With the increasing maturity of smart government, there are now a growing number of voices that are pushing for digital transformation initiatives that can go beyond simply being the first or the biggest, and deliver tangible benefits to the bottom line.
In February alone, Smart Dubai unveiled its new Dubai Data Policies, which are distinctly focused on how the value can be extracted from city data, while Visa released a study that attempted to quantify the economic benefits of cashless cities. In the next issue of .GOV, we also feature smart city consultancy NXN, which is promoting the idea that successful digital transformation projects need to be built on a solid understanding of the benefits that a project will bring across specific deliverables at the outset.
There are some entities that still seem to be fixated on big-bang projects, with a bit too much emphasis on hype, but the perception is shifting that projects must bring value, and you must be able to measure that value.
It is not always easy to put a ‘price tag' on digital transformation efforts, particularly in areas such as ‘happiness'. But metrics are available even for understanding public sentiment or customer satisfaction, along with ways to predict economic benefit, and these measures should be built into projects as standard.
There is also a need for more studies and more sampling to understand that ‘state of the market' at the outset, so that the baseline can be defined. More understanding of the end user's needs or pain points is also required. All of these things should be a matter of good project management and planning, to impose structure and targets.
It is increasingly clear that government organisations need to have a good idea of the results that a specific project can deliver, to bring focus to a project and to create a yardstick against which to measure success. Budgets and spending are still under pressure, so being able to plot the value of a proposed project is a huge benefit, both to getting it green lit, and to helping understand the end objective.
There is still place for innovation, and the UAE Innovation Month showed just how broad and deep the culture of ideas has become in government circles, but we should not lose sight of measurable and meaningful end goals.