partners as a result.

3. Governments will become ‘smarter’

Governments will become more digital through initiatives around mobility, security, education, environment and economy to serve citizens better. It’s happening in cities, airports and universities in the US, Canada, the UK and the Nordics, according to Deloitte Insights’ Government Trends 2020 report. Globally, we’ll see government organizations investing in technologies which help them analyze data from Internet of Things (IoT) devices so they can measure performance against plans and KPIs to better manage resources, assets and services.

4. Local government’s role in climate change will expand

As the global focus switches from emissions to consumption, and climate change rises up the political agenda, we will start to see more focus and investment on initiatives at a local level. Smart cities will only be part of the solution. Again, in order to invest in the green agenda, I expect to see local government organizations deploying technology systems which help them improve operational efficiency, especially around admin services.

5. The importance of Cloud and platforms will grow further

As the capabilities of Cloud and platforms mature, it will hasten adoption. The reason for this is simple: PS organizations need to future-proof and digitize themselves to improve citizen services and meet other challenges; these technologies help them do that. Modern Cloud ERP platforms, for example, are scalable (they offer extensibility through microservices), configurable (through low/no-code application development) and they offer almost unlimited flexibility. So, we will see an upturn in investment from PS organizations in these technologies.

6. Employers will improve people experience

Artificial intelligence (AI) will affect government workforces. But it’s only one of the ways the world of work is changing. Younger generations are influencing what staff expect from employers, and the public sector will be no exception. As a result of this rapidly changing environment and rising expectations, governments will look to technology to help them make work easier for their staff through better talent management and an enhanced people experience. The rewards will be improved employee engagement, productivity and retention.

7. AI will play a more significant role in the public sector

AI suits the public sector because it needs high volumes of data. And governments’ use of AI has grown. According to the same Deloitte report, 80 percent of early adopters are using it (or plan to use it) to improve services, and 90 percent consider cognitive technologies to be of “extreme strategic importance” for internal processes. Examples are available from the UK, the US, Canada and Sweden. As such, I predict AI-powered ERP, including digital assistants like Wanda, will become increasingly essential to improve services and reduce admin costs.

8. Prepare for new data ethical issues

As more decisions are automated, and because PS organizations collect so much personal data, they will need to stay ahead of the curve on citizens’ data rights as new legislation emerges (and it will). The need for more robust data governance to meet compliance, transparency and accountability requirements will rise sharply, as will demand for the right systems to support it.

9. IT vendors will need to show social value

For IT vendors, demonstrating social value used to be a nice-to-have. That’s all changed. Vendors are now scored on what they will do for the community; this element is weighted between 10 and 30 percent, and tenders are based on the National TOMs Framework (in the UK), and equivalents in US, Canada and Nordics. So, as we enter a new decade, I can only see the importance of this increasing.

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Mark Gibbison