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Author's profile photo Ryan van Leent

Digital Transformation at the Frontline

Browse any article on Digital Transformation in Government and you’re likely to see a photograph of a student or a pensioner or a person with a disability using a mobile device to access Government services. Indeed, improving citizen engagement is a core outcome of Digital Transformation for service delivery agencies – but is it the #1 driver? The Centre for Digital Government’s recent survey of 113 Government leaders ( indicates that the top two drivers for Digital Transformation are actually internal:

  • #1: Improving internal resources and tools for Government employees.
  • #2: Increasing efficiencies and relieving budget pressures.
  • #3: Providing citizen services.

So what’s motivating Digital Transformation within Government agencies; why are many Government agencies so focused on improving resources and tools for frontline service delivery staff; and what can SAP do to help?

Workforce challenges
Turnover of frontline service delivery staff is consistently higher than the industry average, primarily due to the intensive nature of Social Protection work and cases. Challenges associated with attracting the best talent and the costs associated with training new staff further exacerbate this problem. In financial terms alone, the cost of staff turnover has been estimated at as much as 150% of salaries (MacDermott, 2006). It is unsurprising then that many Government leaders are even more focused on delivering a consumer-grade user experience for frontline staff than for the citizens they serve.

Functional challenges
It is not uncommon for frontline service delivery staff to need to interact with multiple disconnected systems to make a determination on a single Social Protection case. This current system state is inconsistent with whole-of-Government goals to join up data in support of cross-agency processes, and can hinder collaboration across all the diverse set of actors in the social ecosystem. Beyond real-time collaboration, real-time decision support tools are required to balance human judgement and automation. Government leaders are therefore focused on delivering a consolidated interaction platform with a single view of customer to support frontline staff.

Non-functional challenges
System reliability and performance are just as important for frontline service delivery staff as for citizen engagement. Usability is also a key concern for internal user interfaces which are typically more information rich, but that need to be simple enough for inexperienced staff (refer workforce challenges), while being highly efficient for those with more experience. Many Government agencies also require internal (as well as external) user interfaces to be highly accessible, and some agencies even have legislative mandates for hiring a people with a disability. This is motivating many Government leaders to apply similar SLAs to the internal applications used by their frontline staff as have traditionally been applied to citizen-facing applications.

SAP’s approach
SAP’s next generation industry solution for Social Protection is being designed to address these challenges for frontline service delivery staff. For example, our Fiori-based UX is designed around the principles of being role-based, responsive, simple, coherent and delightful for internal users. And SAP S/4HANA simplifies our industry solutions by leveraging the capabilities of the SAP HANA in-memory platform, including the ability provide instant insights based on live data.

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