From adaptive security to augmented intelligence – 10 trends for smart city CIOs
The policy is the technology and the technology is the policy. That is the truth of city governance in the digital age, says Gartner. Any government services delivered at scale are underpinned by various technologies, it says. The challenge is to get these technologies right; failure to do so will undermine service, policy, and government in the end.
There is huge pressure on chief information officers (CIOs) in public office – in conjunction, increasingly, with chief digital officers (CDOs) and chief information security officers (CISOs), as partners in city-oriented digital transformation – to leverage technology for their leaders’ political designs.
Gartner, which has come up with a handy list of 10 technology trends for CIOs (see below), observes this pressure is not just on delivering functional and secure technology, which brings economic and operational efficiencies for cities, but on technology that drives social and environmental gains for both cities and citizens.
There has been a shift, as digital technologies have become pervasive and all-promising. These good social drivers are no longer vote-winning byproducts of IT-style efficiency drives for local governments; they hold an equal strategic standing, and they must also consider, as analytics and automation become commonly available in civic governance, complex issues around data governance, ethics, and security.
Rick Howard, vice president analyst at Gartner, comments: “Now more than ever, technology priorities must be established in the context of business trends such as digital equity, ethics and privacy, and the need for institutional agility. CIOs can use these trends to engage stakeholders, demystify concepts, and promote discussion about their value to citizens and society.”
The Gartner list presents 10 technology trends that will increasingly occupy CIOs in the next years, as standard technology challenges around connectivity and integration are further complicated and multiplied by control and ethics.
“It is Gartner’s list of strategic technology trends that are, should be or soon will be critical areas of focus for government CIOs as they transform public services,” explains Howard, pointing as well to the fact their importance will vary according to the tier of government (national, regional or local) and the precise business context.
Here is the list, quoted in full; the original Gartner report is available here.
1 | Adaptive security
Governments in all geographies and at all levels are under attack, driving the need for new security approaches. An adaptive security approach treats risk, trust and security as a continuous and adaptive process that anticipates and mitigates constantly evolving cyberthreats. It acknowledges there is no perfect protection and security needs to be adaptive, everywhere, all the time.
2 | Citizen digital identity
Digital identity – the ability to prove an individual’s identity via any government digital channel – is critical for inclusion and access to government services, yet many governments have been slow to adopt them. Government CIOs must provision digital identities that uphold both security imperatives and citizen expectations.
3 | Multi-channel citizen engagement
Governments that meet citizens via their preferred channels, for example, in person, by phone, via mobile device (over 50 per cent of government website traffic now comes from mobile devices), smart speakers, chatbots or augmented reality, will meet citizen expectations and achieve program outcomes.
4 | Agile by design
Digital government is not a “set and forget” investment. CIOs must create a nimble and responsive environment by adopting an agile-by-design approach, a set of principles and practices used to develop more agile systems and solutions that impact both the current and target states of the business, information and technical architecture.
5 | Digital product management
Over two-thirds of government CIOs say they already have, or are planning to implement, digital product management (DPM). Often replacing a “waterfall” project management approach, which has a poor track record of success, DPM involves developing, delivering, monitoring, refining and retiring “products” or offerings for business users or citizens. It causes organizations to think differently and delivers tangible results more quickly and sustainably.
6 | Anything as a service (XaaS)
XaaS covers the full range of IT services delivered in the cloud on a subscription basis. The 2019 Gartner CIO Survey also found that 39% of government organizations plan to spend the greatest amount of new or additional funding on cloud services. The XaaS model offers an alternative to legacy infrastructure modernization, provides scalability and reduces time to deliver digital government at scale.
7 | Shared services 2.0
Many government organizations have tried to drive IT efficiencies through centralization or sharing of services, often with poor results. Shared services 2.0 shifts the focus from cost savings to delivering high-value business capabilities such as such as enterprise-wide security, identity management, platforms or business analytics.
8 | Digitally empowered workforce
A digitally enabled work environment is linked to employee satisfaction, retention and engagement – but government currently lags other industries in this area. A workforce of self-managing teams needs the training, technology and autonomy to work on digital transformation initiatives.
9 | Analytics everywhere
Gartner refers to the pervasive use of analytics at all stages of business activity and service delivery as analytics everywhere. It shifts government agencies from the dashboard reporting of lagging indicators to autonomous processes that help people make better decisions in real time.
10 | Augmented intelligence
Gartner recommends that government CIOs reframe artificial intelligence as “augmented intelligence,” a human-centered partnership model of people and artificial intelligence working together to enhance cognitive performance.