on cloud strategy but involves decisions and/or
work related to legacy systems, agile development techniques, talent management elements
and data analytics. “So much is involved when
you move applications on old technologies to the
cloud,” he says.
Count risk-aversion and reluctance among
the IT-project elements consultants need to address. Public sector leaders rarely want to be
first in line when it comes to testing out new
technology, systems or methodology. They
also recognize that they can no longer afford
to be left behind, given their escalating need
for efficiency and higher performance. Werfel
says clients are asking for help identifying the
right position on the new-technology adoption
spectrum to strive for—and for mitigating implementation risks and optimizing returns once
they’ve settled on new-technology investments.
“Public sector organizations are looking for
help at just about every point in the modernization lifecycle,” he adds.
Tension Management’s Staying Power
Werfel’s observation on the all-encompassing
nature of IT-related assistance also applies to just
about every other aspect of organizational performance in the public sector.
When asked to identify how she expects the
public sector to evolve during the next three to
five years, Ficery describes trends that touch on
most aspects of people, process and technology.
She also expects to see greater emphasis on the
co-creation of solutions grounded in data, an even
stronger focus on citizen experience and user-centricity, the application of behavioral science
insights and design thinking methods, more collaborations with citizens on problem-solving and
more fluid workforce models “that allow for more
project-based and nimble working environments”
while supporting more innovative solutions.
Making these types of improvements during a
period of declining spending growth suggests that
the current tension will sustain—requiring plenty
of management help from outside partners.
In our comprehensive look at the public sector two summers ago, IT modernization, cloud technol-
ogy, digital services and cyberse-
curity figured prominently among
the sector’s top challenges. While
those same issues also loom large
today, much has changed when it
comes to public sector consulting.
“Generally speaking progress is
being made, and public sector enti-
ties are doing a much better job of
identifying strategy and objectives
prior to undertaking any large [IT]
modernizations,” reports North
Highland Global Public Sector
Lead Barbara Ray. “This puts de-
partments in better positions to un-
derstand ROI and to identify if they
are meeting their goals.”
In the past 24 months state and
local organizations have notched
impressive progress migrating citi-
zen services delivery to the digital
domain and to smart-phone apps.
Ray points to paying bills, request-
ing pothole repairs, completing li-
censing procedures, making mobile
payments for parking meters and
getting in “virtual line” at the DMV
as illustrations of digital services pro-
gress. She also credits public-sector
organizations at the federal level for
making cybersecurity improvements
Sector Modernizes T