The ever increasing demands of masses and the requirement of instant services have prompted a massive transformation about how governments work. The governments should also be ready to take advantage of greater economic openings and other opportunities that developments in technology and massive changes the world have seen in the recent years offer. Therefore, governments are doing many things to live up to these expectations such as greater cross-border activity and increasing interdependence on each other to promote greater co-operation.
Context and Drivers of State Transformation: There are many drivers that have prompted the state transformation over the years, some of which are as under.
Citizen Expectations: The new breed of internet based, modern citizens ask for instant and effective services delivery. Similarly, expectations from governments are constantly increasing putting them under pressure to provide instant, personalized services.
Macro Economic Conditions: Governments are also under increased pressure to provide environment that is conducive for economic growth because the power of multinational companies and the flexible flow of capital are on the rise.
Need for Austerity: Governments also have to adopt new approach because post- financial crisis deficits around the Europe are forcing major budget cuts. Governments have to cut spending while providing quality public services.
Demographics: Governments also need to create competitive flexible workforce through education and lifelong learning because aging population is reducing tax yield and putting extra pressure on services.
The private economy is no doubt recovering but the governments are facing the crisis now with quite different situations around the world. There are many reasons why governments are struggling financially such as strong recovery of most of the emerging markets, European countries have yet not been able to regain the growth rate they once enjoyed and the GDP growth rate is also declining worldwide. It simply means that financial crisis is still there and therefore, governments need to embark on long term reform journey.
State Transformational Strategies: There are actually four key strategies which governments can apply to introduce reforms. All the state transformational strategies stem from the understanding of cultural, social and political context of the country. These four strategies are lean, reset, digital and innovative and governments can also combine them to fit their requirements. So typically when Malaysia will focus on solving the education and public safety challenge as well as reducing its public services costs, some regions (Lombardia) in Italy are investing massively in IT for health. France has set up a big envelope of money to foster the economy.
Lean Government is to search for efficiency at scale without engaging massive reorganization.
Reset Governments try to re-think public service administration and business operating model to provide better services to their masses.
Digital Governments use technology for extensively leveraging all the last tools, techniques and assets which are available across the world in the different domains of the public service.
Innovative Governments and public administrations represent more than 40% of the GDP in most western countries, public administration reforms can also be looked at as a growth engine.
Focus on Your Role as a Leader: Corporate leaders, executives and senior leaders also need to play their vital role in state transformation. You can help governments simply by focusing on your role as a leader and improve your performance in the process. If you are holding an important position in the government, you need to adopt following approach to meet the requirements of the public.
Think about the current requirements of the public and what you really need before starting work.
Use various techniques and tools to plan and structure analysis.
Plan and estimate work and adhere to deadlines
Focus on relationship management and forward planning.
Set a realistic aim and try your level best to achieve it.
Finally, governments need to align political and technical priorities to achieve success. Reforms will never yield results if they are not understood in the context of shared services, population and IT in modern era. Similarly, combining four strategies (discussed above) is the key to effective public sector transformation. By doing this and aligning political priorities with reforms, governments can successfully cope with ever increasing pressure.