NSW’s plan to overhaul aging frontline applications, build ‘digital twin’

‘Beyond Digital’ strategy outlines data-driven effort to overhaul service delivery

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Modernising “priority legacy systems” including NSW Police’s core COPS system, DRIVES (the DRIver and VEhicle IT System employed by Roads and Maritime Services), and criminal justice and licensing and compliance solutions (GLS) are among a suite of initiatives detailed in the New South Wales government’s new digital strategy, unveiled today.

The plan is not necessarily to rip and replace some of the sprawling applications used by frontline workers in the police, transport, emergency service, health, and education systems, but incremental work to help deliver a “consistent customer experience” and uncover opportunities for reuse across government where possible. Modernisation of state government ERP systems is also on the agenda.

The strategy – ‘Beyond Digital’ – includes a commitment to building new digital “foundational platforms and services” that can be used across government and reduce duplication, citing payment services, proof of identity, secure cloud and mechanisms for customer feedback as potential examples.

The state government is also preparing to unveil, potentially as soon as January, a digital twin that will reflect real-time information about New South Wales and can be used to improve public safety as well as improve planning and service delivery.

The strategy, which was launched today by customer service minister Victor Dominello, follows the 2017 launch of NSW’s digital government strategy.

Earlier this year Dominello detailed what he described as the “biggest and boldest” changes to the state’s machinery of government: Replacing a swathe of government committees with the single ‘Delivery and Performance Committee’, or DaPCo.

In addition to Dominello and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who together chair DaPCo, it comprises the state’s deputy premier, treasurer and the deputy leader of the National Party. Dominello told today’s Beyond Digital launch event that the committee had “enormous clout” across the whole of government to drive service reform.

“Digital is not simply an organ within the Department of Customer Service,” the minister said. “Education’s doing digital, transport’s doing digital. It’s, like, ‘you’re the minister for innovation’ – well every minister should be a minister for innovation. But how do you nudge different agencies so they’re aligned to the big journey?”

That “big journey” is “about putting the citizen first” through delivering services tailored to the individual or individual business. The whole-of-government purview of DaPCo can help prevent different parts of the public sector from developing well-intentioned but disjointed digital experiences, he said.

Predictably, the new strategy document emphasises the use of data sourced from across different parts of government to help drive insights into customer experience and states that the Data Analytics Centre, whose establishment was championed by Dominello, will continue to “provide secure governed data platforms and analytics as services, enabling greater value from the use of government data, to provide near real time, predictive and smart insights to support government services”.

However, Dominello said that the government also wanted to examine how it could deliver insights to business owners building on existing efforts by Service NSW to make it easier to start a new venture. For example, the minister said that, potentially, someone starting a coffee shop could be directed to government data to help them understand the level of competition in a suburb, as well as how its demographics are changing in order to make a better-informed decision about location.

The government has developed a digital dashboard and a concierge service to help guide people through the process of starting a new business.

Beyond Digital states that the state government is aiming to have 80 per cent of its services available via Service NSW, and intends to reduce the number of government websites.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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