More than one in five people in South Africa’s formal economy are employed in the public sector. It is clear that driving efficiencies is a key objective for government leaders. IT as an enabler has become a hot topic for the public sector.
“Government organisations need to become smarter in order to deliver sustainable public value in the face of financial and human resource challenges, evolving demands and disruptive events such as natural disasters and civil unrest,” Gartner vice-president & distinguished analyst, Andrea DiMaio explains.
During the past few years, in order to respond to demands to do more with less, government organisations have pursued increased standardisation, sharing and consolidation of technology resources and services, often by establishing shared-service organisations and creating standard operating environments.
“Although this process has enabled them to make savings, it has also been perceived as reducing flexibility and agility in individual agencies. Agility will become a requirement as important as consolidation and efficiency are today.”, he says.
DiMaio explains that the pace of technologically driven change is continuously accelerating and this puts increasing pressure on organisations to change and adapt.
Evolution in the uses and sourcing of technology offers new ways to strike a better balance between cost containment and agility. Early signs of this can be seen in initiatives like open government, the use of social media and the gradual shift toward cloud computing.
“Although at face value these initiatives seem to have little in common besides being somewhat hyped, they all present elements of a trait that is key to supporting agility — choice: choice in engaging citizens in problem solving, choice in giving employees the ability to blur the boundaries between personal and enterprise information, and choice of vendors and technology deployment models.”
Given this background, DiMaio offers the following strategic planning assumptions for government organisations:
* By 2015, more than 50% of government outcomes will depend on consumer or highly-commoditised technologies;
* By year-end 2011, at least 30% of governments worldwide will implement initiatives to reduce IT costs by 20% or more;
* By 2015, 50% of government IT shared services and centralisation initiatives will be supplemented by public or community clouds; and
*By 2014, agency IT infrastructure and operational head count will fall by 20%.