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How to overcome digital transformation challenges

Uncover ways your organisation can overcome some common digital transformation hurdles.

Lauren Hetherington, 28 August 2023 00:00
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In an increasingly digital world, public sector organisations are faced with the challenge of needing to adapt to continuously evolving technological advancements while delivering essential services to their citizens. Embracing digital transformation has become a necessity for modern governments to enhance efficiency, transparency, and citizen engagement. However, this journey is not without its hurdles. In this blog, we explore some of the digital transformation challenges faced by public sector organisations and the strategies they employ to overcome them.


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Legacy Systems and Infrastructure

One of the most common challenges faced by public sector organisations is dealing with outdated legacy systems and infrastructure. Many government agencies still rely on antiquated IT systems that hinder agility, data sharing, and the adoption of modern technologies. Replacing these systems can be costly and complex, often requiring careful planning and seamless integration. As found in the latest GOSS Digital Self-Service in the Public Sector report, over 70% of public sector organisations cite legacy technology as a barrier preventing their digital transformation plans.

To overcome this challenge, forward-thinking public sector organisations are investing in comprehensive modernisation plans. By conducting thorough audits assessing their existing infrastructure, organisations can identify gaps and prioritise areas that need immediate attention. This may involve the need to upgrade or replace legacy systems that are prohibiting digital transformation success. By adopting a cloud-based solution or moving to a modern software platform, public sector bodies will reduce the time spent thinking about how to shoehorn antiquated systems to deliver contemporary citizen services.


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Cybersecurity and Data Privacy

As public sector organisations have transitioned into digital spaces over the last decade, the concern for cybersecurity and data privacy has increased. Public sector bodies handle vast amounts of sensitive citizen data, making them prime targets for cyber-attacks. Ensuring robust cybersecurity measures is essential to protect both citizen information and critical government operations.

One way in which organisations can mitigate these risks, is by investing in state-of-the-art cybersecurity technologies and establishing comprehensive security protocols within their organisation. Regular staff training and awareness programs are crucial to instil a culture of security among employees. Moreover, collaborating with cybersecurity experts and private sector companies can also provide valuable insights into the latest security trends and threat intelligence.


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Resistance to Change and Organisational Culture

Digital transformation often encounters resistance from employees who fear job displacement or struggle with adopting new technologies. Moreover, organisational structures and rigid corporate cultures can often impede the swift implementation of solutions that help organisations accelerate their digital transformation plans.

To tackle this challenge, some public sector bodies have recognised the importance of fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration within their organisation. Leadership plays a crucial role in driving change by communicating the benefits of digital transformation and offering the necessary support to employees. Establishing cross-functional teams and involving staff in decision-making processes can instil a sense of ownership and enthusiasm for change.


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Citizen Engagement and Accessibility

Digital transformation should always prioritise citizen satisfaction, engagement, and accessibility. The challenge lies in ensuring that services are user-friendly, accessible to all, and tailored to the diverse needs of the population. Not everyone has equal access to digital devices or internet connectivity, so excluding any segment of the population is not an option.

To remedy this, public sector organisations are adopting a comprehensive approach to enhance citizen satisfaction. This includes reviewing service delivery channels and offering both digital and non-digital options. Some organisations are even making efforts to educate those less familiar with modern digital channels on their usage, ensuring no one in their citizen community is left behind. Moreover, public sector bodies are actively engaging in user testing and feedback collection as a method to continuously improve digital services, making sure they effectively cater to citizen needs.

In order to achieve digital accessibility, implementing recognised standards like Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is essential. Compliance with these guidelines ensures that online services are accessible to people with disabilities, promoting inclusivity and equal opportunity. By embracing these strategies, public sector organisations can effectively navigate the challenges of digital transformation, fostering citizen satisfaction, engagement, and accessibility for all.



Digital transformation is no longer a choice but a necessity for public sector organisations seeking to deliver efficient and citizen-centric services. By recognising and addressing challenges such as legacy systems, cybersecurity concerns, resistance to change, and citizen engagement, governments can pave the way for a successful and transformative digital journey. Embracing the digital age will not only streamline operations and improve efficiency but also strengthen the bond between citizens and their governments. 

Last modified: 26 April 2024 15:52