Paul Robson, President, Adobe Asia Pacific
Can you imagine a world without smartphones, or tablets; Facebook or Twitter? Can you imagine relying on enormous paper maps to find your way around a new city, or needing a number – fast – and flicking through a phone book? Most people can’t, because the world has changed with the proliferation of mobile internet. Digital has disrupted almost every aspect of our lives and organizations around the world are undergoing the tectonic shift that is digital transformation. Some are leaping ahead, others are lagging, but no sector is off the hook, including governments, which are at the forefront of citizen interaction.
The community, and the way we communicate, has changed dramatically in the last ten years. At the same time, we have access to the most sophisticated technology we’ve ever seen. Governments have an opportunity, and a responsibility, to leverage that technology to better engage with citizens, inspire them with streamlined, personal experiences, and generate efficiency and savings in these cost-conscious times. There are three key drivers that will shape digital disruption in the public sector: mobile, the internet of things and making everything digital.
Mobile and the proliferation of smartphones and tablets
Mobile is no longer a nice-to-have option – it’s a requirement. Smartphone penetration in Asia Pacific has exploded in recent years and according to the OECD, markets in Australia, Japan and Korea are above the 100% penetration mark. People have seen the value and convenience in using mobile technology in their day-to-day lives for all sorts of tasks, and they expect the same value and convenience from public sector agencies.
Public sector employees are also benefiting from mobile technology. Some public agencies have introduced BYOD because of the money saved by not providing employees with a device, but also because these employees have increased their productivity using mobile technology. Moreover, mobile technology can enable secure teleworking, which can ensure continuity of government services in times of crisis such as a natural disaster.
Organizations that do not provide content in mobile form are limiting accessibility. This issue does not just affect on-the-go executives. A range of demographics have adopted mobile devices including younger constituents and citizens with limited funds who cannot afford a personal computer and Internet access, but can afford a mobile device and data plan.
When combining the citizen demand for mobile information with the agency demand to increase self-service as a means to lower agency costs, it is clear that mobility is the future of citizen engagement.
The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things might have seemed like something from a science-fiction movie not so long ago, but not anymore. As we begin to enter a new era of machine-to-machine communications, we will see a redefining of the relationship between and people and things. For governments, there will be access to citizen insights like never before.
From farmers being able to monitor temperature, soil moisture and acidity and the effect it has on animal behavior; dishwashers knowing when to operate when the energy grid is least busy, to automated self-medication, the Internet of Things is disrupting and changing our lives.
Making everything digital
People expect access, engagement and transparency from government. They want faster access to services, to forms and the information they need. So what does that mean for governments? Adobe surveyed government communicators in the US earlier this year as part of its Digital Distress research and found that just 34% felt they had sufficient tools to be an effective communicator for their department of agency.
If governments are going to reach and engage citizens they need to target the platforms people are using and deliver engaging, personalised experiences. Future focus will be around mobile optimization, mobile apps and website optimisation. Today, according to Digital Distress, government communicators are embracing this disruption and are actively preparing for these changes. In fact, 38% of respondents are considering adopting Mobile Optimised Web, while 42% already use this tactic. In the growing field of website personalization, 26% of respondents are considering adopting this technology while 19% already use this.
As our lives become more focused and reliant on digital, those departments and agencies which embrace digital government and invest in the right technology and people will see the benefits. They will inspire their citizens with engaging, personalised experiences and they will reap the benefits of cost savings and efficiencies.
To find out where your agency or department falls when it comes to digital transformation, take Adobe’s Digital Marketing Maturity Assessment.