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Australian government lays out 5 priorities for digital transformation

Byron Connolly | Aug. 15, 2017
Government should adopt a private sector mindset to digital initiatives, says Gavin Slater.

“For example, venture capitalists would treat this portfolio of projects as a portfolio of businesses they’ve invested in. They would be constantly scrutinising the performance of the portfolio to decide which projects they have low levels of confidence in – in terms of benefit delivery – and others that require an intervention to increase their chances of success.

“They would be constantly scanning the marketplace for opportunities to invest in new business and ventures,” Slater said. “I can’t see why we shouldn’t adopt a similar mindset when considering the government’s entire project portfolio.”

Ongoing monitoring allows the agency to identify successful initiatives, key delivery risks, areas of duplication, provide advice on remediation, and opportunities to leverage common platforms and cloud services.

DTA’s fourth priority is to continue to level the playing field for SMEs looking to do business with government. He said the government’s Digital Marketplace initiative has made a good start with 655 buyers, 533 registered sellers, and more than $33.7 million in contracts awarded.

“These stats show me that more needs to be done,” he said.

The fifth and final priority, said Slater, is to establish a sustainable program focus on helping uplift the digital capability of staff across the public service and address the skills shortage.

Slater plans to setup innovation labs in DTA’s Canberra and Sydney offices to bring in staff from across the public service to help them approach issues with a fresh perspective. This will expose them to customer-centered design thinking, rapid prototyping, building alpha and beta version, launching, measuring, and iterating.

“There’s a real opportunity here for us to partner with the public, private and educational sectors,” he said.

“The reality is that within the APS [Australian Public Service] we do not have all the capability and capacity that is needed to deliver. Partnering effectively with the private sector will be key to our collective success.”


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