The top 10 govt tech trends to know for 2021

What’s in store for governments around the world?
  • Sasha Karen (New Zealand Reseller News)
  • 29 March, 2021 17:15

Ten major technology trends within governments are expected to pave a way forward through coronavirus pandemic around the world, holding the potential to accelerate digital innovation.

This is according to analyst firm Gartner, which claims that the trends are directly linked to public administration and policy issues that government leaders need to address.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred the acceleration of digital innovation across the government sector around the world, presenting government leaders with new opportunities to use data and technologies to build trust, agility and resilience in public institutions,” said Rick Howard, research vice president at Gartner.   

“While pandemic-related challenges will continue for some time, technology trends have emerged that address critical challenges in areas such as security, cost containment and citizen experience.”  

Citizen digital identity  

Citizen digital identity — the ability to prove an individual’s identity through government digital channels that are available to citizens — is being viewed as critical for inclusion and access to government services, according to Gartner, with the topic being high on political agendas. 

The critical nature of digital identities is expected to rocket in popularity, with Gartner predicting by 2024, a “true global, portable, decentralised identity standard” will be available in order to address business, personal, social and societal and identity-invisible use cases.  

Composable government enterprise  

According to the firm, composable government enterprises enable the reusing of capabilities to be extended, as well as the continuous adaption to changing regulatory, legislative and public expectations. 

“CIOs are embracing composable government to overcome existing, siloed approaches to managing services, systems and data that limit the ability of governments to adapt to the rapidly evolving needs of the emerging digital society," Gartner claimed.  

The trend is expected to see widespread adoption, with the firm predicting that 50 per cent of technology companies that provide products and services to the government will offer packaged business capabilities to support composable applications by 2023. 

Accelerated legacy modernisation 

Accelerated legacy modernisation is another trend to consider, particularly with governments being faced with decades-old legacy infrastructure and core systems. 

While Gartner notes that this is not exactly a new issue, the pandemic has highlighted the need to modernise systems. As such, it predicted that by 2025, over 50 per cent of government agencies will have modernised critical core legacy applications. 

Adaptive security 

According to the firm, treating security with an adaptive approach is another government tech trend to be aware of, which treats risk, trust and security as a continuous and adaptive process to anticipate and mitigate constantly evolving cyber threats through prediction, prevention, detection and response. 

This is opposed to the traditional idea of perimeter and assuming there is no boundary for safe and unsafe, which Gartner claims is a “necessary conceptual shift” with the move to cloud services. 

Most government CIOs are expected to be directly responsible for security outside of IT by 2025, at 75 per cent, according to the firm, and will also cover operational and mission-critical technology environments. 

Anything as a service (XaaS) 

Viewed by Gartner as a cloud-only sourcing strategy that brings the full range of business and IT services on a subscription basis, XaaS is considered by the firm to be an alternative to legacy infrastructure modernisation. 

It’s also expected to become very popular, with Gartner forecasting that 95 per cent of new IT investments made by government agencies will be in the form of an as-a-service solution by 2025. 

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Case-management-as-a-service (CMaaS) 

Narrowing down XaaS, CMaaS is also expected to pick up in popularity, which taps into composable business principles and practices to replace legacy case management systems with modular products that can be built up or taken down when demand requires it. 

It’s also anticipated it will pick up the pace in the workplace, with Gartner predicting that, by 2024, government organisations with composable case management architecture will be able to implement new features at least 80 per cent faster than those without. 

Data sharing as a program 

Data sharing as a program takes the ad hoc nature of typical data sharing and turns it into a scalable service, moving towards that composable approach in government service delivery. 

Along with composable government enterprises, data sharing as a program is expected to have a majority usage in government organisations, at 50 per cent, by 2023 through the establishment of formal accountability structures for data sharing, including standards for data structure, quality and timeliness. 

Hyperconnected public services 

Defined by Gartner as the whole-of-government use of multiple technologies, tools or platforms to automate as many business and IT processes as possible, the firm sees hyperautomation principles and practices as a way of developing hyperconnected, highly automated end-to-end business process and public services with minimal human intervention. 

Gartner forecasts that by 2024, three quarters of governments will have at least three enterprise-wide hyperautomation initiatives either launched or underway. 

Multichannel citizen engagement 

Multichannel citizen engagement — a personalised two-way form of communication with constituents over multiple mediums — is expected to be slower moving than the other trends, with over 30 per cent of governments expected to use engagement metrics to track quantity and quality of citizen participation in policy and budget decisions by 2024. 

This comes offer the back of claims of citizen direct participation with governments reaching new heights in 2020, according to the firm. 

Operationalised analytics 

This then flows into the expected uptake of operationalised analytics — the adoption of data driven-technologies, like artificial intelligence, machine learning and advanced analytics — which Gartner believes will be used to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and consistency of decision making through context-based operational decisions being made in real time. 

A large majority of government AI and data analytics investments, at 60 per cent, are expected to be funnelled towards this by 2024.