Why digital transformation is essential for governments

Why digital transformation is essential for governments

The pandemic massively accelerated digital transformation not only for companies, but also for governments who suddenly had to shift up a gear for citizens who needed vital services delivered remotely. Beth Howen is Head of Public Sector & Defense at Atos. She gives her view on the impacts of the crisis and the role of digital technologies in helping governments to meet their key challenges and priorities.

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Beth Howen
Global Head of Public Sector & Defense

How are you coping with the current situation and have you adjusted your way of working?

Just as for everyone, it has been challenging for our teams, needing to change the way they work; and there are the emotional effects of the line between work and home life becoming blurred. We’ve seen the difficulties for our customers on the front line: to respond to a truly global public health crisis while facing the deepest economic turmoil of peace time.

But during these tough times we have also experienced unexpected creativity, finding new ways to work together. And I have been extremely impressed by the flexibility and resilience of Atos teams – bringing together governments, academic institutions, scientists, partners, health agencies and Atos experts to work collaboratively to find solutions. We can take this as an opportunity to find more positive ways forward. We need to take clear responsibility.

What do you see as the key impacts of the pandemic for the public sector?

Governments and public authorities may feel they face an uphill battle: budgets are stretched, people and processes are disrupted, and legacy systems can stand in the way. At the same time, citizens and enterprises expect the support of their governments to protect communities and build economic recovery.

Public sector and defense organizations are having to flex to changing demands while still maintaining their operational resilience and safeguarding people, systems and data. As well as the shift to remote working and service delivery online, there are the critical challenges to safeguard the public and step up progress on decarbonisation.

Given those challenges what’s the role of digital technology in the public sector?

Around the world, countries’ recovery plans include two closely linked ambitions: to be green and to be digital. New technologies are essential to achieving both. Most importantly, digital technologies and data enable organizations to solve problems and do things differently to meet complex challenges.

Cloud, for example, plays a critical role in enabling the rapid transition to new modes of work and innovations in public service delivery and citizen experience. And cloud is essential to give organizations the flexibility and agility they need – securely, at a lower cost, and with lower carbon emissions. The challenge is to navigate each organization’s cloud journey in the way that’s right for them.

And what’s next for Atos?

At Atos, we’re supporting governments in shaping this new world with investments in our people and in technologies such as cloud, automation, AI and edge. And we are setting standards for our industry as a recognized leader and pioneer in decarbonisation. Our Net Zero ambition for example, is set for 2028 – that’s 22 years ahead of the targets set out by the Paris Agreement.

As a group, we are investing $3.1 billion over the next five years in cloud; we are spending over $360 million in R&D annually; and we have welcomed around 2,600 new experts in cloud, AI, cybersecurity and decarbonisation.

We are enjoying collaborative and valued relationships with a broad spectrum of Australian Governments for many years, being part of Australia in the midst of its digital transformation. We look forward to continuing to help Australia with our technical innovation and experience to achieve its ambitions to support and enable social and economic progress for all.

As organizations cope with this crisis, we can take this as an opportunity to find more positive ways forward. We need to take clear responsibility to rebound stronger – to become more resilient and be more sustainable than before.

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