By Steve Nunn, President and CEO, The Open Group
As digital transformation has matured in the private sector, it has demonstrated its value ever more clearly. Where, ten or twenty years ago, digitalization of core functions was too often a fragmented affair with inconsistent or unpredictable results, we are now increasingly seeing holistic, cohesive implementations being driven by more comprehensive project roadmaps, deeper institutional knowledge, and clearer open standards. The result is that business and consumer expectations have now shifted significantly into line with what digital approaches can uniquely offer.
There is wide agreement on the potential for digital transformation to similarly benefit government services and the public sector, but progress in this area has so far lagged significantly behind the private sector. This fact was confirmed recently by the World Bank Group’s (WBG) publication of the GovTech Maturity Index (GTMI). Measuring 48 key indicators collected from 198 economies, the GTMI finds that, while there is a lot of global investment into information and communication technologies (ICT), GovTech maturity is nonetheless “lower than expected in most countries”.
The TOGAF® standard, a standard of The Open Group, is cited by the report as a prominent way of approaching the challenges of managing the “abstract and complex” nature of a Government Enterprise Architecture. This continues the growing presence of the TOGAF® framework in public sector initiatives, following on from the India Enterprise Architecture (IndEA) project, on which The Open Group collaborated with the government of India to create a national framework for public sector ICT architecture based on the TOGAF® standard.
The report also details many other powerful examples of how digitalization can succeed in the public sector, and identifies areas where real opportunities are emerging. It is also important to mark the fact that the very existence of the GTMI is an important moment for the progress of GovTech.
As the report notes, previous surveys have not captured the full scope of work happening in GovTech in a reliable way. The Open Group has, as its mission, a long-standing focus on the open flow of information – Boundaryless Information Flow™. Transparent information-sharing makes connected systems worth more than the sum of their parts and makes innovation easier to spread. Likewise, the GTMI’s clear view of where progress is being made in government digitalization is something which will, I think, help to accelerate the modernization of public sector services globally.
Indeed, much of the report’s key insights are concerned with ensuring that GovTech infrastructure is interconnected and interoperable. Often, it finds, countries have discrete digitalized workflows such as a back-office solution or an online service portal, but are yet to knit these workflows together. Likewise, while digital workflows open the door to two-way information flow with citizens, making services more efficient and responsive, this has seen only limited global rollout.
Here, government bodies can learn from the practices and experience which has developed in the private sector. While the conditions of success are, of course, often very different, with needs and goals unlike those we find in the commercial enterprise, the standards and methodologies used to understand and design the architecture for information flow are certainly transferable. Towards this end, we have formed the Government Enterprise Architecture Workgroup in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to help governments advance their digital government maturity by embracing architecture-based approaches. This workgroup is actively working on developing guides, tools, and best practices to shape and enrich the current body of knowledge relating to the worldwide use of enterprise architecture in government organizations.
By measuring and analyzing GovTech maturity on a global scale, WBG will help to catalyze a clearer vision of how the public sector could run in the future, and the infrastructural development which will make that a reality. The benefits of digital transformation have changed our lives as consumers, and now it’s time to bring those benefits into our lives as citizens.
Steve Nunn is President and CEO of The Open Group – a global consortium that enables the achievement of business objectives through technology standards.
As CEO, Steve oversees The Open Group which has over 80 staff located in 9 different countries. This organization has an immense global impact with major contributions from staff, members, and partners.
The Open Group, with more than 850 member organizations, has a diverse membership that spans all sectors of the technology community — customers, systems and solutions suppliers, tool vendors, integrators and consultants, as well as academics and researchers. The Open Group works with consortia and other standards organizations to capture, clarify, and integrate current and emerging requirements, establish standards and policies, and share best practices. Our standards ensure openness, interoperability, and consensus.
The Open Group developed and manages the TOGAF® standard, a proven Enterprise Architecture methodology and framework used by the world’s leading organizations to improve business efficiency. The company also produces many certifications, standards, frameworks, reference architectures, tools, models, and guides that have proven to be invaluable to the Enterprise Architects community, whether they are industry-wide or aligned to specific vertical sectors.
Steve is also President of the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA). Steve joined The Open Group in 1993, spending the majority of his time as Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel. He was also CEO of the AEA from 2010 until 2015.
Steve is a lawyer by training, has an L.L.B. (Hons) in Law with French and retains a current legal practicing certificate. Having spent most of his life in the UK, Steve has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2007. He enjoys spending time with his family, walking, playing golf, 80s music, and is a lifelong West Ham United fan. Steve is available on LinkedIn here.