Technology in Government Performance: Digitalization and Open Data

It is no longer an option for finance leaders in government organizations to choose whether or not they utilize technology to propel their organization towards success. It has become a necessity. This report observes how technology is enabling and will continue to improve the operations of governments all over the world.

Governments throughout the world are drawing on technological and digital tools to enhance services to their citizens. This work is driving improvements, innovations, and ever higher standards.
It is no longer an option for finance leaders in government organizations to choose whether or not they utilize technology to propel their organization towards success. It has become a necessity. Government entities must become increasingly ‘technical’ if they are to meet their stakeholders’ needs and assure accountability to their citizens by using predictive and prescriptive data analytics strategically, along with digital, mobile, and cloud technologies.
Our initial research indicated that when it comes to technology, the main roles of finance professionals and leaders were focused on investment decisions. However, it is also clear that these roles are expanding to include a broader focus – increasingly, finance professionals are working with colleagues across the business to translate data-driven insights into impact.
Government leaders, too, have an expanded role. It is no longer enough simply to make the right investment decisions. Working together with their IT and finance colleagues, they now have a significant role to play in helping to embed new data and digital initiatives. Leading by example, they must ensure that the information and insight generated is used proactively to support better, more sustainable public services.
The pace of change in the digital environment means that senior leaders now have access to richer sources of data than ever before. However, recent CGMA research indicates that information overload and data management issues are hindering effective decision making. Without analysis and insight, data is not knowledge. This is for the simple reason that numbers usually require explanations, context and conversations to become meaningful. So, how can leaders translate data into actionable insight?
As with any resource, responsible planning and management are key to maximizing return.  Best practice data planning, we found, covers the entire value-generation process (or business model). It will also invariably include financial, non-financial, and hybrid data in a structured and controlled environment. The data plan should also include details about the information technology needed to support the cost-effective sourcing, assembling, refining, and presentation of data.
Technology is key to harnessing the current and future requirements for government organizations to effectively manage, deliver, and exceed the expectations of citizens and stakeholders. Data and digital transformation will be at the heart of success and sustainability as local governments empower their citizens and finance teams towards increased collaboration, change management, and better community services.
Business partnering is becoming a reference for good governance in the digital marketplace, whether it is between internal departments or with other agencies, commercial vendors, or citizens utilizing the service or facilitating service processes and disruption solutions. Beyond its immediately recognizable benefits, the use of technology provides a foundation for innovation, improves cybersecurity and projects transparency, transformation, and talent management into the future. 
Government finance functions have a significant and innovative role to play in driving efficient, sustainable services that meet public needs. Whether it is for a small municipal entity, a large metropolitan government or something in between, success is exemplified and made measurable through the resource efficiencies, cost savings, and economic development generated when new data technologies are successfully employed. As finance leaders, often management accountants, are increasingly empowered to act on information provided through the use of technology, success will be measured by the scale of citizen benefit.
Cross-functional working is crucial to success: as with all infrastructure projects, engineering the future can only be achieved through a co-operative partnership approach.

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