Voices from Accenture Public Service


To avoid creating problem legacy systems of the future, it’s important that governments take a continuous approach to modernizing their legacy core systems. I covered the challenges and the critical need for governments to update their systems in my last blog. Now, I’ll share a new approach, Continuous Transformation, and how it can respond to some of the challenges.

Traditionally, core system transformations have involved “rip and replace” overhauls, implementing entirely new systems and processes for a business function over a few years. This is a high risk and high impact change, and while still appropriate in some cases, an iterative, evolutionary approach can achieve the same outcomes with less risk and impact. Continuous Transformation done this way can help governments avoid ending up in the same core systems crisis again in 5-10 years due to outdated technology.

Continuous Transformation is a personalized journey based on patterns and philosophies that enable continuous change.

Continuous Transformation provides a path towards achieving fundamental change while avoiding the risks of large-scale implementation programs. It’s a middle ground between keeping the lights on (a do-nothing strategy) and full systems replacement. Through this approach, a European social security agency was able to stabilize its pension case management system while adding new functionality to keep pace with the country’s national pension reforms. This enabled the agency to provide proactive, high-quality services to citizens faster and at approximately 20 percent lower costs.

How can an organization maintain its old experiences while implementing new ones? It starts with a clear vision about where the organization should be from a business and technology perspective at high level. This is not detailed as there are many ways to achieve the vision, and the journey is just as important as the destination. Monolithic legacy systems that are integrated require an understanding of how both the data and process flows work between the systems. The user experience for staff and citizens also needs to be carefully considered for a seamless and efficient outcome during the transition. Lastly, organizations will need to find ways to fund improvements progressively – investing progressively rather than waiting for a crisis.

Many transformation programs done the traditional way fail because the risk and complexity of organizations’ legacy systems are too complex. A Continuous Transformation enables governments to be agile and change gradually over time to meet evolving citizen demands. This approach will be unique to each organization’s circumstance but based on repeatable patterns. In my next blog I will explore some modernization strategies for Continuous Transformation.

In the meantime, please leave your comments, thoughts, and suggestions at the bottom of this blog, and follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Further Reading:

The Future of Back Office Government Operations: Transforming to Improve Citizen Services

Modernization in the Digital Era: IT at an Inflection Point

Government in an Era of Digital Disruption


  1. Well observed @Carl Ward. There are only three certainties in life: 1. Death 2. Taxes 3. Policy, legislative & associated process change. Continual Transformation is a sound basis for a ‘build for change’ mentality, in which strategy, tools and methodologies can not only adapt to change, but also accommodate as yet unknown future requirements. This demands in turn robust tools for managing 1. business rules (across multiple programs/services) 2. citizen (and other) data (invariably spread across multiple systems) 3. the ‘engagement’ or ‘interaction’ layer. Only when there is real flexibility in how these three elements interact will government agencies be able to genuinely claim that they are ‘agile’.

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