This year’s Australian Local Government CEO Index found that local government leaders nationally were concerned about digital transformation, with this being the highest-ranking priority for council CEOs.
While a great deal of investment and planning goes into developing and maintaining Australia’s infrastructure, leaders are often faced with a lack of integration, cross-team communication and ageing legacy IT services which can make it tough to implement digital transformation and, ultimately, impactful change within the community.
While technology can – and should – play an important role in tackling these challenges, there is also another solution which can have a significant impact: collaboration. Here, I delve into why collaboration can play an important role in supporting the digital transformation of Australia’s public sector.
Digital transformation can’t be achieved in silos
Organisations today are under immense pressure to improve efficiencies, reduce costs and provide a better service, and the same rings true for local governments. While embracing technology solutions such as those that enable automation can play a big role, it’s also about getting the thinking right. Digital transformation involves understanding, designing and managing processes and people, as well as having the right tools.
With this in mind, the greatest barriers to success when it comes to digital transformation are often resource constraints, a lack of collaboration and a single unified view. Typically, local governments will develop their own plans and strategies while focusing on executing these as efficiently as possible, alone.
Digital transformation involves understanding, designing and managing processes and people, as well as having the right tools.
A key strength of the local government sector is its collaborative culture and the passion of its people to make a positive difference to our communities. By tapping into these strengths, breaking down silos and creating a more collaborative public sector, we have the potential to unlock far greater capabilities, learn from one another and have a unified view with people at the centre.
Local Government Information Technology SA Incorporated (LGITSA) embodies leadership and advocacy on behalf of information technology and information management professionals working within the Local Government sector of South Australia.
LGITSA provides a voice and delivers outcomes for the local government sector through our key programs and services, which importantly include forums for collaboration and networking and a range of partnerships and alliances.
Putting collaboration into practice
In 2018, the Cities of Charles Sturt (CCS), Marion (COM), and Port Adelaide Enfield (PAE) formed a collaborative partnership with a view to provide a greater service to our communities. To enable collaboration and knowledge sharing across business functions, the IT infrastructure of all three councils had to be closely aligned.
One of the key alignments needed was the service deck, which is the main point of contact for most IT-related requests. However, the setup of the three councils was very different and made effective collaboration and cross-team communication a challenge. For starters, each council had its own service desk solutions, so information from one couldn’t easily be shared with the other. On top of this, ageing legacy software provided a further challenge.
The greatest barriers to success when it comes to digital transformation are often resource constraints, a lack of collaboration and a single unified view.
To tackle these problems head on, the councils replaced their ageing legacy IT service desk with Freshservice, a product of Freshworks, helping to streamline internal operations and deliver a strong employee experience.
The collaboration between the councils helped build a strong local network and the benefits seen aren’t just in the dollar value of savings, but also in the sharing of knowledge and skill sets across the councils, helping to create stronger communities across the board.
The councils saw a reduction in IT requests, which translated into a 10 per cent decrease in phone calls because employees were able to easily find a resolution without having to contact the team and, in total, over 1,500 IT assets have been migrated – results that have changed the way we work.
Ultimately, a future in which more collaboration and knowledge sharing exists can play a fundamental role in driving digital transformation forward. Putting people at the forefront of how we operate and the changes we make is key, as well as having a unified approach and the right tools to help. Only this is how we can focus on creating Australia’s digital-first future.
Karin Swiatnik is the President of Local Government Information Technology South Australia and from the City of Charles Sturt
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