The pandemic has played a pivotal role in accelerating digital adoption across almost all facets of everyday life. Canadians have adopted different ways of working, connecting and engaging with colleagues, friends and family, businesses, citizens and governments. The resulting shift in expectations presents an opportunity for governments to consider a different vision of Canadian social systems and how they can adapt their operations to reflect the needs of a modern Canada.

Changing how citizens access services

The need for digital collaboration has never been clearer. The ongoing digitization of work, and the growing emergence of online services, is transforming the way Canadians expect to access government services, with more and more citizens looking for an intuitive, user-friendly online experience. Among governments, there is a new appreciation for citizen centricity, and a growing movement towards a redefined view of citizens as consumers, and the creation of digital identities that not only allow for increased access to services, but do so in ways that enhance and improve digital security.

On their journey to offer citizen-centric services, governments are embracing digital leadership, creating platforms that make it easier for departments and agencies to share and access data, and that enable the concrete actions that deliver more successful outcomes for citizens. As they approach digital transformation, governments are also highlighting the need for trust: without trust, citizens won't adopt digital services, and without adoption, digital cannot succeed. Government has an opportunity to position themselves in the vanguard of digital transformation, and by implementing a higher standard for the delivery of digital services, they can help create an environment that fosters change more broadly.

Digital infrastructure delivers opportunity

As part of this digital transformation, governments are taking steps to change their culture, creating an environment where flexibility and change are embraced, and where employees are encouraged to challenge existing assumptions. This will play a critical role in attracting and retaining younger talent who are seeking both a modern digital workplace culture and who want to make a difference in their communities.

The pandemic has also shone a light on the lack of access to digital infrastructure across the country. Now, with more Canadians working from home and looking for opportunities to live outside urban centers, priorities have shifted: rather than focusing on physical infrastructure, governments are now increasingly focused on making improvements in digital infrastructure, bringing services to all parts of the country. This is making it possible for governments to provide better access to training and education resources to a wider range of community groups, which in turn will ensure that more Canadians have the skills needed to meet the new demands of an increasingly digitized economy.

By embracing these themes of the future of work and digital equality, government has an opportunity to lead the way in embracing virtual work and accessing sources of talent outside the traditional urban centres. In addition to greater regional prosperity, this will also contribute to positive changes in the environment and will have a positive impact on the quality of life for many Canadians.

The power of connected enterprise for government

Adopting a connected enterprise framework will allow governments to draw separate parts of the organization together, building connections between them and reducing silos. These connections give forward-looking governments a path to follow as they gain insight into the changes required across the organization. When government leaders are supported by connected organizations, they have access to enterprise-level data and insights that power innovation.

To build a stronger future, governments need a foundation of responsive operations that offer seamless interactions through innovative services. While it's already clear that the old ways of doing things are no longer considered efficient, governments can explore effective solutions in digital apps that allow them to deliver connected and inclusive services – that are also more secure – for all Canadians.

The pandemic hasn't just accelerated the pace of digitization, it's given governments an unprecedented opportunity to reimagine the ways that citizens can interact with and access services, and to redesign them in ways that bring that vision to life. Governments today can redefine their own functions and processes in ways that look ahead to a digital-first world. Are you interested in learning more about digital transformation, citizen centricity, and the ways that governments can use new platforms and services to build trust? Read our article, 'The future of government: Exploring citizen centricity'.

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