Public Sector

Digital transformation starts with living systems leadership

The pandemic inspired a new way for the government to deliver critical services, standing up digital applications, services and processes at rapid scale (sometimes overnight) to support the mission.  This moment in time has fundamentally changed how governments approach modernization, proving that digital transformation can happen rapidly. To sustain an agile, lasting approach to digital services, organizations are embracing transformation to build “living” systems and processes that can adapt and evolve over time.

“Living systems leadership” starts with the basic premise that adaptability and curiosity are key leadership values that must be cultivated in order for organizations to embrace change at scale. The transformative power of the cloud is the first critical investment a leader can make to foster an environment that enables adaptation and flexibility in any situation. But simply moving to the cloud is not the finish line; it is the starting line. Recognition of this is a hallmark of the Transformation Cloud era.

Leaders recognize that the cloud enables them to meet evolving expectations of “good government” experiences and services for communities. Government leaders are selecting cloud providers who can help them transform their people, processes and services in the following areas: 

  • Increase security
    Rethinking a security posture means finding ways to identify and protect everything, from people to data and transactions—in a fast-changing environment. Leaders want to be proactive, seeking better visibility to find, analyze, resist and remediate threats at global scale.  They are also planning for redundancy and continuity of operations in critical systems like communications tools, with cold back-ups of email, documents, calendar in alternative providers from their incumbent system, so if disaster strikes one provider, they can be back up and running in minutes. 

  • Harness data for insights
    Most organizations have siloed datasets, with only 24% of organizations able to realize tangible and measurable value from data. Being data driven isn’t just reserved for data scientists. Living systems mean every person should be curious and have access to information that drives insights.  

  • More freedom and flexibility
    Today, 90% of workloads are still on premises, meaning that many organizations are simply not set up with the basics for digital transformation. Cloud, combined with a plethora of API’s that connect critical internal and external information, means that leaders can see those living systems come to life in a data tapestry, and follow the “threads” of insight to inform critical decisions.  

Living system leaders want to spend smarter too, whether that is refusing vendor lock-in, expecting portability and interoperability, embracing multi-cloud, unifying data and insights with APIs, or expecting zero trust to be “built in”.  Their tech investments must have multi-generational levels of impact. These leaders want to look back and feel like they didn’t just make good decisions–they made the right decisions. 

With the right leadership and the right technology, change can inspire, not just a moment of transformation, but a lasting culture for innovation across the organization.

If you’re curious to learn more about living systems and transformational leadership, check out what I shared with the Scoop News Group IT Mod Talks event on-demand.  Any questions in the meantime? Email us at livingsystemleadership@google.com