GTEC Summit: On the road to digital transformation

GTEC Summit: On the road to digital transformation

Posted by Nicole Gibson, Head of Marketing, Adobe Canada

Social, mobile, cloud and big data technologies – collectively known as the Third Platform – have ushered in a digital revolution. It has redefined engagement and reset our expectations about how, when and where we consume information or access services.  While it has never been easier to connect with one another, the changing expectations and sheer volume of digital noise also means that it’s never been more difficult – especially for the public sector.

On June 7th 2016, hundreds from the public and private sectors attended the GTEC Summit in Ottawa to discuss the future of experience-led government.  Thought leaders from around the world came together to explore better ways to engage, interact with, and serve Canadians.

Rethinking the Government Business Model

In essence, government is the foundation that we build our lives, society and culture on. It exists to build infrastructure, support markets and set the guidelines for protecting personal and human rights.

However, during his presentation, Alan Webber, Research Director with IDC Government Insights noted that technological change is forcing governments to transform in ways it was never designed to do and governments are feeling the strain. We are seeing cracks in the foundation already – service levels falling behind, massive budgets being spent on just operations and maintenance, regulation years behind technology deployment, and more.

As a result, governments around the world are realizing the need to transform their digital web presence and service delivery model to keep up with today’s citizens.

That said, there is a correlation between countries with the highest mobile penetration rates and digital progressive governments. Basically, these governments are seeing how, when and where their citizens are getting information and adapting to meet citizens’ changing expectations.

Ultimately, understanding your stakeholders / citizens is the very first and most important step in the digital transformation process.  According to Webber, the six steps that are critical to digital transformation include:

  1. Understand stakeholders
  2. Design user experience
  3. Plan for security and privacy
  4. Embrace the device
  5. Personalize users’ experience; and
  6. Define context (the process environment)

The Experience Wave

The second step– design user experience – stems directly from the first.  In order to design a seamless experience, you first need to understand what information and services your citizens need, how they wish to receive it and when…which is easier said than done.

Adobe’s John Mellor touched on the importance of delivering an engaging experience for today’s citizens and the challenges to do so.  Canadians expect consistent, continuous and compelling experiences that make every engagement, digital or physical, seem effortless, with little regard for the complexities or challenges that expectation creates.

Mellor noted that beyond the technological expectations – anywhere, anytime and on any device – there are other, more intangible criteria that public and private sector organizations need to meet in order to deliver a compelling experience.

Harkening back to the first step in digital transformation, today’s citizens / consumers expect the government and companies to know them and respect them.

Secondly, citizens expect governments, companies, celebrities, etc. to speak to them in one voice. Speaking in a unified voice helps cut through the digital noise and deliver a consistent message across any device or platform.

Thirdly, governments need to make technology transparent and clear – particularly with the use of citizens’ personal information. Being clear and open about the technology will help build citizens’ trust of the organization – regardless of whether it’s private or public sector.

Finally, citizens expect to be delighted at every turn. For governments and corporations it means delivering a personalized experience unique to each person…or step five in the digital transformation process.

Accelerating the Transformation

The GTEC Summit ended with the Why Experience Matters Panel moderated by John Mellor and featuring leaders from the private and public sector, including:

  • Alex Benay, President & CEO, Canada Science & Technology Museums Corporation
  • Imran Khan, Vice President, Digital Customer Experience, TD Bank Group
  • Peter Simeoni, Assistant Deputy Minister, Citizen Service Branch, Service Canada

The panel focused on the importance of delivering a personalized experience as a driver of engagement and public trust. Additionally, Mr. Benay and Mr. Khan noted that delivering a unique, personalized experience can act as a competitive differentiator – setting your organization apart, while building equity with citizens / consumers.

Setting your organization up to deliver seamless, personalized experiences takes time to achieve. But there are ways to accelerate it.

Step six revolves around defining context, or more specifically, the process environment within your organization. Assistant Deputy Minister Simeoni noted during the panel that accelerating an organization’s digital transformation means acting and thinking differently.

Some takeaways from the panelists include:

  • Scale matters. Personalization means being able to scale to fit each citizens’ needs
  • Hire for fit over experience
  • Storytelling is participatory and shared, not curated
  • Reward risk-takers and use happiness as a metric
  • Design an organizational structure that propels transformation

For governments, digital transformation is a daunting challenge, but a necessary one. Thankfully, innovative approaches and industry-leading technology will set the foundation for tomorrow’s citizen engagement, delivering consistent and compelling experiences that matter to Canadians. Watch a recording of the sessions from the GTEC Summit here.

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