According to a recent Gartner report, 64 percent of CIOs view culture as a barrier to digital change. Furthermore, a survey by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers found that resistance to change was the highest ranked roadblock by CIOs in accomplishing their digital goals. Culture can be a difficult thing to change.

When it comes to change – especially digital change – government employees and CIOs rightfully should exercise caution. They have an obligation to taxpayers to make responsible, thoughtful decisions about the technology they use, to ensure it prioritizes the needs of citizens while maintaining fiscal sense and accountability.

On the surface, adopting new technologies can seem expensive, time-consuming to implement and inherently risky. But choosing the right digital solution can drastically transform an agency for the better – resolving recurring, perennial problems for good and unveiling, correcting and eliminating inefficiencies an agency never even knew it had.

Here are some methods government agencies can adopt to break through culture barriers and unlock digital transformation:

  • Create a digital strategy – Having a plan on how to best adopt and implement new technologies is instrumental to success in this area. Crafting a list of strategies, measurable goals and expected outcomes of the new digital initiatives for an agency goes hand-in-hand with their desire to exercise caution and remain accountable to taxpayers. Employees should be involved in this process to remain aware, accountable and in-the-know.
  • Keep the citizen top-of-mind –The ultimate purpose of working in the public sector is to serve the needs of the public. But it can be easy to lose sight of the end goal in the face of day-to-day challenges. When striving to create a more open culture that is accepting of digital transformation, there should be a focus on the end-user of government – the citizen – with emphasis on making their lives and government interactions easier.

  • Think outside the box – Many workplaces have a tendency to maintain the status quo. In the public administration space, decision-makers and IT leaders should think outside the box for new solutions and encourage creativity among front-line employees, encouraging the consideration of new technologies to uncover process efficiencies.
  • Ask questions – When it comes time to choose new digital tools and software, it is critical that a government agency asks the potential vendors the right questions, getting down to the root of their problems by bringing up pain points and asking how their solutions can help. Asking the software vendor these questions can help ensure that an agency is taking the right steps to transform digitally and better serve citizens.