Other parts of this series:
- Avoid the storm: what Europe needs to know to enact a new public services model
- What public leaders need to know to make a decision for change
- Turning ambition into action: How to launch the future of public service
- Tax compliance in the age of Ultron
- Preparing for the possible: the public service transition to a post-digital era
Believe it or not, the post-digital era is upon us. Just as people no longer claim living in the “age of electricity”, the days of digital technology serving as a differentiating advantage are outnumbered. It’s now expected. The post-digital era focuses on hyper-personalisation and on-demand digital services – characteristics I previously described as a “natural system”.
However, public service agencies are not prepared for the post-digital era because they have not yet conquered the digital era. While they still have a lot of groundwork to cover, it’s not too late. It just requires a more concerted effort to become a living organisation, bearing in mind the trends of the post-digital era.
Fighting the perfect storm
Why have so many public service organisations found it difficult to make a full digital transformation? For one, macroeconomic and geopolitical trends are putting pressure on governments to meet skyrocketing demand for more and better services. And second, escalating internal business and technology gaps challenge their ability to respond to citizen needs.
Serving citizens is a constant, laborious responsibility. Most, if not all, of an agency’s time is spent maintaining consistent services. And while there is a lot of pressure to become more digital and provide more personalised experiences, they lack the resources and capabilities for a complete transformation.
To establish a natural system, public service organisations need to create engaging experiences that respond to and even predict citizen needs. Making this pivot requires a new framework with the right enablers:
- Strategic principles: a preventative and citizen-centric government that targets resources on those who need it most with maximum impact;
- Fiscal and operating model shifts: a preventative and citizen-centric government that relies on fiscal and operating models that are digitally-driven, insight-oriented and innovation-enabled; and
- Change enablers: cross-cutting change enablers that build capabilities to accelerate fiscal and operating model shifts.
A post-digital world doesn’t mean the end of digital. But it does raise the question, how will you use digital to provide the needed hyper personalisation?
There is a new set of emerging technologies that will become an important catalyst for this change. It will be driven by technologies that Accenture’s 2019 Tech Vision outlined as DARQ – Distributed ledger technology, Artificial intelligence, extended Reality and Quantum computing.
Here are some ways DARQ will characterise the public service sector in the post-digital era:
- Distributed ledger technology: Blockchain will establish new, stronger trust relationships.
- Citizen AI: This powerful new member of the workforce will have unprecedented access and impact on the ways people work and live.
- Extended Reality: By tapping into the expertise of thousands of skills from anywhere in the world, organisations will be able to create new solutions that bypass the distance-based challenges they face today.
- Quantum computing: This will be the engine to support the exponential demand for processing.
DARQ technologies will drive the post-digital wave. However, catching that wave will only be possible once public service organisations master social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC) technologies. These are core competencies that serve as the foundation for what’s next.
Even though you may not be ready for the post-digital era, that doesn’t mean you can’t explore the power of DARQ. Some have already had success. Blockchain and biometrics are now being used for identity management where trust is key. Known as ID2020, this personal, private and portable solution empowers individuals to access and share appropriate information when convenient and without the worry of using or losing paper documentation. For those people lacking official identities, Accenture’s Unique Identity Service Platform deploys a breakthrough biometrics system that can manage fingerprints, iris scans and other data.
The post-digital era provides a glimpse into what public service agencies can expect in the future. For now, they need to be pragmatic and progress with their eyes on the future.
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