Local government saw unprecedented change as the pandemic disrupted both councils and communities. Councils mobilised to accelerate or devise digital transformation plans, quickly embracing new ways of working. But the transition has not been smooth for many - highlighting the role that leadership needs to play in successful digital transformation.
With the onset of COVID-19, many councils adopted a fragmented approach to building out their digital capabilities, rushing to digitise specific functions and services as opposed to planning a council-wide digital transformation approach. Inefficient solutions that were difficult to scale were quickly put into place to continue council operations. But these solutions didn’t meet councils’ usually high standards of service and compounded strain for internal IT resources.
When councils rely on a patchwork of isolated short-term solutions, they unintentionally open themselves up to cyber security risks, increase the complexity of hybrid manual and digital services that IT teams are expected to administer, and have to deal with the risks and compatibility issues around each new component.
Councils who responded best to the challenge had a holistic digital transformation blueprint that used complimentary technologies, had executive-level support, resources and training around standards and processes. From the beginning, and at every stage of the transformation, leadership must be deeply involved to ensure its success.
Although IT departments can often handle the strain that internal cyber security management places upon them, the larger issue is that many simply lack the wherewithal to actually tackle these complex problems. Blissful ignorance and hope are not a strategy.
Councils are entrusted with highly sensitive data about their employees and their communities, and in an increasingly complex cyber landscape, need to have a clear digital transformation vision and strategy in place to ensure best practices around data security and data privacy.