Mncedisi Mayekiso
Mncedisi Mayekiso Business Development Executive

The message for public sector organisations in 2018 couldn’t be clearer – embrace digital technology now. Global trends such as increasing urbanisation, technological advances and resource scarcity have transformed the way the public sector operates.

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How public sector IT trends in 2018 will enhance service delivery

Technology is transforming society as citizens continue to use a variety of tech devices to access information. This will continue to lead to an improvement in public sector services. Governments have to take a more agile approach to service delivery and seize the opportunities presented by new technology and use it to improve services for citizens. Let’s take a closer look at how IT trends will continue to shape the public sector in 2018.

Make the most of big data and cloud services

The amount of data available for the public sector should ensure that its IT departments must gear up to handle the volume. The data created in this sphere must be managed appropriately. The IT infrastructure must be robust and eliminate all storage silos so that data can be processed efficiently. IT News Africa states: “Cloud technologies enable the public sector to be citizen-centric”. This will lead to customisation, agility and flexible scaling. Government organisations use a blend of cloud services and on-site data storage to achieve a higher degree of flexibility in the use of its IT resources – this setup makes it easier to move data and workloads across all resources.

Bear in mind that municipalities collect a large amount of personal data, so domestic and international data storage standards must be met. This couldn’t be more crucial in the wake of the recent data breach of the personal records of South Africans.

The Internet of Things can create smart cities

Many industries have already taken advantage of the Internet of Things (IoT) to capture its huge potential. According to IT Web: “The IoT is already deeply embedded in South Africa's industrial and commercial infrastructure. Without knowing it, we all depend on this network already.” The public sector can benefit significantly from this technology as it will create smart cities where sensors and automation can enhance public services. For instance, it can improve our public transport by allowing real-time monitoring of buses and detailed information on waiting times, or it can use tracking devices to monitor traffic and help alleviate traffic congestion. Keep in mind that IoT will create a society that is dependent on connectivity. So the service must be secure and reliable.

Embrace the concept of unbounded IT

Organisations are modernising IT operations by breaking down silos across this sector. Leading companies have shifted their focus from viewing IT as playing a supporting role to a department that can innovate and facilitate business strategy. This should be the same for public sector organisations. This is what unbounded IT looks like and ensures with a reimagining of IT developments, operations and interactions. According to Deloitte, the state of Illinois consolidated its IT functions into a single agency designed to develop state-wide IT solutions generating a 360-degree view of a resident or business. This was done with the goal of reducing inefficiencies and costs to taxpayers and is something we can adopt in South Africa.

With rapidly changing public sector IT trends, the industry must look beyond the use of end-of-life software, ageing hardware and poor visibility into its IT operations and examine digital alternatives. According to the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services: “Aligning government with 21st-century technological, economical and social realities will require innovations at least as disruptive and as profound as those embraced by the private sector.  Africa has an opportunity to make a significant contribution to the success of the revolution as it means some of its biggest challenges can become unique opportunities.”

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