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Analysis

Future-forward government

Survey results and takeaways

A "future-forward government" reflects federal leaders' focus on modernization. Learn what Deloitte has done to help understand and encourage this look into the future.

Agencies look to modernization to better serve customers

Federal leaders are clearly focused on all aspects of modernization. In everything from technology to staffing to operations, managers are assessing their ability to better respond to customer needs. We refer to this concept as “future-forward government.” Initiatives such as the IT Modernization Centers of Excellence are only one example of innovations meant to enhance government operations.

The President’s Management Agenda (PMA), released in March 2018, and its corresponding Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) goals, lay out a long-term vision for modernizing government in key areas to improve business operations and customer service while being good stewards of taxpayer dollars. This vision focuses on three drivers for transformation: IT modernization; data accountability and transparency; and creating the workforce of the future.

A recent survey from the 1105 Public Sector Media Group and Deloitte found that federal officials understand the PMA objectives, but some traditional mindsets hinder progress toward becoming a future-forward government organization.

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2018 Government Human Capital Trends

Some of the biggest challenges for civilian agencies’ modernization efforts are inadequate staffing and lack of training. To mitigate those risks, respondents said they need to hire more federal employees, retain current staff and find more uses for automation.

This means government leaders have an opportunity to rethink how they shape the workforce. For instance, Deloitte’s 2018 Government Human Capital Trends found that although 79 percent of public-sector respondents said new career models are important, only seven percent are very ready for the challenge.

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Future of government work

“Emerging technologies like robotics, automation, and AI have incredible potential to reshape the government workforce. In a lot of agencies, we’re already seeing the start of this,” said William Eggers, executive director of Deloitte’s Center for Government Insights. “We are excited about a future where machines and humans collaborate for more robust decision-making. By automating manual or repetitive tasks, we can free up humans to focus on higher-value tasks mission-critical work.”

Automation is a crucial way to augment the workforce and modernize IT to meet the future of government work. More than 40 percent of civilian responders said their agencies are deploying automation programs, but repurposing their workforce is a major challenge. For help, Deloitte has a framework for assessing automation readiness that involves examining business processes, services, and programs to find where cognitive technologies may be helpful.

Future work

Key takeaways

Overall, the survey shows how well-aligned the CAP goals are to agencies’ own objectives and how intertwined they are with one another. It’s tough to separate additional automation from updated IT. Likewise, automation and modernization free employees to focus on more mission-critical tasks, creating an agency better able to respond to customer needs.

“The PMA is a well-structured framework for modernizing government and recognizes that it is a multi-year effort that will require leadership at both the political as well as career level and a commitment to dedicate resources now to ensure a return on the investments and a future-forward government,” Kavitha Prabhakar, civil government sector leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP.

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