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The Digital Public Sector of the Future


The Future of the Public Sector is Digital 

The scene is all too common: while the private sector plows ahead with digital innovation, the public sector is slow to keep pace. Siloed departments and paper-based processes contribute to the image of a public sector that is too bogged down to be digitally transformed. In addition, stringent budget constraints make digital transformation seemingly too expensive.  

But despite these challenges, the data is clear. Organizations that invest in digital transformation enhance their ability to meet customer demands and streamline operations to meet budgetary requirements. According to a recent KPMG survey, 56% of respondents in the United States noted that the returns from digital transformation investments exceeded their initial expectations. Real-world success stories further reinforce this point. Take the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, for example, which implemented a digital CAD system, enabling the agency to track and identify reported incidents along the highway precisely. By leveraging camera imagery to gather incident details, it could promptly dispatch emergency response units to the nearest location, ensuring road safety and operational efficiency.  

Digital transformation offers a powerful solution to the challenges faced by public sector organizations. Through this process, they can simplify compliance, bolster workforce safety and enhance talent retention, all while improving project management and facilitating seamless information sharing. Adopting state-of-the-art digital solutions can optimize resources and time previously wasted on outdated technologies and cumbersome maintenance tasks. This shift leads to clear and accessible processes, enhanced communication across ranks and streamlined protocols in control centers. It fosters visibility, auditability and efficient reporting, aiding in making informed decisions regarding asset investments. Consequently, these digitally transformed organizations can more effectively manage assets and address unplanned maintenance, ensuring they continue to serve community needs efficiently, much like private industries.  

Reshaping the Public Sector with Digital Solutions 

How can public sector organizations accelerate their digital transformation journeys? By ensuring that their digital strategy includes implementing a digital twin.  

Digital Twins for Government Agencies 

A good example of digital transformation technology is a digital twin, which is an accurate digital replica of a physical asset, system or process – ranging from power grids and road networks to water infrastructure systems. It allows for proactive simulations and safety evaluations, enabling advanced maintenance scheduling and minimizing the chance of unexpected disruptions. For instance, a water utility could employ a digital twin to pinpoint system weaknesses and avoid costly, unforeseen maintenance. By doing so, digital twins enhance operational efficiency and transparency while saving expenses by preventing unplanned downtime.  

Real-time Location Tracking for Transit Authorities 

Real-time location tracking solutions allow transit agencies to strategize routes, streamline operations, and bolster safety efficiently. By monitoring the real-time location of the vehicles in their fleet, transit agencies can optimize routes and schedules, contributing to reduced wait times for passengers and a smarter allocation of resources.  

With location-tracking capabilities, transit authorities can quickly respond to emergencies or vehicle incidents, ensuring compliance with safety regulations like speed limits and proper vehicle maintenance.  

Proactive Asset Management and Maintenance   

Modern asset management solutions have a transformative impact on maintenance capabilities. Organizations that enhance the reliability and performance of critical equipment, facilities and infrastructure can optimize operational efficiency, foster a culture of adaptability and increase foresight within their maintenance operations.  
For example, Miami-Dade County provides critical services such as water management, transportation, aviation, public safety and parks and recreation. In the county’s Water and Sewer Department, they rely upon a fusion of HxGN EAM with Geographic Information Systems to expedite infrastructure maintenance. By doing so, the agency can swiftly identify issues such as pipeline breaks and efficiently prioritize repairs. This advanced approach accelerates response times and enhances planning and resource management by offering better visibility into asset conditions and locations. Miami-Dade County's proactive strategy has revolutionized its maintenance practices. 

Empowering Transparency for Cross-Silo Collaboration 

Gaining access and visibility to vital information can be difficult to achieve across silos. According to Gartner, more than half of public sector organizations consider siloed strategies and decision-making a high-priority challenge. Take North America’s largest passenger transport entity, for example. This organization grappled with efficiency obstacles in vehicle servicing because of communication gaps between management levels. With unclear roles and poor technician-to-supervisor-coordination, these barriers impeded access to crucial data and daily productivity. Significant improvements were made by adopting digital tools like the HxGN EAM mobile app. This included enhanced communication, broader data access task automation and improved resource allocation.  

The utilization of digital tools like digital twins and real-time tracking can unify siloed departments by making vital information readily accessible. Additionally, digital transparency and reporting capabilities can ensure compliance with regulations such as accessibility and environmental and safety standards.  

Bridging Information Gaps with a Smart Digital Reality™ 

Smart Digital Reality™ integrates digital tools with real-world infrastructure to accomplish various public sector goals and objectives. Implementing a Smart Digital Reality would enable public sector organizations to leverage data-driven insights and visualizations in real-world contexts, facilitating decision-making, enhancing efficiency and curbing operating costs. Plus, it doesn’t require an entire digital overhaul of legacy applications – organizations can ease into a digital transformation journey by focusing on one transformation component at a time.  

Bringing Security to the Forefront 

As digital maturity progresses, the increasing interconnectedness of endpoints heightens vulnerability to cyber-attacks. However, digital transformation can strengthen this weakness, empowering the public sector to address emerging threats better. Integrating advanced security measures such as multi-factor authentication and encryption into workflows enhances resilience against cyber-attacks, safeguarding smooth and safe operations. The ARC Advisory Group highlights that many operations remain at risk of costly cyber incidents, recommending solutions like PAS Cyber Integrity®, which offers numerous benefits such as automatic asset inventory maintenance, vulnerability remediation and compliance with industry standards. Additionally, it supports essential cybersecurity tasks outlined in the Industrial/OT Cybersecurity Maturity Model, aiding in system security risk analysis and management.  

Moving Past Barriers to Implementation 

Transformation agents must examine the present public sector to shape the future public sector. While current solutions exist to address the public sector’s needs, a widening skills gap and the layers of bureaucracy typical of government organizations are barriers to implementation.  

So, how does the public sector move forward?  

By implementing a step-by-step approach, public sector agencies and organizations can build their own sustainable smart digital realities with mission-critical digital tools.  

A recent Deloitte study found that strong leadership is one of the most important enablers of digital transformation in the private sector. The same notion applies to the public sector. Collective buy-in is necessary to implement these tools in the public sector and achieve long-term efficiency, and this begins from the top. Once leadership and major stakeholders have aligned, organizations can begin forming their digital backbone — an established system of record — to streamline operations. This involves the following: 

  • Data Capture: Refers to the process of turning legacy information into digital formats that can be easily accessed and analyzed for more efficient, accurate decision-making. This involves scanning physical documents, extracting data from databases or converting files into standardized digital formats.
  • Managed Processes: Specifically, engineering change management involves implementing structured workflows and procedures for managing changes to engineering designs, specifications, and documentation throughout their lifecycle. Engineering change management ensures that any modifications or updates to engineering designs are properly reviewed, approved and documented to maintain product quality, compliance and consistency.
  • Document Management: Based on industry standards, it involves organizing and categorizing digital assets. This ensures that documents are tagged, indexed and stored to facilitate easy retrieval, searchability and traceability.
  • Interoperability: Involves creating connectors, interfaces or APIs to facilitate seamless integration and communication between various systems. These connectors enable data exchange, synchronization and collaboration across different software applications and systems, ensuring that data flows smoothly throughout the organization’s digital ecosystem.
  • Single Source: Manages third-party access and extensions. It manages access control, permissions, and authentication mechanisms to regulate third-party access to sensitive engineering data while also providing mechanisms for extending the functionality of the digital backbone through integrations, plugins or customizations. 

No matter where they are in their digital transformation, Hexagon offers industry-leading solutions to ​guide​​​​​ public sector organizations​ in​ improv​ing​​ ​outcomes every step of the way. We help governments, transit agencies, emergency responders, power utilities, wastewater treatment facilities and others accelerate mission-critical digital transformation to serve their communities best.  

In Closing 

The digital revolution holds immense potential for public sector entities. Cutting-edge technologies such as ​digital twins​, real-time​ location tracking​, ​predictive analytics capabilities​ and ​advanced cybersecurity measures are not optional add-ons but essential components that can unlock enhanced productivity, security, and cost efficiency for governments, utilities and more. ​ 

By adopting a uniform approach to implementation, leaders in the public sector can simplify procedures and deliver more efficient, accessible, and secure services to their communities. By harnessing the power of data analytics tools, the public sector gains insight into various facets of governance, such as citizen needs, resource allocation and operational efficiencies.  

Digital transformation is carving out the path for the future of the public sector. Are you prepared to join the journey? Contact us today to learn how Hexagon’s solutions can accelerate your digital transformation.