Gartner has identified the top 10 government technology trends for 2021 that have the potential to accelerate digital innovation and optimize or transform public services.
Gartner’s top 10 strategic technology trends for government this year arise from the challenges wrought from the pandemic and the need for flexible operating models that support significant disruptions.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred the acceleration of digital innovation across the government sector around the world, presenting government leaders with new opportunities to use data and technologies to build trust, agility and resilience in public institutions,” said Rick Howard, research vice president at Gartner. “While pandemic-related challenges will continue for some time, technology trends have emerged that address critical challenges in areas such as security, cost containment and citizen experience.”
Gartner’s list of strategic technology trends is directly linked to public administration and policy issues that government leaders must address. Government CIOs can use this list to identify technology trends that best address their post-pandemic recovery priorities and establish the rationale, timing and priority of technology investments.
Accelerated Legacy Modernization
Governments have experienced the limitations and risks posed by decades-old legacy infrastructure and core systems. To be better equipped to deal with the next disruption, government CIOs are accelerating the move to modern, modular architectures. While the need for legacy modernization is not new to government CIOs, the challenges related to the pandemic have only served to heighten the awareness of the resulting risks and the need for it.
Gartner predicts that by 2025, over 50% of government agencies will have modernized critical core legacy applications to improve resilience and agility.
An adaptive security approach treats risk, trust and security as a continuous and adaptive process that anticipates and mitigates constantly evolving cyber threats. This approach features components for prediction, prevention, detection and response. It forgoes traditional notions of perimeter, assuming there is no boundary for safe and unsafe, a necessary conceptual shift given the migration to cloud services.
Gartner predicts that 75% of government CIOs will be directly responsible for security outside of IT by 2025, to include operational and mission-critical technology environments.
Anything as a Service (XaaS)
XaaS is a cloud-only sourcing strategy that embraces acquiring the full range of business and IT services on a subscription basis. Pandemic response and the critical need for digital service delivery have exacerbated pressures to modernize legacy applications and infrastructure. XaaS offers an alternative to legacy infrastructure modernization, provides scalability and reduces time to deliver digital services.
Gartner predicts that 95% of new IT investments made by government agencies will be made as a service solution by 2025.
Case Management as a Service (CMaaS)
Case work is the predominant workstyle of government, with the entire legacy-heavy portfolio of monolithic case management point solutions found in many departments. CMaaS is a new way to build institutional agility by applying composable business principles and practices, to replace legacy case management systems with modular products that can be rapidly assembled, disassembled and recomposed in response to changing business needs.
Gartner predicts that by 2024, government organizations with a composable case management application architecture will implement new features at least 80% faster than those without.
Citizen Digital Identity
Digital identity is the ability to prove an individual’s identity via any government digital channel that is available to citizens, which is critical for inclusion and access to government services. Digital identity ecosystems are quickly evolving and leading governments to assume new roles and responsibilities. The topic is high on political agendas, so government CIOs must link digital identity to salient use cases.
Gartner predicts that a true global, portable, decentralized identity standard will emerge in the market by 2024, to address business, personal, social and societal, and identity-invisible use cases.
Composable Government Enterprise
The composable government enterprise is any government organization that adopts composable design principles. This enables them to extend the reuse of capabilities and continuously adapt to changing regulatory, legislative and public expectations. CIOs are embracing composable government to overcome existing, siloed approaches to managing services, systems and data that limit the ability of governments to adapt to the rapidly evolving needs of the emerging digital society.
Gartner predicts that 50% of technology companies that provide products and services to the government will offer packaged business capabilities to support composable applications by 2023.
Data Sharing as a Program
Data sharing is often ad hoc in government, driven by high-profile use cases such as child protection incidents or gender violence that cannot easily be generalized. Data sharing as a program moves it into being a scalable service, with multiple reusable capabilities, supporting the drive toward more composable approaches in government service delivery.
Gartner predicts by 2023, 50% of government organizations will establish formal accountability structures for data sharing, including standards for data structure, quality and timeliness.
Hyperconnected Public Services
Hyperconnected public services is the whole-of-government use of multiple technologies, tools or platforms to automate as many business and IT processes as possible. Government CIOs can use hyperautomation principles and practices to develop hyperconnected, highly automated end-to-end business processes and public services that require minimal human intervention.
Gartner predicts that by 2024, 75% of governments will have at least three enterprise-wide hyperautomation initiatives launched or underway.
Multichannel Citizen Engagement
Citizen direct participation with governments reached new heights in 2020 as communities dealt with the pandemic, wildfires, hurricanes and other events. Multichannel citizen engagement is a seamless, bidirectional engagement with constituents across organizational boundaries, while delivering a personalized experience using the preferred and most effective channels to reach them.
Gartner predicts that over 30% of governments will use engagement metrics to track quantity and quality of citizen participation in policy and budget decisions by 2024.
Operationalized analytics is the strategic and systematic adoption of data-driven technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and advanced analytics, at each stage of government activity to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and consistency of decision making. Decision-makers can make better context-based operational decisions in real-time to improve the quality of the citizen experience.
Gartner predicts that by 2024, 60% of government AI and data analytics investments aim to directly impact real-time operational decisions and outcomes.