Digital transformation (noun): Digital transformation can refer to anything from IT modernization (for example, cloud computing), to digital optimization, to the invention of new digital business models. The term is widely used in public-sector organizations to refer to modest initiatives such as putting services online or legacy modernization.
That’s the definition Gartner gives for the sprawling phrase digital transformation. And as you see, it can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people — especially in the public sector.
From business process improvement to modernizing services to be more in line with what citizens expect in their interactions with leading innovators in the commercial world, digital transformation in the context of the federal government most often ties to using digital technologies to deliver a better experience for users, customers or the federal workforce.
While many agencies kicked around the idea of a digital transformation for the past handful of years — whether it be through a cloud migration or moving bringing more of their services online — the COVID-19 pandemic really served as a catalyst for a large scale rethinking of service delivery as traditional, in-person service delivery and on-site office work were disrupted, forcing agencies to replace them with digital alternatives in rapid fashion.
Even as agencies return to the office, IT leaders aren’t going back to the ways of the analog past, looking to sustain the momentum around digital transformation gained over the past two years.
This special report, which will be updated in the weeks following its initial publication, will explore what exactly digital transformation means to the many who use it as a term of art across the federal government, how agencies have accelerated their transformations amid the COVID-19 pandemic and what they’re doing to sustain it, and the challenges that stand in the way of the government operating more like its counterparts in the commercial world.