The federal government remains largely unprepared to embrace disruptive and emerging technologies to support digital transformation, according to a new report.
Government could benefit significantly from implementing new digital trends over the next 18 to 24 months, according to Deloitte’s annual report on government technology trends released this week.
However, it still lags in its adoption and readiness to implement tools such as properly managed artificial intelligence to support automation, virtual and augmented reality resources for virtual engagement with remote constituents, and blockchain to automate transactions and further support national innovation.
The professional services consultancy rated the government’s readiness to embrace new technology trends, giving it generally low marks across a range of focuses, including replacing legacy assets and expanding immersive virtual experiences for customers and employees.
On a scale of one to five, with five being the highest, the government scored a “three” or less in all seven categories of emerging trends Deloitte examined in its latest report. In all of the key trends the report assesses from 2020 onwards, the government ranks at ‘three’ or below.
According to the report, the government scored best for readiness in taming multicloud environments and retooling the tech workforce, earning three out of five in each category.
The report notes that as the federal government continues to migrate to the cloud, commercial tools can help automate many functions, such as security, to help IT staff better manage multi-cloud environments.
When it comes to the technology workforce, Deloitte predicts the government is in a position to create channels to recruit “non-traditional talent” to help fill gaps, particularly in the federal IT workforce, which is aging faster than its recruitment of new talent .
In its 2022 Vision Federal Market Forecast, vendor trade group the Professional Services Council said this week that 16.4% of the federal IT workforce was over 60, up 2.6% from the previous year.
The government scored the lowest in Deloitte’s report for its readiness to embrace trends such as virtual and augmented reality tools, embrace blockchain technology, deploy AI systems and modernize its legacy mainframes.
Despite its apparent unpreparedness, the government can take advantage of many of the latest disruptive technology trends to make itself a more attractive place to work for the next generation of top talent, as well as streamline its operations to be more cost-effective and efficient.
The report recommends introducing skills-based programs, reskilling and other measures for the government to “create a pathway to attract a diverse, skilled and diligent workforce” and to “use change to create an employment experience and culture that rewards individuals for their ability to adapt to change and support your organization today and in the future.”
The report follows recent studies from the federal government that also highlight the potential benefits—and key challenges—of implementing new technology trends.
A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report published earlier this year said blockchain technology could be used “to organize supply chains, create less hierarchical organizations, and document title registries for real estate,” as some examples of its benefits. But the report also notes that “most such efforts are not yet beyond the pilot phase and face challenges.”