Portage CyberTech commissioned a study from IDC, and the findings highlight the priorities of government agencies and those of the public sector regarding the digital transformation of public services.
IDC's report, An Informed Approach to Digital Transformation: CRITICAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR CANADIAN GOVERNMENT, shows that investments in cybersecurity are critical, but system resilience and user experience are not yet up to par.
Here are some key statements and figures from the report.
The impact of technological debt on public services is noticeable
More than half of those surveyed (51%) believe that the technological debt of government agencies limits their ability to provide needed digital services.
31% of government agencies believe that technological debt delays work by 25% to 50%.
The main issues with this debt are integrating new technologies onto old systems (44%) and technology planning (46%).
Transformation is underway, but...
More than 92% of government agencies are considering or are in the process of a digital-first strategy, opening up an incredible opportunity to enhance public services.
Nevertheless, more than a third (31%) have just started their transformation or are still evaluating it, and 33% of them are continuing a transformation that began during the pandemic.
Workers are concerned
93% of respondents express worries about the resilience of their organization's infrastructure in the event of unexpected events.
In addition, 41% of them believe that the management does not understand how digital infrastructure supports organizational resilience. More worrying, 36% believe there is a lack of control over what third-party providers do automatically.
Trust: citizens want easy-to-use digital services
When organizations are asked where they will intervene in the next three years, user experience is at the top of the list with more than 56% because it increases key performance indicators the most.
Moreover, 40% of organizations consider that customers are currently getting lost in the complexity and multiplicity of digital channels.
47% of citizens encounter malware attacks, and 40% want their privacy to be better protected.
Cybersecurity affects organizations
More than 10% of public agencies say they receive more than 100 attacks per day on average. No wonder more than 48% of them invest more in cybersecurity of data and systems than in any other IT envelope.
The three issues that concern public organizations the most are cybersecurity risks, vulnerabilities related to remote work, and continuity of operations, particularly in the event of a disaster.
Clearly, the data held by public organizations is of interest to fraudsters.
Cybersecurity: government agencies are struggling to recruit
Compared to the private sector, the difficulty of recruiting IT personnel is 11% higher in the public sector.
Moreover, when it comes to identifying the main digital skills deficits, cybersecurity (51%), data management and protection (42%) are the most frequently mentioned.
Digital investment puts people at the forefront.
It is striking. The three main factors motivating investment in digital services are not related to technology itself or cybersecurity. In third place is the ease of use or user experience (35%). In second place is improving access to social services or economic activities (36%).
At the top of the motivations is the convenience of remotely or self-service services (38%).
Conclusion: Reflection on the current state
The IDC report provides a better understanding of the current state of digital transformation in government agencies.
On one hand, the amount of data these agencies hold weighs on cybersecurity issues. On the other hand, they have significant technological debt and are putting a lot of energy into adopting new technologies that work on aging systems.
Agencies believe that current work is slowed down by technological debt and that digital infrastructure lacks resilience and ease of use. Workers are concerned about infrastructure resilience in unexpected events and lack control over what third-party providers are doing automatically.
Citizens want digital services that are easy to use and prioritize the user experience. Cybersecurity is a major concern for agencies, with more than 10% of public agencies reporting receiving more than 100 cyber-attacks per day on average. The agencies are finding it difficult to recruit IT personnel, especially in cybersecurity and data management.
Overall, the report highlights the need for continued investment in digital services to prioritize user experience, accessibility, cybersecurity, and workforce development in the public sector.