KPMG finds government modernization facing hurdles amid pandemic-driven demand

As a result of COVID-19, new research from KPMG finds that a large majority of government leaders have accelerated their focus on digital transformation to deliver services. However, legacy IT systems are hurting the leaders’ ability to respond efficiently to constituent needs in a remote world and only a small portion of their workforce has the required skills.

“COVID-19 has magnified the need for government agencies to transform their models for delivery of services. Citizens are demanding digital access to government services and government leaders are recognizing the importance of transforming,” said Lorna Stark, National Leader for Government and Public Sector.

The survey found that the number of citizens using online government services rose from 33 percent pre-pandemic to a projected 41 percent during the pandemic and that 70 percent of citizens would like the government to deliver mostly online services. However, a full 72 percent of government executives say that outdated IT systems are hurting their ability to respond to changing demands and 79 percent say the age of their IT systems negatively impacts their mission.

Spurred by new demands during the pandemic, government leaders are taking action. The survey found that 66 percent of executives surveyed have accelerated their focus on modernization, while 57 percent said they increased their budgets as a result of COVID-19. In addition, 70 percent are more aware of the need to modernize IT, while 78 percent of government executives say that COVID-19 has increased their awareness of the need to transform how their agency delivers services.

Digital transformation would not only improve the relationship between citizens and government agencies, but would also provide a potentially huge cost savings. According to a recent Technology CEO Council’s report, One Trillion Reasons, the federal government could save $1 trillion by modernizing its technologies and operations over the course of 10 years.

But antiquated technologies are not the only barrier to modernization. Attracting top talent and upskilling the labor force are also major challenges preventing rapid transformation. Forty-five percent of government officials said that COVID-19 revealed that their workforces weren’t adequately trained or prepared to work remotely and only 39 percent of respondents said that their employees have the necessary skills to embrace emerging technologies. A full 57 percent are more aware of the need to train and upskill workers.

According to Stark, to realize technology transformation imperatives, government leaders should focus on creating a workforce imbued with the talent and passion to move their modernization agenda forward.

“A technology-only focus on modernization will only take governments so far. Equal emphasis needs to be placed on ensuring that the government workers have the skills and tools to provide the innovative services today’s constituents expect,” Stark said.

To speak to Stark about ways KPMG is helping clients upskill to enable digital transformation, contact Melanie Batley.

Media contact

Melanie Malluk Batley

Melanie Malluk Batley

Associate Director, Corporate Communications, KPMG US

+1 201-307-8217



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