Public Sector Renews Focus on Employee and Citizen Digital Experiences
May 13, 2024
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Government agencies are transforming to improve the digital experience for employees and citizens, allowing them to achieve key goals, including unleashing staff productivity, recruiting and retaining talent in the public sector, and delivering on the mission, according to the Global Digital Employee Experience (DEX) Survey from Riverbed.

This transformation is also proving critical in overcoming the sector's many challenges, including the acceleration of hybrid work and a skills shortage as the workplace and workforce shift at an unprecedented pace.

Evolution at the Speed of Today's Employees

Every industry is facing a talent shortage, and the public sector is no exception. As longer-standing staff members retire, a new generation of digitally native Millennial and Gen Z workers enter with high expectations of their technology and digital experience. In fact, 86% of the public sector leaders surveyed believe they'll need to provide more advanced digital experiences as a fresh generation of employees enter the workforce.

New investment areas include unified observability platforms, which can deliver exceptional DEX by providing visibility, AI and actionable insight into entire infrastructures; 74% of IT respondents in government believe unified observability with greater automation can help close the skills gap.

Additionally, new investments are expected to support the hybrid workforce, as 49% of public sector employees operate in a hybrid model, and 92% of public sector leaders surveyed say hybrid working enhances their ability to recruit talent and remain competitive in the future. As a result, 83% of public sector leaders who responded to the survey plan to invest in technology over the next 12-18 months to support this hybrid workforce.

Enhanced digital experiences aren't simply considered a nice-to-have either. The survey showed that 58% of leaders in the public sector believe there would be a disruptive or reputational impact on their organization if the DEX needs of younger generations aren't met, while 63% agree that these employees would consider leaving the government organization if they didn't enjoy seamless digital experiences.

The Role of the Public Sector CIO is Shifting

As CIOs are consulted on significant strategic decisions that affect recruitment and productivity, they're expected to adopt a more prominent role within the leadership team.

81% of public sector decision-makers surveyed acknowledge the increasing relevance of IT within their organization's leadership team. In addition, 89% of the respondents agree that IT is more responsible for driving innovation now than it was three years ago. In effect, the pressure is on IT and its leaders to make smart investments and implement technologies that will support the cause and mission rather than adding extra complexity.

Decision-Makers Express a Heightened Interest in AI and Cloud

Separate research on government digitization from Deloitte says that the ultimate aim of governments must be from "doing" digital to "being" digital, which means "the human experience is elevated. Human-centered design and advanced technologies like AI, cyber, and cloud are used to radically improve service delivery by transforming government operating models."

McKinsey agrees, stating that "by digitizing processes and making organizational changes, governments can enhance services, save money, and improve citizens quality of life", and the Global Government Forum names digital transformation as one of the top four priorities for 2024.

This aligns with Riverbed's findings, as 80% of public sector leaders surveyed are planning to accelerate digital experience adoption and implementation.

Additionally, the survey found that the cloud (44%), AI (38%), and automation (33%) will become mission-critical priorities over the next 18 months. Unified observability uniquely fuses all these technologies while providing holistic visibility across physical and virtual environments, plus additional productivity-boosting functionality through AI and automation.

88% of the leaders surveyed agree that unified observability is important (45% critically important) to deliver DEX, and 87% say there must be greater investment in unified observability solutions that provide actionable insights for better employee and customer digital experience.

Methodology: The Riverbed Global Digital Employee Experience Survey 2023 polled 1,800 global IT decision makers (ITDMs) and business decision makers (BDMs) across 10 countries and seven industries, including 320 public sector leaders. The survey was conducted by Sapio Research in May 2023 to explore generational expectations, hybrid work, the evolving role of IT, and challenges and strategies to delivering an exceptional DEX.

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