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The global pandemic has catapulted governments everywhere into a new world of remote working, agile policy making and rapid service design.

A bold new era

COVID-19’s disruptive impact has been marked by bold – and remarkably fast – advances in remote working, agile policy making and rapid service design.

The pandemic has unexpectedly revealed what’s possible and forward-looking governments are now wisely leveraging their momentum to seize a ‘golden opportunity’ for historic innovation. In our view, the future of government – agile, responsive, customer centric and more closely aligned to the needs of business – has arrived.

Governments are already pivoting their focus to include a much deeper role as ‘economic stewards’ – working in closer partnership with private industry to enhance future prosperity. Such alliances with business are among the fundamentals of a modern, agile government.

We invite you to explore what the future holds in KPMG’s timely and comprehensive report – Modernising government: Global trends – and we encourage you to contact us to learn more.



Governments of the future will be:

Customer centric

According to Forrester Consulting research commissioned by KPMG, nearly eight out of 10 government organisations say they are putting customer centricity front-and-centre and nearly half say a customer-centric strategy is a high priority today 1.

Insights from Forrester1 and from the KPMG global network, meanwhile, show that governments will continue to centralise customer experience (CX) governance, with three current trends ongoing over the next few years:

  • more governments will create some form of Chief Customer or Experience Officer, charged with overseeing improvement of the customer experience
  • more policy makers will follow the lead of the Australian Government’s Digital Transformation Agency and issue stronger CX-related requirements for government departments
  • governments are expected to pass more CX-related bills containing mandates related to enhanced service standards, technology, monitoring and reporting.

Today’s consumers are more informed, connected and demanding than ever. And while they have come to expect the highest standards of personalisation, choice, speed, satisfaction and security in every digital interaction, the pandemic has served to heighten consumer expectations surrounding CX.

KPMG’s 2020 Global Customer Experience Excellence survey of more than 100,000 consumers illustrates the pandemic’s influence on customer loyalty, expectations and experience:

  • consumer priorities have shifted to health and safety, understandably, but also toward heightened convenience, reliability, authenticity and transparency
  • forty-five percent of consumers say digital channels will be their primary means of engaging future services
  • consumers favouring face-to-face commercial services fell to about 20 percent since the pandemic struck – down by half from about 43 percent previously.

Trusted and agile

The agility of governments was dramatically heightened – practically overnight – during the pandemic’s rapid, sweeping and devastating impact. The simultaneous eruption of health and economic emergencies forced governments into uncharacteristically rapid response modes.

We witnessed rarely seen levels of interaction, innovation, support and short-term spending in the race to help the public. That represents a marked shift from the traditionally slower moving, due-process approach that typically devotes significant time and resources to meticulous planning, balancing of conflicting requirements and demands, and managing of the ‘big P’ political agenda. 

The pandemic has proven the potential of governments everywhere to dramatically heighten their agility, slash response times and meet public needs.

Witness the rapid launch of new services, benefits and emergency processes that include temporary hospitals and digital health solutions, 24/7 call centres and hefty stimulus packages. And the rapid change will ideally do much over time to enhance public trust in government going forward. 

Embracing the power of technology and data

From receiving benefits, accessing health records, registering companies, applying for licenses, to voting – digital technology can make these things instantly accessible, intuitive to navigate and less expensive to deliver. So, what will it take to make governments digital?

It will take a modern digital ecosystem that positions government to provide any service to any person or business on any platform using any device. And that will require four key components – a centralised data-exchange platform; secure online identification authentication; modern legislation governing data use and sharing; and new and upskilled talent who can work with and support emerging technologies that deliver a seamless customer experience to the citizen.

Governments that possess these game-changing innovations will likely position themselves for success in a new era of capabilities, demands and expectations. The challenge for government includes abandoning the traditional continuum of working in silos, hiring in silos and procuring in silos – replacing it with a services model that’s designed ‘from the outside in’ to place customers at the center of a complete digital ecosystem that exploits data to unlock timely insights and evidence-based decision-making. 

Shared technology and data platforms that span governmental agencies and enable the rapid and reliable delivery of connected services to the public should be key priorities. This will include increased migration to the cloud, development of modern enterprise architectures, implementation of robotics and intelligent automation, and the adoption of agile methods for software development.

We believe that the public sector can mirror the ground-breaking customer experiences being delivered by the private sector today. Success hinges on a changed mindset as to what is achievable – and a precise understanding of how to get there through new technologies and ways of working.

The future is ultimately about responsive governments offering seamless new interactions with citizens and businesses through innovative services – and there is no going back to the old ways of doing things as a bold new era of government emerges. 

1. A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of KPMG, February 2020.

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