What is digital transformation?
Digital transformation is the act of introducing technology to significantly change the business processes of public sector organizations. It is valued for helping organizations create new business models, introduce best practices and make better decisions to improve their overall performance and how they serve citizens. However, many organizations have misinterpreted digital transformation as meaning acquiring technology as an end to itself, without determining how the technology purchased would support any effort to improve performance. In this regard, digital transformation is not simply about implementing the latest software or cloud service, but a genuine effort to make organizational change and use technology to support the success of that change.
Planning takes precedence over technology
The digital transformation trend is putting pressure on public sector organizations to rethink how they operate, but simply acquiring new technology is not how they will achieve success. Public sector organizations need to be aware that a strategy for organizational change has to be developed before they can proceed with selecting technology. For digital transformation to be successful, technology needs to be paired with a solid plan for improving processes and performance.
Creating a strategic plan is more complicated for public sector organizations due to their unique mandates and constituents, the inclusion of multiple agencies, and different administrative structures. Organizations will need to identify their management and process problems, as well as determine goals and objectives for performance improvement. It will be a long, challenging endeavor involving many stakeholders to create a strategic plan that fundamentally changes how the organization operates, but ultimately will be worth the effort. As stated in the McKinsey report, Digital by default: A guide to transforming government, “capturing the full potential of government digitization could free up to $1 trillion annually in economic value worldwide, through improved cost and operational performance.”
Once a public sector organization has done the hard work of developing a strategic plan, then the technology solutions that drive digital transformation can be considered.
Technology that drives digital transformation
Best-in-breed technology can help public sector organizations become more efficient, reduce costs, promote collaboration and enable better decision-making. But public sector organizations are often challenged with tight budgets and legacy systems that are shared by multiple departments or agencies. For this reason, many organizations take a piecemeal approach and select only key areas to introduce the technology that will drive digital transformation.
Before making a purchase, organizations should ask themselves can the technology:
- Help the organization achieve goals and priorities?
- Improve internal processes, increase business value and enhance programs and services for citizens?
- Provide a platform for collaboration between the organization’s departments and teams?
- Create a bridge between strategic, financial and operational planning?
By asking these questions, organizations will have a better understanding of what technology is a better fit for supporting their digital transformation.
Transforming the budgeting process
Public sector budgeting is one key area which can be significantly improved with digital transformation. The traditional budgeting process is long, manual and involves many departments. By introducing budgeting software, organizations will have a modern solution to improve their processes for budgeting, forecasting, analyzing and reporting on their operating, capital and salaries budgets. In addition, budgeting software offers the latest tools for creating models, projections and calculations, as well as obtaining actionable insights, and creating comprehensive reports and dashboards for sharing with stakeholders.
Questica Budget is a budgeting solution specifically built for the public sector that streamlines budgeting processes for greater efficiency and accuracy. Questica Budget is a collaborative system that provides users across an organization access to budget data at any time, allowing them to create reports, forecasts, and what-if scenarios. With automated processes and workflows, public sector organizations can save time and make faster data-driven decisions that provide value to citizens.
Questica Budget features two recently added tools that empower users with powerful new functionality. The Advanced Calculation Engine (ACE) is a general purpose calculation system that gives clients the ability to create complex formulas, calculations and templates using Excel-based functions to be used, saved and shared within the system. ACE provides the ability to perform calculations and reveal in-depth information to help managers better understand their budgets. In addition, Questica Budget’s revamped dashboard and reporting features have been enhanced with robust analytics, table and data visualization options, editable templates, personalized and intuitive dashboards and onscreen reporting that can be shared securely across the organization
Digital transformation helps public sector organizations improve their overall performance while providing long-term benefits such as process efficiencies and cost savings. However, it is crucial for organizations to understand that digital transformation is not just about buying new software or subscribing to a cloud service. First they need to create a strategic plan for organizational change before choosing the technology that will help them successfully facilitate change. Budgeting is one of the processes that can be transformed with technology. When public sector organizations operate with greater efficiency as a result of digital transformation, they can offer programs and services that benefit citizens and the community.
To learn more about the Questica Budget Suite of software solutions for budgeting and transparency, read one of our blogs or white papers, take a product tour or sign-up for one of our free monthly informational webinars.