How to close the digital transformation maturity gap | Unit4
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How to close the digital transformation maturity gap

from  August 23, 2022 | 4 min read

Learn how Unit4 customers identify the business risks when facing the digital transformation challenge, and their journey from business case to delivery, with faster time to value.

At the height of the pandemic, public sector services were hit hard with a surge in demand and tightening budgets in previously unseen volatile conditions. Yet, these organizations excelled at providing a vast range of services while developing agile ways of working and adopting remote working practices in an instant. The back-office teams supporting these organizations and their digital transformations have stepped up through difficult times and embraced the innovation needed to make the necessary changes.  

In our recent webinar, Scott McIntyre, Global Head of Product in the public services sector at Unit4, and Sridhar Paramesnwaran, VP of Value Engineering at Unit4, look at the highlights of the research recently commissioned from Vanson Bourne on how to close the digital transformation maturity gap. They discuss the true cost and value of digital transformation change, share the findings from Unit4’s global study, State of the Digital Nation, on how digital transformation in the public sector is progressing, and explore the challenges and successes of back-office innovation. 

To understand better the state of digital transformation within the public sector, our research surveyed over 600 people across several countries and different types of organizations. The main standout result was that 95% of participants stated that their organization does have some form of digital transformation strategy and that it's being rolled out to some extent. In general, this is great news for the sector; however, despite some significant changes, many organizations are struggling to adapt to their digital transformation journey.

  • 44% said their leadership teams resisted change.
  • 42% said their workforce resisted change.
  • 38% said their back-office systems were not agile or adaptable enough.
  • While 95% said they have a digital transformation strategy, only 1/3 have implemented it in full.
  • The average time for delivering a transformation journey was 2 ½ years.

Most public sector organizations have seen a rise in public pressure to improve spending transparency and to make services smarter and slicker. To do this, organizations need to look to technology to give them an edge, as 85% of respondents agreed that changes to their back-office systems have made their life easier. HR and people teams have been driving success in this area, and we are now starting to see the benefits of a happier, more productive, and more flexible workforce.

The adoption of newer technologies such as automated intelligence (AI) or machine learning has been gaining momentum, but many obstacles remain. 86% of our respondents believe that their people lack the right skills and training to adapt to these new technologies, and 99% of those using or exploring software as service applications (SaaS) reported challenges such as managing complexity or lack of time to manage their vendors. There are also security concerns and worries over duplication of data entry.  The key takeaway, however, was that many public sector organizations have multiple systems, and the ability to bring these systems together to share data is critical. Globally, there are areas of the public sector that have embraced digital transformation to increase performance and agility, but there are other areas that still rely on outdated legacy systems and manual paper-based processes that frustrate both those delivering the services and also their citizens.

The majority of our respondents said that accessing real-time data and up-to-date reports would make their role easier. Predictive analytics for workforce planning and forecasting would be beneficial among the finance decision-makers we surveyed. Many people said they faced challenges with adapting to changes in expense management and procurement processes, and 43% have seen regulations become more complex, adding to their list of challenges. Decisions are having to be made more quickly than ever, and many people feel more rapidly than they are comfortable with.

With more and more changes and pressures on the horizon that will impact funding, it is clear that public sector organizations need to jump on board with their digital transformation. Only 9% of organizations surveyed achieve data compatibility across their systems and organizations. This is a critical area that needs to be addressed, as when all systems across the organization talk to each other, the time and cost savings can be massive.

At Unit4, there are four pillars of value that our customers achieve:

  1. Total cost of ownership – a streamlined and simplified IT landscape that reduces and avoids many costs such as maintenance, customizations, and third-party spend integrations. It also builds future growth capability with services such as smart automation and cyber security microservices.
  2. Efficiency – driving resource productivity gains, allowing their people to do more with less, giving them time back to focus on value-added strategic activities, or deploying resources in more effective ways.
  3. Effectiveness – improved agility, process flexibility, improved insights, faster decision-making.
  4. Engagement – Attract and retain top talent with an easy-to-use system of engagement. Grow, develop, and support your people, providing them with a consistent employee experience across the whole organization.

As a company, we are conscious of the cost of change, the time it takes to deliver benefits, and also the speed to value. In our webinar, we discuss some customer stories and case studies so you can learn from other similar organizations that have gone through that transformational change. We have developed a public sector industry model that provides comprehensive coverage of core capabilities, all aligned to industry best practices and integrated through our next-generation smart technology. It covers capabilities across finance, accounting, budgeting and planning, program management, human capital management (HR) and people processes, and also procurement. It's not just about how we configure our software but also the content that you need to be able to deploy it. Our industry model implementation approach ensures that we provide a solution that is right for your organization now and in the future.  

How Unit4 can help your organization

With Unit4’s software systems, you can adapt and optimize how your people work to help you manage complexity and focus on the things that matter. Unit4 has a long history of supporting public sector organizations, so our next-generation smart ERP and FP&A software solutions are right for your business. With us, you can ‘Experience Real Purpose’ with an adaptable solution that’s right for you, now and in the future.

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Discover more

To discover more, click below to watch the full webinar, or you can book a demo and see what our solutions can do for your public sector organization yourself.