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Uncovering the Pandemic’s Long-Term Effects on Digital Transformation

The State of Digital Government Report

Throughout COVID-19, governments had to accelerate digital transformation to effectively engage with their communities.  In July 2020, a Granicus study found that 82% of respondents believed their organization needed to become more technologically advanced. And 61% believed the pandemic expedited their organizations’ digital transformation.

With COVID-19 restrictions lifting, we wanted to understand how a return to normalcy would impact digital progress. To do that, Granicus surveyed 1,500 local, state, and federal government employees. We measured the state of tech adoption, the hurdles involved in digitizing operations, and the future of technology investments.

Overall, the findings show that most governments are still actively incorporating tech into many areas of operation. And continuing to do so will remain a top priority. We’ve recapped the survey’s key takeaways below.

Widely Adopted Digital Services

During the pandemic, many governments adopted digital services that allow their constituents to complete tasks, find information, and communicate with governments online. Among respondents:

  • 62% said online services are now available, including 33% who reported that many online services are now available
  • 40% report that local government meetings are now live-streamed
  • 42% revamped their websites to make them more accessible
  • A significant portion (44%) believe that slowing down technology implementation would mean risking the ability to meet resident expectations

The benefits of these initiatives are already evident. Fifty three percent of respondents say a digital-first government saves time and reduces costs, 48% report a digital-first government increases access for residents, and 42% report it provides more options and flexibility.

For Government Workers, Innovation is Here to Stay

Government digitization isn’t a flash in the pan. Ninety six percent of respondents said their organization would continue services or transactions that they digitized during the pandemic. Further, the digital progress that occurred during COVID-19 will have a notable impact on many government agencies’ long-term plans.

  • 43% of respondents said the events of 2020 have impacted their digital roadmaps for 2021, and 29% report that implementation timelines have sped up.
  • The majority (64%) of respondents say technology will be a top three investment priority in the next few years, while just 11% say it will not be.
  • Government workers expect a variety of tech priorities to emerge over the next two-to-three years, including hardware updates or upgrades (44%), security investments (37%), and adding or upgrading resident self-service tools (37%).

Hurdles Remain

Despite promising progress towards modernizing government, changing the status quo doesn’t come without challenges. While the majority of government workers are at least somewhat satisfied with their digitization efforts, only 24% report complete satisfaction. Key hurdles to government digitization include:

  • Logistics: 38% of respondents reported the closure of office space as the top hurdle for COVID-19 digitization efforts.
  • Tech Fluency: 34% cited a lack of implementation knowledge or IT team bandwidth; 32% cited legacy systems and processes, and 29% cited a lack of infrastructure.
  • Connectivity: 44% said their top challenge was reaching residents who were not digitally connected or had trouble navigating digital platforms, and 28% cited directing residents to new government tech tools and resources.
  • Budget: Just over a fifth (22%) of respondents reported budget cuts as a top challenge to digitization efforts amid COVID-19 and 37% of respondents are either currently experiencing, or expect to experience, budget constraints this year.

We firmly believe government-resident interactions should be just as efficient, personalized, and intuitive as they are in the private sector. There’s been tremendous progress in modernizing government over the past year, and it’s promising to see digitization efforts remain a top priority among government leaders.

If you’d like to learn more about the survey results and methodology and how they can inform your agency’s digital transformation, schedule a demo today.