Thursday, August 11 2022

LONDON, December 9, 2021 / PRNewswire / –

  • Only 9% of organizations globally have reached digital maturity as cost reduction, delivery illusions, manual processes and resistance to change hamper back office modernization
  • More than half of respondents in the global public sector say the pressure to improve spending transparency is increasing and 40% admit that cost savings will come from reducing services to citizens or the community.

In the last two years:

  • Public pressure to improve the transparency of spending was experienced by more than half of public sector respondents
  • Resistance from leaders change is the biggest challenge for organizations that adapt to changes in services
  • Cut services to citizens or the community are the main cost-cutting measure despite increases in public sector budgets around the world
  • Despite the best intentions, delivery of change will be slow because on average, it will take 2.5 years to deploy the digital transformation in all organizations
  • Only 9% outperforming in terms of implementing the digital transformation of the back office. The majority are either cautious followers (37%) or enthusiastic reviewers (39%)

Unit 4, a leader in enterprise cloud applications for mid-size people-centric businesses, the results of a new global study released today, State of the digital nation, which examines digital transformation in the public sector around the world by exploring the challenges and successes of back office innovation. Driven by Vanson Bourne, the study consulted with decision-makers from various public sector organizations in Europe and United States. The results confirm that organizations face a number of transformational challenges, ranging from resistance to change and decision-makers’ illusions about progress, but above all it is clear that there is still a long way to go before digital transformation is not fully realized.

Digital transformation performance

As part of the study, Vanson Bourne assessed the maturity of digital transformation among public sector organizations and only 9% believe they outperform in modernizing back office IT systems to enable increased collaboration and productivity. The vast majority (76%) of those surveyed said they were either cautious followers or enthusiastic reviewers, suggesting that there is still a long way to go before digital transformation hits every corner. of the public sector. At country level, Sweden (40%) is the global leader in back-office systems transformation, followed by Belgium (39%) and the United States (31%), while Canada (11%) has the lowest percentage of such digital transformations deployed. The UK has the highest percentage (56%) of partially deployed digital transformation for back office systems.

There are also concerns about the ambition of public sector organizations in their transformation implementation timelines. On average, it will take 2.4 years for central government and 2.7 years for local government to fully deploy digital transformation in all areas of organizations, which, given the sums already spent on digital transformation over the past 10 years. recent years, suggests that citizens will have some time to wait for completely updated services.

“The global public sector faces one of the most difficult challenges it has ever faced, but in some ways it has demonstrated what is possible in terms of digital transformation,” said Marc Gibbison, Global Public Sector Director, Unit4. However, organizations will face an even more difficult task in the years to come to maintain essential public services and continue to invest in innovation to make meaningful improvements. It will take a shift in mindset to embrace the change needed to achieve modernizing public services and a desire to be more agile, accepting that disruption will ultimately lead to much better value for citizens. ”

Verification of the reality of digital transformation strategies

The State of the Digital Nation study indicates that there are significant hurdles to overcome for digital transformation to be successful, which should serve as a reality check for organizations as they plan their strategies. Globally, 41% say big improvements are needed when it comes to data compatibility in their organizations and 16% say big changes are needed. Globally, an additional 38% say data is entered manually by someone, from paper to software systems, and 43% say data is manually exported from one system and imported to another. In addition, the vast majority of respondents (86%) believe their staff do not have the skills or training to transform back office systems, which will further hamper delivery.

There are also concerns that senior management is overconfident in their assessment of the achievement of digital transformation. 47% of senior executives and 44% of senior executives believe the transformation will be accomplished on time, compared to just 5% of junior executives who agree with this statement. Likewise, 51% of senior executives and 48% of senior executives believe the transformation will be achieved within budget, compared to just 5% of junior executives.

The path to follow

The survey indicates where public sector organizations are focusing to improve processes and increase the efficiency of back office systems. The top three priorities are cloud migration (50%), data management tools (49%) and real-time reporting tools (47%), while artificial intelligence is the lowest priority (36%).

By taking a closer look at the maturity of public sector organizations, the study separates indicators of over-performers and under-performers, who occupy either end of the performance spectrum. Outperformers:

  • It only takes a year and a half to fully deploy digital transformation in their organizations
  • Smallest percentage (25%) looking to save money by reducing services to citizens and the community
  • Only 18% carry out compulsory or voluntary layoffs
  • They can also recruit from a larger geographic area (37%)


  • Are most likely to complain about bureaucracy / regulations to justify spending
  • It will take 2.8 years (compared to 2.4 years on average worldwide) to fully deploy the digital transformation
  • 39% will achieve cost savings by reducing services to citizens and communities and by implementing compulsory or voluntary layoffs
  • They have the most recruiters but can’t find the right people, and 30% hire staff who don’t have the right skills

Additional resources

  • A copy of the full report is available for download here.

Survey methodology

Vanson Bourne interviewed 600 public sector decision-makers through Australia, Belgium, Canada, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. Respondents were chosen from central government, local government, healthcare, emergency services, and non-departmental government agencies, and from a range of roles, including HR decision makers, IT decision makers, and policymakers. financial.


About Unit4

Unit4’s next-generation business solutions power many of the world’s most people-centered midsize businesses. Our state-of-the-art cloud platform, ERPx, brings together finance, purchasing, project management, human resources, and FP&A capabilities on a unified cloud platform that shares real-time information and is designed with a powerful, people-centered approach. , so that employees can gain a better understanding and become more efficient and increasingly engaged. It supports rapid and continuous change while providing individualized adjustment for large-scale customers, providing the right tools to unify processes within their organization and connect their employees. Unit4 serves over 6,000 clients worldwide, including Bravida, Havas, Migros Aare, Americares, Save the Children International, Action Against Hunger, Metro Vancouver, Forest Research, Southampton City Council, Habitat for Humanity, Selkirk College, FTI Consulting and Surrey County Council.

For more information, please visit, Follow us on twitter @ Unit4global, or visit our LinkedIn page

Media contact:

Lisa Stassoulli

Global Communications Manager, Unit4

Mobile: +44 (0) 7870 916827

[email protected]

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Global study sheds light on current challenges of digital transformation in the public sector


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