More Than Half of Digital Government Programs Are Failing to Scale: Survey

New Update
digital enterprise

Almost One-Quarter of Government Organizations Classified as Digitally Advanced


Despite increased focus and investment, 55% of digital government programs are failing to scale, according to a survey from Gartner. Government CIOs can adopt practices from digitally advanced governments to successfully scale their own programs.

“Citizens expect results, they are not interested in effort,” said Dean Lacheca, senior research director at Gartner, speaking at the virtual Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo 2021 for the APAC region today. “Digital government programs have accelerated during the pandemic and attracted more investment, yet many governments are still struggling to translate this into results at scale. Those that are yet to scale digital should build on the momentum unleashed by the disruption to progress their digital transformation.”

In the survey of 166 government organizations in April-May 2021, 10% of respondents said they are at the early stages, experimenting, exploring, or deploying some citizen facing digital services. Only 5% of respondents reported that they were at the top of the maturity scale, optimizing the use of digital solutions that underpin all aspects of their organization, and they are looking for new opportunities.


In the survey, 24% of government organizations were classified as digitally advanced, delivering against transformation-focused digital initiatives, as well as initiatives that could be considered optimization of existing practices.

“These digitally advanced government organizations are realizing more of the benefits, such as higher efficiency, cost reductions, greater workforce productivity, compliance and transparency,” said Lacheca. “Even more important are outcomes associated with public purpose or mission, such as citizen experience and community safety.”

Eighty-five percent of digitally advanced respondents have successfully scaled digital and are using it extensively across their organizations.

According to Gartner, some of the more digitally advanced governments have benefited from sustained, long-running digital government commitments. Others have made faster progress by establishing a balanced digital government agenda that includes both transformational and optimization initiatives.

Gartner recommends that government CIOs assess their organization’s digital maturity and use the output to provide insight into areas of potential focus, to communicate the real benefits to policymakers and stakeholders, and to justify budget and prioritize IT investments.