The growing importance of cyber security in councils
Cyber security is also becoming a growing concern for councils, though actions on this front have been slow. The report found that 49 per cent of recipients use internal resources to manage security, 39 per cent do not have an enterprise risk management strategy that includes cyber security controls and 28 per cent have no dedicated resources in place to manage cyber security at all.
There has been a shift in thinking when it comes to cyber security, with many councils embracing Software as a Service (SaaS) because of the cyber security benefits. IT responsibilities are evolving accordingly. In many cases, internal IT teams now do penetration testing and cyber security audits.
At a strategic level, councils are thinking about ways to outsource aspects of cyber security when they transition to SaaS.
Executive leadership holds the key to digital transformation
A healthy 41 per cent of respondents were best-in-class, and three quarters of these reported that their executive teams are either actively involved with their digital transformation or participating in quarterly reviews of their strategies.
Executive leadership must take charge and lead digital transformation. Digital transformation is organisational change at the highest level and is a business transformation as much as a technological one. Change on an organisation-wide scale always creates uncertainty. People wonder about how the change will affect them and their jobs.
From all of the successful transformation cases we have seen, and there are many, the governance process and leadership were always driven by the CEO or executive sponsor who had the mandate and authority to drive change across the organisation.
Council leaders need to include a communications component along with their digital transformation plans to show their staff and their communities what the change will mean for them. There is a huge opportunity for councils to upskill and redeploy their staff to support the council’s digital transition. Digital modes of working need to be integrated into a council’s culture, include staff and ultimately support the communities the council serves. That makes the involvement of senior leadership critical to the success of their digital transformation plans.
The report illustrates that while COVID-19 has been a catalyst for increasing the pace of digital transformation, local councils are still in the early stages of their journey to digital maturity. Technological innovation, coupled with the transformation of their human resources, are going to be the key enablers for councils to serve the evolving needs of their communities.