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To increase the public’s trust in digital government services, governments will lean into zero trust, customer experience and robotic processes, Forrester analysts predicted.
In the coming year, at least five state and local governments will adopt zero trust to improve public faith in digital services, organizations will be challenged to meet customer experience (CX) goals and automation efforts will increase, according to Forrester's 2022 predictions for the public sector.
During a Feb. 17 panel hosted by market research firm Forrester, experts discussed six trends they expect to see in government this year as more agencies turn their attention toward digital transformation.
To restore the public’s trust in digital services, Forrester predicts that at least five state and local governments will mandate the adoption of zero trust, a security model that relies on continuous verification from multiple sources. That over 60% of government decision-makers surveyed in Forrester’s 2021 priority survey said they wanted to move toward zero trust is a positive sign, the analysts said.
“What is encouraging for us is that, not only is there rhetoric around heading in this direction but there is also practical guidance being put out by central agencies,” Forrester Analyst Sam Higgins said, citing the Office of Management and Budget’s zero trust directive. “If we are going to move people to more efficient and effective channels of communication and a combination of in-person as well as digital customer experiences, then we need to make sure that people can trust that.”
When it comes to CX, the panel said that three-fourths of government agencies will fail to implement revolutionary CX projects because they are still in reaction mode. Agencies will prioritize "putting out fires and box-checking exercises in response to governing documents at the federal level, or whatever their state and local mandates are,” Forrester VP and Principal Analyst Rick Parrish said. As a result, many will fail to achieve the transformational potential of new mandates and limit CX improvement across the board.
The use of robotic process automation is also expected to grow. In 2022, 10% of the government administrative workload will be executed by RPA to reduce the cost of human labor on repetitive, low-value tasks. Many of these tasks revolve around filling out forms, moving files, and tedious tasks, Higgins said.
“We see a lot of processes … that involve people filling in paper forms or online PDF forms only to print them and take them down to the physical office,” Higgins said. “Using RPA is a great way to address some of these inefficiencies, without necessarily having to transform entire business processes.”
This is an important shift, he explained, indicating that attitudes toward robotic processes no longer carry the threat of massive public sector job losses. The rapid adoption of automation is not only cutting costs, but it is also freeing up human resources for outcome-based service delivery, which requires actual decision-making and higher degrees of personal context, Higgins said.
Unfortunately, not all RPA implementations will succeed, the analysts said. Kentucky’s attempt to reform its bail system with AI-based “risk scores” was shown to be racial biased, which has forced the state to walk back its implementations. This had knock-on effects, Higgins said, as it eroded public confidence in the technology and hindered future use cases.