How Government Agencies Can Boost OPEX in the Public Sector

PEX network meets Nedzad Piric, Director of Digital Transformation and Smart Cities at EU Tech Chamber, to learn more about his experience and successes in operational excellence (OPEX) and the progress of digital transformation in the sector audience.

Ahead of his session at PEX Live: Operational Excellence in the Public Sector, Piric shares his advice for government agencies looking to boost OPEX and shares key trends he has observed in the public sector.

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PEX Network: Can you tell us more about your experience in operational excellence?

Nedzad Piric: It all started with my undergraduate thesis, Process approach to quality management in human resource managementwhich is directly linked to operational excellence.

From my experience as a digital transformation consultant, I can say that if organizations don’t include OPEX in their digital transformation initiatives, they will fail. For both private and public sector OPEX, the primary goal is to create an ecosystem where every employee is empowered to deliver and improve the flow of value to a customer.

Bringing management, solution providers, and employees together is critical to digital transformation success.

PEX Network: What are the main OPEX trends you see in the public sector?

NP: Digital adoption will continue to grow in line with the demand for digital transformation improvements for employees, citizens and businesses. The main objectives are to provide quality services with an enhanced user experience.

Trust is and will remain the essential component that will enable the public sector to deploy advanced technologies. These technologies will establish partnerships with all stakeholders, but mainly citizens and businesses.

Transparency is also an important factor that will compel the public sector to work closely with service providers. Such a partnership should ensure that the applied technology provides full transparency, autonomy, control and regulatory compliance.

Citizens will also have full control over how their data is used, decide when and with whom to share it, and exercise their right to choose to become smart citizens.

We will see citizen engagement increase dramatically, requiring authorities to accept citizens as active partners and participants in pursuing public policy goals, gaining their support and involvement.

Finally, we will see that cybersecurity will remain one of the priorities. Successful digital transformation also requires security transformation, as some of the world’s largest public sectors and businesses have fallen victim to cyberattacks. For this reason, security must be integrated directly into all applications.

For more information on how government agencies are driving OPEX, sign up for PEX Live: Operational Excellence in Public Sector

PEX Network: What advice would you give to organizations and government agencies looking to begin their OPEX journey?

NP: The most important piece of advice is that the transformation projects of government organizations and agencies must put citizens first. In 2018, the United Nations Population Division reported that around 55% of the world’s population lived in cities. It is predicted that by 2050, this number will reach 68%, which is expected to add an additional 2.5 billion new residents.

Cities occupy only 3% of the Earth’s surface, but account for up to 80% of energy consumption, as well as 75% of the world’s waste and carbon emissions. With hundreds of millions moving into cities over the next few decades, a failure to invest now in the next generation of digital and government infrastructure could mean these millions will be underserved.

As city populations continue to grow, we must support increased demand.

PEX Network: What do you hope viewers take away from your session at PEX Live: Public Sector Operational Excellence?

NP: The session will focus on managing change and raising awareness of digitalization in government.

To raise awareness of digitalization in government, we need all stakeholders to be on the same page, including politicians, city planners, academics, NGOs and technology providers. We need everyone to work together towards digitization solutions in government for decades to come.

Digitization in the public sector means new ways of working with stakeholders, creating new service delivery frameworks and creating new forms of relationships.

The digitization of public services, which has become a key political issue since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, must never be limited to simple cost reduction. The objective must be to make public services more efficient.

According to the recommendations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, for the future, it seems necessary to increase the visibility and attractiveness of capacity building for digital transformation. This includes:

  • Increase the visibility of existing training programs, for example by mapping each initiative and making information easily accessible or by certifying certain skills.
  • Build a shared narrative on how this training aims to develop key skills for the future of public sector work and deliver public value to citizens.
  • Continue research on the impact of digital transformation.
  • Continue efforts to implement new skills and working methods in the workplace.
  • Working on specific challenges or setting up monitoring mechanisms could help support digital transformation in practice and in the long term.
  • Continue to develop institutional partnerships and different modalities of collaboration between public, private and civil society organizations.

For more information on OPEX and advice from public sector professionals, sign up for PEX Live: Operational Excellence in the Public Sector

Ashley C. Reynolds