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10 Public Sector Tech Trends for 2021

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By Chloe Kirby
August 12, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic made 2020 a hard year for everyone. For the public sector, it revealed a need to adapt quickly and continue serving citizens under difficult circumstances. In many cases, public sector entities struggled to meet the incredible demands of the situation.

For many organizations, this put a spotlight on the need for digital transformation. Tech solutions were vital for making many of the moves that were needed to deal with the pandemic. As a result, public sector leaders are putting an emphasis on accelerating digital transformation.

The following tech trends will play an important role as government agencies focus on digital transformation in 2021.

 

Remote Work Will be a Part of the New Normal

Remote work helped many public sector organizations continue to run throughout 2020. This is not going to change. Leaders are now recognizing the value of remote work. This is going to require government organizations to adopt new digital tools and refine workflows to connect offices with those who work remotely. One example could be shifting remote meetings from video conference software to a VR app for an experience that is more like an in-person meeting.

A Push for More Automation

Digital-first business models and remote work were vital for dealing with the pandemic. Agencies were forced to adapt quickly, as they had to find ways to achieve goals with fewer resources and work hours. This is going to cause more public sector agencies to look for ways to automate a range of simpler tasks. With the right automation tools, organizations can take more work off employees that are available and make them more effective when they need to work from home.

Upgrades to IT Infrastructure

Many organizations found their IT infrastructure to be lacking in the face of a public emergency. With new digital tools being adopted and employees starting to work from home, many agencies will need to upgrade IT resources to support the digital transformation. With the right infrastructure and tools, agencies will be able to serve the public more effectively and handle future emergencies better.

New Cybersecurity Challenges

Along with the pandemic, 2020 was also a year of increased cyber attacks. In both the private and public sectors, employees had to start using new technologies and work processes. Criminals took advantage of this by planning attacks that could exploit organizations and individuals who were not used to using these tools. As a result, cybersecurity has to be a priority as government agencies push forward with digital transformation.

A Focus on Digital Experiences

The digital experience is going to be paramount for many public sector organizations. Citizens are going to need to be able to access services and achieve goals through digital portals. For government employees, the digital experience is going to be vital for making them more productive and allowing them to work effectively from home. Whether you are talking about employees or citizens, the success of digital-first business models will hinge on ease of use, flexibility and security.

Cloud Computing to Support Digital Transformation

As agencies move to adapt to the digital world, they will need computing power. Cloud computing is going to be the answer for many of these issues. Cloud software solutions can make resources more accessible and more reliable. Cloud computing also lends itself well to these goals because of its flexibility and scalability.

The Rise of Edge Computing

As the world moves to digital-first and technologies like 5G and IoT gain traction, government entities will begin to look to edge computing as a way to compensate for the vast amounts of data and computing power that are required. With edge computing, organizations will be able to leverage these new technologies to their full advantage.

New Possibilities With 5G

The rollout of 5G is still underway, but it is going to have an impact on both the public and private sectors. Faster wireless broadband is going to make it possible to deliver digital services to more places, and it is going to have an impact on everything from healthcare to law enforcement.

Smarter Decisions With AI Analytics

Leveraging an AI-powered BI tool is for more than just business. The public sector can benefit from these tools as well. Government agencies have the data—they just need the right tools to uncover the insights hidden in that data. By applying AI to analytics, organizations can serve citizens better and use technology like predictive analytics to identify issues before they cause problems.

The Expansion of IoT

Surveillance has been the main use of IoT technology by governments. With the rise of edge computing and the rollout of 5G, the opportunities to benefit from IoT tech will expand. This will be the foundation of building smart cities to make governments more efficient while also providing better services to the citizens.

In the past, the public sector has often been late to adopt technologies that help businesses perform better. 2020 showed many in the public sector that they can’t be late to the party. With a continued push for digital transformation, public sector entities can be more effective, more efficient and better equipped to deal with future disasters.


Author: Chloe Kirby is a writer and digital marketing professional. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree at McGill University in Montreal, Canada and her Master’s Degree at Goldsmiths University in London, England. Chloe has professional experience in e-commerce, digital marketing, and copywriting. For the last year she has been working in New York City

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The American Society for Public Administration is the largest and most prominent professional association for public administration. It is dedicated to advancing the art, science, teaching and practice of public and non-profit administration.

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