Governments Leadership Capability Executing Digital Transformation


Governments are reacting to devastating Pandemic effects investing heavily in many strategic areas, like Infrastructure, welfare, health and accelerating the way toward the digital economy.

For Instance, European commission budgeted 800 Bill Euros to booster economy across EU countries, out which at least 20% shall be dedicated to digital economy.

if there is even a glimmer of the positive in the COVID-19 crisis, it is the renewed focus on issues that are structural and economic—that transcend the personal and the political[1]

The Governments have the opportunity and the imperative to speed up and roll out the deployment of a digital government through comprehensive digital transformation programs: not only foundational public services, through common digital infrastructure (Cloud and connectivity) like digital identity, certified mails, dematerialization of certifications etc. but also advanced and innovative services and processes integrating IoT, AI, Advanced analytics , developing an open data national ecosystem, developing a telemedicine ecosystem, developing smart cities etc..

This article will explore perspectives on Government leadership capabilities based on known frameworks and authoritative researches about digital transformation on both public and private sector, how the components of leadership capability, Vision, Engagement, Governance and Technology leadership can leverage a successful digital transformation program.

Preliminarily an overview of role, objectives of the digital Government and the main risks associated to a digital transformation program.

Role, Objectives, and risks of the digital government.

An Overview

Up to now government organizations have been focused on digitizing front-end services implementing discrete technologies in silos, undoubtedly improving the efficiency of some traditional public services, and citizen experience; now [7] is the time to create powerful transformation programs, integrating technology and reengineer government operation, processes, and systems.

The private sector digital transformations, in terms of objectives, are characterized by their specific industry, value chains, competitive values, use digital technologies to transform either their core operations, and\or reinvent industries, and\or reconfigure value delivery models and\or rethink value propositions to be competitive in the market, the public sector focus on citizens benefits and operational costs, improve public services value and efficiency, citizen experience, law enforcement, health care, education, optimize competing goals like efficient taxation and fiscal deficit, long term debt.

Let see a couple of perspectives when it come to the public sector.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) [18] recommends a paradigm shift from an e-government, focused on digital technology and data availability to “digital government” focused on a user-driven approach and by re-engineering and re-designing services and processes; it also defines the six dimensions that shape the level of a country’s digital government maturity.

Fig.[1] Source: OECD Digital Government Indicators

  1. Data-driven public sector: data as a foundational enabler for public sector organizations.
  2. Open by default: The engagement aspect of governments: to collaborate across organizational boundaries and engage outside partners.
  3. Government as a platform: Building an ecosystem to enable governments services in collaboration with citizens, businesses, tech partners
  4. Digital by design: approach strategic activities with involvement and understanding of digital technology value
  5. User-driven: based on value and benefit for the citizens.
  6. Proactive:The ability of governments to anticipate, and rapidly respond to, the needs of their.

From another perspective McKinsey [2] synthetize 4 key capabilities of a digital Government, Services, processes, decisions and data Sharing:

  • Services: for instance, but not only, deploy digitized key public administration services for

which is key the understanding the user’s\citizens perspective.

  • Processes: Digitizing processes to achieve productivity gains. As an example operational expenditure [3] represent on average 19 percent of GDP for OECD countries and roughly a third is spent on overhead functions, representing 6 to 7 percent of GDP in OECD countries. Digital Transformation programs shall define and monitor specific OPEX KPI.
  • Decisions: big data, analytics, AI technology can improve and provide key insights and decision support in defense, public safety, healthcare, energy, water supply and other areas
  • Data Sharing: had already identified [4]the potential of open\”liquid” data (machine readable, accessible to a broad audience at little or no cost) to unleash more than $3 trillion in global economic value annually; think about the data interoperability and “one time only” experience for citizens, the availability for enterprises of anonymized health data, IIoT data (“catalyzing”an open data culture), prediction about energy and water consumption.
  • Governments have critical roles: Value enabler, privacy, intellectual property and security assurance, citizens, consumers, and businesses engagement.

There are two critical aspects and risks that is imperative to incorporate in almost every digital transformation program: the cybersecurity and the privacy compliance, they are foundational in the leadership capability component of a program.

Whether the Governments implement an ecosystem of digitized Public Administration, or enabling an IoT platform, or analytics and\or data science platform, they need to consider and manage the extraordinary risk and impact on cybersecurity introducing new critical networks, systems, data, and applications; The World Economic Forum [16] considers Cybersecurity failure at the fourth place as short term Global risk 2021 , after Infectious diseases, Livelihood crises and Extreme weather events. The reasons are well known, for instance, a cyber-attack can produce more material damage than a traditional military one and costs less, cybercrime is asymmetric, it pays well and is difficult to manage for law enforcement, this attracts valuable talent and competences and feeds a prosperous criminal value chain in the dark web. A traditional proactive paradigm, based on security layers, DMZ, Cryptography, Intrusion Prevention and Detection systems, patch management etc. it is not enough to fight an evolving criminal landscape, leadership capability needs to enable a comprehensive risk management program that takes in consideration the introduction of every new digital technology or solution introduced or implemented enabling [25] a reactive paradigm.

The second critical risk is Privacy. It is worth to remember that the right to private life and related freedoms is contained in the United Nations Human Rights declaration Art.12, the landscape of privacy laws has begun to expand during the early 1970s with rising of electronic data processing and in combination with the development of telecommunication technology. Today The internet and the availability of new digital technologies is transforming our ability to collect, transmit, share, process, and create by inference, data globally. Comprehensive data protection regulation is almost globally diffused, GDPR is enacted in Europe, in Asia Pacific recommendations from APEC Privacy frameworks, Australia enacted the Privacy Act in 1988, Brazil enacted LGPD (Ley Geral Proteçao de Dados) in 2020, US enacted a series of Privacy Laws at federal and state level with privacy-concerns in Healthcare, Financials, Education On-line transactions, Telecom and, Government etc. According to GDPR each personal data processing needs to be registered, lawful, respectful of foundational principles like purpose and storage limitation, data minimization, accuracy, integrity and confidentiality.

Note that Governments have both roles of law enforcement by privacy authorities and respect privacy regulations executing services for citizens [17].

OECD (18) embed both cybersecurity and privacy in the foundational concept of Trust built and maintained through the following areas:

  • ethics: ethical approaches to guide behaviors across the public sector
  • privacy: protecting the privacy of citizens and establishing rights to data
  • transparency: transparency and accountability of algorithms used for public decision making
  • security: managing risks to government data.

The following figure can synthetize Citizens digital rights across an hypothetical digital transformation path.

Fig.[ 2] Source: OECD (2019[13]), Digital Government Review of Panama: Enhancing the Digital Transformation of the Public Sector,

Privacy regulation landscape is continuously evolving, interpretation and debates are open and recurrent, the compromise between the adoption of digital technologies, whether in benefit of customers, citizens or enterprises, and privacy rights should not be considered as a showstopper, Privacy by design techniques, practices and frameworks shall be inserted in digital projects by default, and, by the way, they are also a legal requirement in many regulations, like GDPR or LGPD.

In [20] IAPP ..In public administrations, open data efforts and well-meaning attempts to unlock the value of public data were stymied. Work was wasted. Product leads were frustrated. Mistakes were made

There are also important differences in leadership , embedded in the nature itself of the governance models: the private sector have a centralized governance derived from shareholder accountability and responsibility, in the public sector they are diffused among ministers and agencies, parliament [15]; in the public sector the working environment is not established to meet business targets so it is missing a key competitive characteristic and environment, as a result the lack of accountability, weak performance management and reluctancy to share information is potentially a major issue executing digital transformation programs.

On the other side Governments have key strategic assets and source of value, in comparison with the private sector for instance: national distributed infrastructures, data as a potentially enormous source of value or unique public sector expertise on education, health, taxation and finance, welfare, defense, employment.

Why Digital Transformations fail

The digital technology is there from some time already, the fourth industrial revolution is already happening from some years, 5g will provide an open service oriented telecom architecture, cloud computing, connectivity, IIoT, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and , in the next future, quantum computing are transforming customer experience, business models, and core operations.

Digital Transformation is about transforming processes, improving business value through technology, it is not about simply adopting technology and the human element (Culture, governance, organization, leadership capability in one word) and, arguably, is a key factor for success or failure.

As a matter of fact, in the last years, some authoritative researches shows that [5] [23] 60 to 70% of transformation fails; delivering fundamental changes at scale ,for complex and large organizations, is extremely challenging, even more for Governments: in a complex political environment, the imperative to establish a legal compliance framework (Privacy and cybersecurity), interoperability between government entities, bureaucracy and sustainability of sourcing, cooperation with private players, between others.

For instance a Forbes authoritative research [6] includes the following reasons for DT to fail: Not Having The Right Data In The Right Place, Utilizing An Outdated Tech Stack, Implementing New Tech Onto outdated or Broken Systems; Miscommunication Of The Goals Of The Project, Not Coordinating Goals Across Teams and Overestimating Benefits And Underestimating Costs ,Not Having The Proper Skills.

Boston Consulting Group[5] includes as success factors for DT : An Integrated Strategy with Clear Transformation Goals, Leadership Commitment from CEO Through Middle Management, Deploying High-Caliber Talent, Effective Monitoring of Progress Toward Defined Outcomes; Business-Led Modular Technology and Data Platform.

Deloitte [7] explored public sector digital transformation across the world, and their research suggested that there is a common set of issues and barriers, they found the following characteristics of a digitally maturing government, below in Fig.[3] the top barriers that impede the organization from taking advantage of digital trends.

Fig.[3] Deloitte insights [7]

Another Deloitte research [11] identifies a set of assets and capabilities (“digital pivots”): Data Mastery, flexible and secure infrastructure, Digital Savvy, Ecosystem engagement, Intelligent workflows, Unified Customer experience, Innovation, and new business models

Fig.[4] insights [11]

Most of the mentioned success and failure factors converge to one concept Organizational Leadership capability. In the next paragraph will be described some insights on leadership capability and his components, Vision, engagement, Technology leadership and Governance can leverage a successful

digital transformation program in the public sector and benefit significantly in the roadmap toward a truly digital Government.

The leadership capability

MIT Sloan [8] define Leadership capability in an organizational context as The ability to drive business transformation successfully and repeatedly, they also define the four elements of Leadership capability: Vision, Engagement, Technology leadership and Governance

Fig.5 The four elements of leadership capability are complementary and are all important. (George Westerman, Didier Bonnet, and Andrew McAfee (2014)

Another key definition [8] is the Digital Capability: the use of digital technology (mobile, social media, Artificial Intelligence, IoT, Analytics etc.) to transform, augment or refine an organization’ business processes, whether they are related to customer experience, operations or business models.

MIT Sloan defines “Digital Masters” as the organizations that have are good in both, Digital and Leadership extended capabilities; importantly, their research concluded that Digital Masters achieve an increase of 9% in revenue generation efficiency and an increase of 26% in profitability (Net Profit Margin), and an increase of 9% on Revenue Generation Efficiency transforming their business processes through digital technology.

More in detail in Fig.[6] the digital mastery framework [8]defines four categories, depending on their digital and leadership capabilities, and their performance , in term of business indicators, executing digital transformation programs. The results are valid for both organizations and industries as they mature introducing digital technologies.

Fig.[6] MITSloan 2014 [8]

From a public sector perspective, with the objective to speed up the development of the digital economy and digital transformations and capture the benefits in a short\medium term it is imperative to leverage Vision, Engagement, Governance and technology leadership through Organization, Processes and Programs.

We will also explore the impact of Project Management.

The Vision and the Engagement

The hard part in digital transformation is not the technology, the technology is there, it is about transforming the organization, whether is a public or private sector, it requires coordination, communication, and alignment: the Vision define the direction.

The Government Visions need to be transformative, they should describe a future state and define a clear outcome [8], a significant shift from the actual state to an improved one, and linked to foundational objectives of a government, in benefit of citizens and in Government cost efficiency, for instance:

  • Eliminate lines and paper certifications: with indirect benefits in term of air quality, city transit, time management, energy efficiency.
    • Improve citizens health: through telemedicine with also impact in national health infrastructure and cost efficiency.
    • Minimize Tax evasion: with benefit for fiscal health (through prediction ecosystems)
    • Minimize crimes, optimizing law enforcement (through data interoperability, lawful surveillance, and prediction ecosystems)
    • Faster judiciary (trough digitization and Natural Language Processing)
    • Etc.

Note that BCG [5] research, mentioned before has confirmed An Integrated Strategy with Clear Transformation Goals as key success factor for DT, and Deloitte [7] as indicated The Lack of an overall

strategy as one of the top barriers that impede the organization from taking advantage of digital trends.

One important factor for Governments before setting the vision is to identify their strategic assets that provide a unique source of sustainable value, whether is a national distributed infrastructure or unique public sector expertise on education, health, taxation and finance, welfare, defense, employment.

The vision should be dynamic, it should evolve as new technologies are coming in.

The potential stakeholders in a Government DT program are multiple: local, regional and national administrations, finance, tax, law enforcement, cybersecurity and privacy government agencies, technology partners, Citizens etc., depending on the context and the scope of the transformation program. After the definition of the vision the next step [8]is to engage, motivate and energize all the stakeholders of the transformation and not only the leaders; in many cases a cultural shift is involved and resistance to change could arise. It is important to communicate efficiently and extensively the vision, the related benefits, and the role of employees, and stakeholders involved in the program.

Note that the engagement, consensus or the “Buy in “is a strategic factor and a governance imperative of every change program not only DT program and requires a lot of communication effort from the leaders.

In our experience it can be handled through two complementary main steps: involving and securing accountability and transparency from the main stakeholders before starting the execution, using workshops and in person one-to-one meetings; the second involving all organization at all level, including obviously citizens, encouraging open dialogue an transparency, through microblogs, social media or other collaboration tools.

The first step is based on structured communication and has a direct impact on the governance of the program the second is based on unstructured spontaneous, open communication and leverage motivation, energy, and innovation.

Finally, it is worth to remind that engagement concept have a much more extended landscape than motivating and energizing in a specific transformation program, for governments means to involve technical partners and incubators, universities R&D organizations, ONGs to increase innovation capabilities and enhance Technology leadership.

Technology Leadership

Following the definition of MIT Sloan [8] the third leadership capability is technology leadership involving three main aspects: Strong Business\ITC relationship, a Clean IT and Process Platform and having in place the right skills.

These three aspects imply

Strong Business\ITC relationship

Today, in the private sector, is almost natural, the capacity of ITC departments to deliver advanced and sophisticated solution is combined with the capacity of business departments to identify and drive toward business value, the diffusion of Agile paradigm, practices, and methodologies like Scrum, structure this collaboration and partnership, as opposite respect the hierarchical relationships on the past and is also a clear enabler for innovation.

Importantly, as already mentioned, many government agencies have understood the importance of an Ecosystem engagement [11] and they engage also with the private sector and universities to achieve their digital transformation goals.

A “clean” ITC and process platform

The second aspect the clean ITC and process platform; this aspect goes far beyond the transition from legacy it infrastructure, code and applications to a cleaner and manageable one, it entails [11] deploying a technology infrastructure that balances security and privacy needs with flexible, scalable capabilities, the adoption of cloud infrastructure and a cloud-native environment.

It entails deploying a data governance layer, that secure availability, usability, consistency, data integrity and data security to create frameworks and processes to handle high quality and valuable data across the organization.

Also, as mentioned in the premise, Governments, on top of using data to enable analytics, prediction and decision making, they have additional critical roles as public Provider of data, Catalyst on enabling and promoting an open data culture and landscape, assuring also the rules and the standards in the context of legal compliance, including Privacy (Fig.7) .McKinsey [4] had identified the potential of open\”liquid” data to unleash more than $3 trillion in global economic value annually and many nations and EU have recognized the emergency of a data strategy implementation; US are executing an ambitious and comprehensive “Federal Data Strategy Action Plan”, UK set up “The national data strategy” , and, in an preliminary step, in December 21, the European Parliament [13] reached a

provisional agreement on a new law to promote the availability of data and build a trustworthy environment to facilitate its use for research and the creation of innovative new services and products.

Fig.7 McKinsey Governments roles in relation of the Open data strategic objective [4]

Note that also Deloitte in [11] identifies Data Mastery as one of the Seven pivots for government’s digital transformation, not only from a traditional master data management, but also collecting, and aggregating both structured and unstructured data and securing their availability to build valued services for citizens and government entities.

The right skills in place

Technology leadership means to assure that the project team members have the right skills and tools to execute their tasks, the rapid development of several sophisticated technologies and the imperative, for businesses, to execute digital transformations to stay relevant in the market has created an high demand and, at least for some time, shortage of specialized skill in Cloud , Data science, Iot, Analytics, but also in Cybersecurity and Privacy.

All the previously mentioned research [5], [7], [6], [11], indicate the availability of the right skills as a key failure or success factor in delivering successful transformation projects.

Governments to overcome this issue need to upskill their employees, hire new talents or outsource specific activities or projects, one important finding in [11] is related to digital savvy leadership, the ones that understand digital trends are almost three times more likely to invest in up skilling compared to the ones that are not.

Clearly when we consider skills and people is about budget and typically scarce resources and even if there is the valid but expensive option of project outsourcing and contractors, building a mature digital competence center securing skills management and talent attraction and retentions in the long term is imperative. One valid option is to adopt traditional Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) practices and methodologies, we will give some more details in the next paragraph.

Interestingly, OECD in Recommendation of the Council on Public Service Leadership and Capability [19],

establish, between others, the following recommendations in this matter:

  • Build a proactive and innovative public service that takes a long-term perspective in the design and implementation of policy and services, for instance through investments in foresight, innovation and analytical skills and capabilities
    • Identify skills and competencies needed to transform political vision into services which deliver value to society, through the Review and update of required skills to keep pace with the changing technologies
    • Attract and retain employees with the skills and competencies required

The Governance

The Governance of a DT Program is about coordinating and sharing; each project whether is related to a sophisticated service\application for the Public Administration, an advanced service based on Prediction and analytics or an IoT based service involves, impact and Influence, potentially and “de facto”, several evolving layers, including: the infrastructure layer (evolving Cloud and connectivity), the Data governance layer (i.e. evolving Open data paradigm), the National Cybersecurity risk management ecosystem layer and the privacy compliance layer.

The potential scale and complexity of a public sector DT is huge, for instance there is a complex stakeholder management [9] activity, think about distributed local, regional, and national PAs, Cybersecurity and privacy agencies, Citizens, 3PP technology partners: if a major risk of failure for a DT private sector project is related to leadership capability, the risk of failure for the public sector is bigger.

Digital governance allows to coordinate and integrate functions agencies and departments creates an integrated view of processes and targets aligned with the Vision, enable, and support the change through technology.

In the following chapters we will briefly explore three aspects that enable a strong governance: a model for Government digital transformation delivery, the project management context and the performance management and monitoring aspect.

A model for Government Digital Office

There are many traditional mechanisms to enable digital Governance [8] that can be used alone or combined according to the context:

  • Governance Committees: they have a primary role in coordination, setting standard and policies, resource optimization, adoption of digital trends. If used alone, they may miss some controls to enforce standards and policies
  • Shared digital units: they shared resources, for instance they may be responsible for instance to implement a shared digital infrastructure, or a shared data governance ecosystem.
    • The definition of specific digital roles, in particular: a Chief Digital Officer, to define the digital vision, coordinate activities, create synergies between departments and agencies, drive transformation, promote project management culture; Digital liaisons that act as champions of DT within their departments.

To enable leadership, coordination and strong governance it is clear the need to adopt a centralized or at least an hybrid organizational structure and to appoint a Chief Digital Officer including the following responsibilities [8]: establish (in coordination with other Governments entities) and communicate digital visions, coordinate and create synergies between departments

Furthermore, of course, the CDO needs to manage the budget, importantly, advocate for funds; through the organization secure the skill management and competence readiness, the project delivery culture, the digital projects priorities through project portfolio management, a smooth, fast, efficient and ethic sourcing and vendor management process, the accountability of other governments entities in relation to DT.

Many Governments have created dedicated Digital agencies “The have the delegated responsibility to coordinate and execute strategic digital transformation programs they have also the responsibility to prioritize several strategic digital initiatives from connectivity, Human\ digital education, digitalization of PA and create a comprehensive national digital ecosystem, integrating digital technology to leverage innovation, entrepreneurship competitiveness of European economy.”

Fig.8 below describe a simple organizational model for digital transformation, widely used by private

sector’s delivery centers. On top of the responsibilities described above, the Government digital agency

is responsible for:

  • securing the technology leadership, including the availability of skills and the competence management, the common infrastructures (including the legacy infrastructure) through the digital competence center and the data governance.
    • The DT Project Office and delivery will include the Project Office and Project portfolio management, the planning and forecasting activities
    • Build capabilities for digital initiatives in other governmental entities and engage them to enable motivation and innovation.
    • Secure cybersecurity and Privacy and, in general, legal compliance, in the projects in alignment with the Cybersecurity National Agency and National Privacy regulators.
    • Interface Technology partners not only for sourcing management but for engagement and innovation.
Fig.[8] An example of Governance Archetype for DT

The Government Digital Office should adopt traditional delivery models based, for instance, on CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration) practices leveraging:

  • People: implementing an Pyramid structure to manage cost-efficient skills and seniority, career and compensation paths, individual performance management, skills attraction and retention etc.
    • Processes: including delivery and project management methodologies and frameworks, and also Privacy management and cybersecurity risk management frameworks (and skills)
    • Business: Promote and recognize lead generation and innovation through specific processes.

The Project Management culture

The fourth industrial revolution requires fast organizational changes for enterprises, fast development of products and services, quicker adoption of new technologies and Project management extensive adoption is driving both short-term performance and long-term value creation for businesses.

According to a Project Management Institute research[21], the value of project-oriented economic activity worldwide would grow from $12 trillion in 2017 to $20 trillion in 2027; slightly during the past few years Organization are moving from a short-term, performance-driven and hierarchical structure, typical for Operations to a long-term, value-driven, flat and project driven organization.

When it comes to digital transformation, we mentioned how the strategic vision is a key Leadership capability, however without an effective execution the transformation will fail.

It is important the description [22] by Anand Swaminathan, a senior partner at McKinsey, of the difference between a technology transformation versus a digital transformation, the second one entails a fundamental change in how the company operates, the first one, for instance an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system for financial operations, don’t. Effective project managers and leaders have the

skills to drive and execute fundamental changes, once the vision has been defined, they have the capability to engage the stakeholders, contribute to value definition, together with scope, planning and deliverables, handle changes with Agile mindset, adopting both traditional waterfall and agile practices.

Governments, when it comes to DT (and not only) need (and many are doing) to acquire project management culture, practices, and methodologies, hiring competent Project leaders and transferring workers from functional management to Project Management responsibilities.

The success of a project is significantly influenced by the organizational culture and style, the shared vision, and mission, regulation, policies, reward systems, code of conducts, ethics, leadership styles, organizational structures, operating environment, if a good project can and will consider environmental factors as a risk factor, governments need to accelerate a cultural shift toward project maturity.

If top leader have, naturally, entrepreneurship, financial and business skills, they need also to have an understanding of project practices, from their side, project managers need to acquire business understanding to leverage values and change, in addition to traditional scope management; clearly both, project managers and top leaders need to have reasonable knowledge about digital technology.

Performance and monitoring of public digital transformation programs

Another key aspect about a strong governance is performance management, benchmarking through simple, objective, and measurable metrics. Once defined the vision and the transformation program scope, metrics and indicators should be defined and recurrently monitored. They should be directly linked to the vision and to foundational government objectives, demonstrating the added value of the technology adoption, in the table below few examples of strategic vision, measurable objectives and metrics:

Government Strategic VisionMeasurable ObjectivesMetrics
Public administration: Build a digital, efficient and cost-effective PAMinimize Waiting lines at PA offices. Optimize Citizen experience and satisfaction. Optimize Public expenses.Number of services available online (%). Average waiting time in PA offices (minutes). Citizen experience satisfaction (through polls, NPS like). PA budget reduce (%). Number of employees in PA etc.
Health care: Build an efficient and cost- effective healthcare ecosystem in benefit of Citizens (through e- health)Provide remote Digital monitoring and first diagnostic for non-critical diseases. Optimize national health-care infrastructure and operation.Citizen experience satisfaction (through polls, NPS like). reduction of hospitalized patients (%) per disease. OPEX and CAPEX reduction (%) national healthcare. Etc.
Education: provide excellence in the national education and cultureProvide a fully national distributed network and data infrastructure. Hybrid education and evaluation (proctored) both remote and in- personPercentage of citizens with higher education
Law enforcement: provide efficiency and excellence in law enforcementLawful and trustful Surveillance and criminal offense prediction (including cybercrime)Reduction (%) of criminal offenses per typology
Fiscal efficiency: provide an efficient and fair national fiscal management and tax collectionProvide monitoring and efficient tax evasion enforcement.Tax evasion reduction (%) per category of tax.
Judiciary efficiency:: Provide an efficient, fast and fair Judiciary national systemSpeed up judicial processesAverage timing of execution of judicial cases

Modern governments define metrics, one important example is given by The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), by European Commission, it reflects the two major policy initiatives set to have an impact on the digital transformation in the EU in the coming years: the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) and the Digital Decade Compass [24] , collecting, analyzing, metrics specific for Human capital, Connectivity, Integration of digital technology, Digital public services, Research & Development in ICT.

Performance management and benchmarking are critical to show value in the digital transformation, from a government perspective good, simple metrics can , in the political context, capture hearth and mind of citizens, and, importantly, leverage funds and investments.


“There is no favorable wind for the sailor who doesn’t know where to go”(Seneca)

Many governments are accelerating their path toward the digital economy in reaction of economic loss and human suffering produced by Covid pandemic.

This article explores the governments’ role and risks and objectives executing effective digital transformation programs, in consideration of the cultural shift needed, the potential scale and complexity involved.

However, many researches established that only 40% of digital transformation programs, whether private or public sector, were successful in creating value through digital technology and identified the leadership capability and its components, Vision, Engagement, Governance and Technology leadership as a key successful or failure factors.

Governments will define digital transformative visions; the vision will energize and motivate employee and stakeholders setting the direction toward foundational objectives in benefit of citizens and public

spending, having identified unique source of sustainable value, whether is a national distributed infrastructure or unique public sector expertise on education, health, taxation and finance, welfare, defense, employment.

Governments will enable and incentivize Engagement, across governmental entities, project teams, technology partners and hubs, citizens, to secure programs execution and incentivize innovation.

Governments will accelerate the path toward digital technology leadership, creating a distributed, efficient, and scalable connectivity and data infrastructure, creating an efficient data governance layer, that will also enable the open data paradigm imperative, and finally securing the availability of digital technology skills, attracting and maintaining talents through a favorable learning and working environment.

Finally Governments will build solid Governance structures and frameworks that will enable effective digital transformation program execution and foster innovation and trust, through an hybrid organization able to engage properly all the stakeholders, through a cultural shift toward project management practices, methodologies and frameworks, both traditional and agile, value oriented, trough incorporation of modern Privacy and security frameworks, enabling security, privacy legal compliance and trust, and through an effective performance management, monitoring and benchmarking, securing accountability and demonstrating long term value.

Cite: Alviggi, Lorenzo (2022): Governments Leadership Capability Executing Digital Transformation. figshare. Journal contribution.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Thank you to Pasquale Aiello, President of Ente Nazionale Trasformazione Digitale (ENTD®), for his contribution on the validation and drafting of this article.


[1]How Governments Can Galvanize Their Nations for the Rebound, Boston Consulting Group, Christian SchwaerzlerGemma HendersonJaykumar Patel, Martin ManettiVincent Chin, Munal Rathore, Mohamed Mahmoudi, and Dwaa Osman

[2]Transforming government through digitization | McKinsey

[3]Government designed for new times, Number 1 | McKinsey

[4]How government can promote open data | McKinsey5

[5]Flipping the Odds of Digital Transformation Success | BCG

[6] companies-fail-at-digital-transformation

[7] transformation.html

[8]MIT Sloan 2018 : Internet of Things: Business Implications and Opportunities

[9]PMBOK (Project Management Institute, 5th Ed.)


[11] transformation-strategy.html

[12]Government data management for the digital age | McKinsey

[13] presidency-reaches-deal-with-parliament-on-data-governance-act/

[14]deloitte-au-economics-digital-government-transformation-230715 (

[15] Armstrong/publication/37376935_Parallels_in_private_and_public_sector_governance/links/09e4151 12e18da5338000000/Parallels-in-private-and-public-sector-governance.pdf


[17] organisations/public-administrations-and-data-protection_en

[18] en/1/3/2/index.html?itemId=/content/publication/059814a7- en&_csp_=a527a7269ce984d41531dc563087a73c&itemIGO=oecd&itemContentType=book

[19] en.pdf

[20]IAPP J. Trevor Hughes (Introduction Privacy Program Management)


[22] transformation-why-it-matters

[23]Tony Saldanha Why Digital Transformations Fail: The Surprising Disciplines of How to Take Off and Stay Ahead


[25]Incident-centered information security: Managing a strategic balance between prevention and response Richard Baskerville, Paolo Spagnoletti, Jongwoo Kim.(Elsevier, Information & Management)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.