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How do LGAs measure digital transformation?

The new ANZ Local Government Digital Maturity Index (DMI) surveyed over 100 local government authorities in Australia and New Zealand about the extent to which they are digitising their internal processes and the delivery of their services.

It also shows the extent to which LGAs are measuring the extent of their digitisation. The DMI shows that the use of metrics to gauge the extent of digital implementation in local government is in most cases not well advanced.

Nearly three quarters (73 percent) of LGA’s measure website activity and most (59 percent) measure internal processing times for service requests. But only 27 percent measure the extent to which they are interacting digitally with local businesses, and less than a quarter (23 percent) measure their performance against their overall digital plans.

Even social media presence and response, now a widely used medium for interacting with clients, is measured by less than half (44 percent) of Australian and New Zealand LGAs.

“There is simply not enough measurement of the effectiveness of digital technologies,” said the report’s lead author, Government News editor Graeme Philipson. “In fact, the data shows that almost all the lowest performers (as indicated by overall DMI score) are not measuring performance at all.

“There is simply not enough application of metrics to the digitisation process. There is an old dictum that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. This Is as applicable in digital delivery as it is in any other area. Metrics shouldn’t be an afterthought – it should be an essentials part of the digitisation process.”

The Digital Maturity Index is based on a survey of over 100 LGA is in Australia and New Zealand, enabling detailed analysis and comparison of the various components of digital transformation. It was researched by Government News and sponsored by Australian information and process governance software company Objective.

The DMI contains four sub-indexes. One of these looks at external customer services – the extent to which ratepayers and other external stakeholders can interact digitally with the LGA. Another looks at internal processes and operations – in-house systems and the extent to which staff can interact digitally with each other.

Another sub-index covers overall digital strategy, while metrics and adherence to digital standards is also a sub-index. One series of questions in the survey asked about the extent to which LGAs the following the Australian Government’s 13-point Digital Service Standard.

Although this standard is not targeted at local government, it is a useful guideline for planning, implementing and measuring the success of new digital services and processes.

About 60 percent of LGAs are aware of the standard and have used it – or are planning to use it – for aspects of their service design activities. The most popular criteria are:

  • ‘Make it Secure’ – with appropriate legal privacy and security measures (40 percent).
  • ‘Make it Accessible’ – regardless of users’ ability and environment (34 percent).
  • ‘Don’t Forget Non-Digital’ – so other channels are still available without confusion (38 percent).

Overall, the use of metrics and standards is the least advanced the four components of the Digital Maturity Index.

“The use of metrics that reflect the current state of play and clearly justify the case for change can help build support for digitisation,” said Mr Philipson. “Regular progress updates against these same metrics can demonstrate improvements and benefits as they are realised.

“There are many critical factors in the successful transition to a citizen-centric digital local government. The DMI shows that metrics is one of these. Others include strong leadership, more streamlined or automated processes, and a creative approach to staff engagement.”

Government News will publish more findings from the DMI benchmarking survey over the coming weeks. Download the report here.

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