The past two years were unanticipated for every organization across the globe, particularly across the public sector. Organizations that started adopting digital technologies to improve efficiency, value, and innovation before the pandemic were more resilient to the unprecedented challenges than their counterparts who had not.
The COVID-19 pandemic not only sped up the shift towards digital transformation but also created a state of excess demand for vital public services. To mitigate the shortcomings and accomplish their most important goals, while putting their counties and communities first, the public sector leveraged digital approaches to foster innovation and prepare for future challenges. U.S. public sector organizations extended the services beyond their boundaries and supported people, the economy, and public health by embracing digital transformation.
Microsoft enabling public sector digital transformation
During the recently concluded Microsoft U.S. Public Sector Summit, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said, “every institution needs to build its own digital capability”. Microsoft’s vision is to build a safe healthy, and sustainable world in which digital technologies are seamlessly integrated into day-to-day existence. To achieve this vision, the Redmond-giant has identified three core areas of focus for the public sector:
1: Embrace the future of work
The pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we work, making hybrid work the “new normal.” This new workplace model gives employees the flexibility to work from home / remotely or in the office, as per their convenience and as long the defined goals and objectives are met.
Remote/hybrid working enabled the public sector organizations to maintain critical operations and delivery of services during the pandemic. But, now that the pandemic is waning and employees have taken their dose of vaccinations, organizations have started strategizing to reinvent the work culture according to the new normal, hybrid era.
According to a recent workplace survey conducted by McKinsey, 38% of employees were looking to discover the hybrid approach pre-pandemic. Whereas, post-pandemic, the desire to work in a hybrid culture increased exponentially to 52%, experiencing a rise of 14%. Meanwhile, according to Microsoft, employees crave more in-person time with their teams but wish to maintain the flexibility of remote work.
On these grounds, the public sector organizations have to adopt digital tools, technologies and embrace innovation to support the diverse needs of their employees as well as meet their mission to serve the public excellently.
Towards this, Microsoft Teams has been designed to help organizations effectively communicate and collaborate while working remotely. This business communication platform brings the employees together virtually, helping them to collaborate and increase productivity. Similarly, SharePoint Online is today enabling public sector staff to access business-critical information anytime and anywhere.
2: Ensure data literacy
The McKinsey Global Institute estimates data and analytics could create value worth between $9.5 trillion and $15.4 trillion a year if embedded at scale—and $1.2 trillion of that in the public and social sectors.
Data is the new fuel. However, low data literacy is a major cause of concern for the public sector organizations. In this regard, data literacy is the ability to understand and process the data into meaningful information. High data literacy can act as a tool to transform decision-making.
Given the large scale and operating constraints in the public sector, it is a bit challenging for organizations to process their data and gain knowledge/ insight for better decision-making. Leveraging the data stored by public sector organizations, they can improve service delivery, make better policies, reduce inefficiencies, enhance transparency in their system, and improve decision making. The power of data analytics multiplies when coupled with the power of the cloud and AI.
Microsoft Azure enables public sector organizations to store their customer’s data, provides strong customer commitments regarding data residency and transfer policies. While Power BI helps users to show data in impactful ways.
3: Strengthen cybersecurity
According to Microsoft’s latest Digital Defense report, the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) and the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) have observed that nearly 80 percent of nation-state attacks were directed against government agencies, think tanks, and non-government organizations (NGOs).
Increased inclination towards hybrid work model continues to put public and private sectors at the risk of cyber threats. To mitigate the risk, public sector organizations must implement secure Zero Trust solutions to secure all access across your applications, environment, and network from any user, device, and location.
As tech industry leaders, Microsoft is committed to working closely with public sector partners on cybersecurity by:
- Investing $20 billion to advance its security solutions over the next five years, including $150 million to help U.S. government agencies upgrade protections.
- Skilling 250,000 people in cybersecurity by 2025 to cut the U.S. cybersecurity talent gap by 50% in partnership with community colleges and non-profits.
- Reducing barriers to sharing vital information across private and public sector organizations.
Empowering the public sector like never before
In the last few months, there has been an explosion of innovation in the public sector which will undoubtedly continue to upsurge in the near future. Microsoft is ready to support public sector organizations to meet their vision, and so are we. As a Microsoft Gold Partner and Cloud Solutions Provider, AgreeYa has been enabling public sector organizations to leverage Microsoft technologies to power hybrid work, enhance collaboration among employees, improve productivity, catalyze growth, and become future-ready.