Digital here, digital there – digital everywhere!

We didn’t plan it this way. But every story in Government News this week has to do with government’s use of digital technology.

It is a sure sign of the times. In the PC boom of the 1980s and the Internet booms of the 1990s, digital technology began to change our lives. Now, in the so-called Information Millennium, it continues to do so, at an increasing pace.

Government has been slower to react than private industry. But the fastest growth in digitisation has been at the personal level, largely driven by higher bandwidth and the near-universal availability of smartphones and other mobile technology.

Indeed, it has been our increased access to digital products and services, at a personal level, that has been one of the key drivers of the digital delivery of all virtually everything. In an always on connected world, we expect – and demand – a lot more.

Many in government are struggling to keep up. But they have no choice.

The articles we have run this week show the depth and breadth of digital technology in government in Australia.

  • We look at the ANZ Local Government Digital Maturity Index, a Government News initiative (sponsored by Objective) which measures and compares the extent of digitisation in local government (it’s a very mixed bag).
  • We report on the recent Social Media for Government Summit, which shows the extent to which this new medium has become an important part of how governments at all levels disseminate information, and at how they use the technology to measure the effectiveness of their message.
  • The Victorian Government’s largest agency, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has rebuilt its IT systems using cloud technology, enabling much faster applications development and much more control. CIO Dr Steve Hodgkinson told Government News how it was done.
  • Assistant Minister for Digital Transformation Angus Taylor explains how the Federal Government is engaging with the ICT industry, and how the Digital Transformation Authority is enabling a number of new technologies, and in particular identity management.
  • But digital is not everything. A guest article by Jabra’s David Piggott explains why the human touch is still important, especially in government (Jabra sells voice telecommunications gear).

Digital is touching every aspect of government, and every level. Government is essentially a services industry, certainly from the viewpoint of people who deal with it.

And in today’s world, services means digital.

Not until we were putting together this edition of the Government News biweekly newsletter did we realise that every story was about digital technology. It will not be the last.

Digital is the future. And, as this rush of stories shows, it is also the present.

Digitise or die!

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