Golok

Adoption of emerging technologies in public sectors

Today, ICT increasingly permits information to simmer up from the ground zero and filter through more dispersed and competitive sources which helps in better decision making.

In the service delivery transformational approach, where the public-private-partnership for the Government departments is becoming a most acceptable and sustainable model, inclusion of ICT would help guard the departments retain the sovereignty and strategic control within, while outsourcing the major chunk of the non-sovereign functions to service partners.

Sharing of the information and innovative ideas, including the access to information and services by masses as whole would be easily possible, provided we correctly leverage the power of technology. Some of the key changes and innovation in better Governance can be experienced through use of ICT, such as :

a) Citizens engagement and dialogue tools to generate concrete knowhow that empowers, build capacities and facilitates different modes of learning.
b) Livelihood improvements and change processes with special emphasis on institutional dynamics and mechanisms.
c) Analysis of policy processes including cross-scale, cross-functional and multi-level interactions.
d) Innovative knowledge sharing with an array of stakeholders and policymakers on the impact of action plans, government decision processes and practices for sustainable development.
e) Assessment, monitoring, evaluation and learning that encourages participative way of Government-Citizens relationship with industry partnership and participation.

Emerging technologies is about learning, experiencing, maturing and adopting new era of Information Technology which by itself is a long drawn journey, a process of business transformation, governance transformation, service delivery transformation and much more.

It has also facilitated in technology innovations and discovery of new business model specially in the service sectors. While this has been the trend for almost all sectors be it private, public or government, the 3Ds (demand, data and diversity) has become the new essence of competitiveness and existence.

Approach towards emtechs
The approach towards emerging technologies, be it Big Data, cloud, AI, RPA, analytics, IoT, etc., requires careful planning, execution and operationalisation of the core IT platform and application that has deep insights towards businesses, employees, stakeholders, consumers and beneficiaries blend with robust data and information security architecture.

The experiences observed so far call for an evolving and dynamic path to follow for a measurable outcome. Unless we know the business agility, processes, dependencies, roadblocks, data points, key performance indicators (KPIs) and target audience, the desired outcome over a long run always become a distinct dream.

The starting point could be to define a set of objectives to achieve such as

(a) Expeditious and time bound service delivery,
(b) Increased network and geographical spread
(c) State-of-the-art technology infrastructure aligned with business need (d) Framework for training and change management
(e) Business stakeholders
(f) Disaster and business continuity plan
(g) Robust feedback mechanism and grievance handling system, and
(h) Data and information security need aligned with required compliances and regulations.

This, I call as an ecosystem evolution for a vibrant, agile and futuristic digital enterprise. This has everything to offer, a true enterprise straighten to market dynamics, empowering good governance and is outcome oriented for stakeholders and beneficiaries.

An important aspect that has been the catalyst to build the enterprise IT and delivery ecosystem is to innovate and emulate a sustainable business model. A business model, which is a win-win for the organization, stakeholders, industry and the implementation partner, and the beneficiaries, as a whole.

The new business model is the need of public sector organisations, which would ensure:
(a) financial investment stability;
(b) best-in-class people, processes and system;
(c) protect against technology obsolescence;
(d) quick and easy staff augmentation;
(e) better working conditions; and
(f) continuous enhancement of skills and better utilisation of workforce.

Unless, we establish such business model at the foundation level, the success over the years to come seems inadequate. Another area which requires maximum attention is a data governance model and visibility.

It must reflect about principal owner of the data, who is its custodian, how is data being collected and govern, how data being collected is stored at rest and how the collected data is shared. The security and privacy of the data being collected, stored and shared should be guided by regulatory and legal compliances.

Once we are able to segregate between the sovereign and non-sovereign ingredient of enterprise businesses, devising authentication, authorization and accounting mechanism becomes simple.

Once we have the above processes and practices in place, the amalgamation of emerging technologies may be realistic, be it cloud, Big Data, AI, analytics, RPA, IoT or blockchain.

A stable and robust IT platform, tightly aligned to business functions, and experienced over a period of time, not only helps in the smooth migration to the cloud platform for an on-demand real-time resource need, without worrying to a vendor-lock scenario. It also helps to choose the right cloud model, without compromising the security and sensitivity of data and information.

Big Data use
When it comes to Big Data and analytics, the enterprise would be in a better position to know the volume, velocity and veracity of the data, thereby extracting the power of data. Data no longer being treated as static or stale, whose usefulness ceases once the purpose for which it was collected was achieved, but data became the new raw-material (data as oil) for the enterprise business, and, in fact, a vital economic input for creation of a new form of economic value.

Big Data also marks the era of a major digital transformation for the enterprise sectors be it private or public and also impacting day-to-day life of human being as a whole. Today’s mantra is let the ‘Data Speak’.

Then comes AI, IoT and RPA helping organizations leverage IT platform and system to learn and respond to the business call in terms of processes, business rules, documentations based on the large volume of data getting collected and processed from varied sources with varied veracity.

The business processes, which are repetitive in nature and are rule based, requires a different treatment by the organization enhancing productivity, efficiency and better utilisation of manpower. The challenges behind such volume and veracity of data is to ensure that decision taken is correct and unbiased and stands for post facto scrutiny that may get challenged legally.

Another foreseeable DLT-based technology in offing is blockchain, mostly targeted across industries such as financial technology, healthcare, mobile payments etc. Though it carries a business value, it requires a detailed analysis before its deployment, in terms of its complexity, size of the blockchain node, human errors viz-a-viz its immutability, workforce requirements etc.

Need for platform
We need to have platform and podium that leverages the ICT and emerging technologies for better governance that would help build meaningful and laudable outcome for the beneficiaries and masses as a whole. The day has come where technology has advanced to cloud, Big Data, analytics, AI, IoT, RPA and mobility, etc. It requires immediate ramp up of legacy processes, rules, regulations, etc., to comply with the latest technology offing.

  • Golok Kumar Simli
  • The author is Principal Consultant & Chief of Technology, Passport Seva Programme, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.

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