The title of this blog was inspired from a recent digital thought leader conference (the ‘Digital Transformational Congress’) that was held on July 26th at the Gallagher Convention Center in Johannesburg.

I want to share with you a few insights from the several panel discussions we witnessed and how these insights can be localized.
First off, there is an obvious KEY common element in the ‘marriage’ between the two sectors and it is simply, people.
If we do not have open-minded and responsible people in play, this whole conversation on digital transformation cannot be pushed forward in either sector. Admittedly, the leverage that new technology offers reduces dependency on the government to entirely provide services. However for this to work another element to the marriage relationship needs to be fixed – ‘trust.’

The private sector needs to figure out how to attach ‘value’ to establishing this ‘trust’ because trust is an invaluable asset in building relationships. Eventually, this will drive delivery in solutions that are cost-effective across the board.
Increasing domestic revenues was among the top priorities expressed during the recent budget reading for financial year 2018/19. But how can the public sector ease the collection of revenue and quicken the pace of digitally transforming its operations?

I believe the answers to these challenges can address the shortcomings that hinder efficient public sector operations and private sector business expansion. Lebo Gunguluza , the Group Chairman Gem Group, kicked off one conversation by highlighting the need for the public to have easy access to basic levels of public services.

Digital technology provides this solution, but the public sector managers have to do more to match up with the private sector.
However, both sectors need to be careful about the ‘hype’. This digital transformation is being viewed too much as a fashionable trend whilst the bigger picture is that it is a huge challenge to overcome if the marriage is to work.
Both partners must also consider ‘scale’ with the main objective of reaching everyone (the customers/citizens) in the business services ecosystem.

However it is also advisable to shift perspective NOT to think of this digital transformation as an alternative, but a new way of life. This is a process that has proved its value and lastly is the way to do business in 21st century. But as we set out in the beginning, it takes two to make it work, both public and private sectors must learn to read from the same page.

About the Author: WMC Editor

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