NSW reveals updated Beyond Digital strategy

The New South Wales government has updated its digital strategy, called Beyond digital, with a greater focus on talent and accessibility.

Greg Wells, director of information and digital for the NSW Customer Service Department, said at the 2021 Digital.NSW Showcase that when the department looked at existing strategic actions, it was “almost half and half in progress” . The last major update to the strategy was released in November 2019, during a devastating wildfire season that consumed significant state attention. Then the focus changed so that the state could respond to COVID-19.

Now that 2022 is approaching, it’s a good time to review the Beyond Digital strategy, Wells said.

What has changed at Beyond Digital?

In the revised strategy. the central structure remains the same, with five strategic directions:

  • Put the customer at the center.
  • Build a strong digital economy (formerly “invest for customer results”).
  • Interact and use valuable information about the data.
  • Provide secure and resilient services (formerly ‘provide better front-line services’).
  • Develop capabilities for the future.

When it comes to the digital economy, Wells said it used to be just an investment, but now it’s about economic transformation and impact. “The other big issue that I think is quite different is that previously we only talked about front-line technology and solutions, but now it is much more about secure and resilient services.”

Three areas have gained greater emphasis in Beyond Digital’s revised strategy: infrastructure, IT talent, and accessibility.

Work with Infrastructure NSW

One positive result achieved during the pandemic was the coordinated work between various government departments and jurisdictions, which is something that the Customer Service Department intends to maintain. One of those collaborations has been with Infrastructure NSW, whose focus will shift to the impact that projects can have and how digital services can be used to help, including the use of digital twins to make sure builds are more efficient.

Wells said there has been an ongoing discussion about whether digital should be a separate thing from infrastructure, but “we’ve probably come full circle on that and now it’s about how we work with infrastructure, how we think about joint planning and routing services that are part of that same image ”.

The work with Infrastructure NSW is part of the strategic objective ‘design services based on customer journeys’, which will translate into pilot ways to store and share digital credentials issued by the public and private sectors, which will inform the technical infrastructure fundamental and politics. .

The ‘key’ question of talent

Wells said the department missed “milestones because we don’t have people.” Fortunately, there are an increasing number of training, refresher and refresher opportunities with incentives from the state and federal governments. And the NSW Customer Service Department will focus on transitioning people to digital roles to help fill the gap, especially through regional talent. Wells said the focus of roles is on the middle tier, including designers and managers.

The need for rapid digital solutions fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic at the same time as borders were closed to skilled migrants increased pressure on local talent. This resulted in higher wages for local tech workers, more competition when hiring as fewer specialists are available, and a tendency for workers from one state or territory to be employed by other states or territories.

Recent Gartner research found that the Australian government (federal, state and local) is projected to spend $ 6 billion on IT services in 2021, with growth of 7.2% expected by 2022, or more than $ 6.4 billion. This is partly related to the lack of skills that lead governments to seek the work of external consultants.

Accessibility has lagged behind

When it comes to accessibility, Wells was very clear that the state department is not doing enough. “Accessibility felt like cybersecurity two or three years ago. It seems that we have not taken it seriously. “

With a “massive” number of disabled people in Australia, Wells said the department will have to start from scratch and understand the necessary skills and raise awareness. He said the state department “completely lost it” and that “we are just not keeping up.”

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018 found that only 47.8% of people with disabilities they worked between 15 and 64 years, that is, 984,200 people. This figure is lower than the 50.0% (1.1 million people) of a decade ago, although the percentage of people with disabilities available to the workforce has remained the same.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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