How the digital revolution is transforming the US federal government

The digital revolution is dominating and transforming the work of the US federal government, and those federal agencies that develop a people first approach will stand out in an increasingly digital world that is delivering bigger and better citizen experiences, according to research from Accenture Federal Services.

digital revolution

Leaders of companies and government agencies can often feel overwhelmed by the rate of technology change and experience a “digital culture shock” at the prospect of keeping pace in today’s digital economy. However, agencies using a people first approach can create new customer experiences that drive digital disruption.

The trends, fueled by the people first principle, that Accenture has identified as critical to the digital success of federal agencies include:

Intelligent automation

Federal leaders are embracing intelligent automation — powered by technologies such as artificial intelligence, social, mobile, analytics and cloud or Internet of Things — to fundamentally change the way their agencies operate and drive a new, more productive relationship between citizens and machines.

For example, as part of the US Census Bureau five-year Digital Transformation Program, work has begun to set the stage for the first digital Census — including redesigning and deploying to a new modernized web platform, migrating and transforming the millions of existing assets and records, and leveraging modern digital analytics and dissemination capabilities.

Liquid workforce

By capitalizing on technology to enable workforce transformation, leading agencies will create highly adaptable and change-ready environments that are able to meet today’s dynamic digital demands.

Survey respondents underscored the importance of a liquid workforce by ranking qualities such as “the ability to quickly learn” and “the ability to shift gears” higher than “deep expertise for the specialized task at hand.” With the pending administration transition, building systems that can adapt to wholesale changes in the workforce will be key to helping ensure that citizen services are not disrupted.

Platform economy

Business leaders are unleashing the power of technology by developing platform-based business models to capture new growth opportunities. These new models are driving the most profound change in the global macroeconomic environment since the Industrial Revolution, and 81 percent of survey respondents agreed that they will become part of their organization’s core growth strategy within three years.

Predictable disruption

Fast-emerging digital systems are creating the foundation for the next wave of enterprise disruption. Previous technology disruptions were often unpredictable, but federal agencies can now develop systems and anticipate the impact of those disruptions. As an example, in response to the growing number of people who use health wearables or add smartphone apps that help them track their health, policymakers at all levels of government are trying to figure out how to safeguard that data and ensure privacy.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is establishing a framework of best practices for the effective use of patient-generated health data (PGHD) in research and care delivery and to identify best practices, gaps and opportunities for the collection and use of PGHD.

Digital trust

Trust is a cornerstone of the digital economy, according to 83 percent of survey respondents. To gain the trust of citizens and regulators in this new landscape, federal agencies must focus on digital ethics as a core strategy; better security alone won’t be enough.

For example, the Transportation Security Administration has created identity management and credentialing system processes to verify and manage millions of identities for those working at sensitive, secure areas throughout the U.S. transportation system.

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