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Emerging Technologies Ferment In Public Domain

By Rob Starr, Content Manager

A  new Accenture report looking at the immersion of emerging technologies in public sector agencies finds the needle moving forward at an interested, albeit sometimes cautious pace. The report, Emerging Technologies in Public Service, finds that while some of the innovations like advanced analytics coupled with predictive modeling have made clear inroads, awareness of the benefits is not translating into realized value in many cases.

Terry Hemken leads Accenture’s Health & Public Service Analytics Insights for Government Business. He spoke with recently about how these latest innovations can help public service agencies meet their internal resource challenges and address the changing needs of citizens. He started by addressing the lag between the pilot phase and full implementation.

CIO Platform


Terry Hemken

“In some respects, when you have an emerging technology, it’s led by the technologists in the CIO platform,” he said. “In a lot of ways that limits the alignment with business value. So in many ways, the pilots will be technology focused.”

The numbers report that 70% of these agencies are looking at the potential in items like the Internet of Things, machine learning, video analytics and biometrics but only 25% have moved beyond the pilot phase to full implementation.

One of the challenges is to move the needle along to the marketing, procurements and finance side of the equation so they have a place at the table.

“In the cases I’ve seen that implement through, and these technologies get tied to a specific value that is orientated and culturally aware, the business side really sees the value these emerging technologies can bring,”  Hemken  says adding there is another driver affecting the rate of implementation.

“A lot of these are technologies that are being taught in university and are in some respects just being brought to the public sector. A tremendous talent gap exists,” he says. “So there’s a fight not only on the private side but also on the public side to get the best people.”

Carved A Niche

Still, advanced analytics have carved a niche and the report finds this tool is finding widespread use measuring agency performance in revenue (49%) and pension/social security agencies (50%). Data privacy and security issues were one of the most common uses.

Hemken says the perception of these emerging technologies need recalibration.

“In some respects, because the technology is so emerging and new, it can be hard to articulate what it can do.  You can have technologists and even data scientists trying to explain to someone in marketing or pension what they’re trying to accomplish with the data and there can be a communication breakdown.”

He adds a shifting organizational culture and the evolutionary simplification of the processes themselves will be keys to future adoption of emerging technologies in the public sector.

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