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To Embrace Emerging Tech, Governments Need Supporting Talent, Survey Says

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Public service agencies worldwide are trying to take advantage of new technology, such as biometric identification systems, but they face common challenges including hiring tech talent, a survey found. 

Accenture interviewed government technology professionals in Australia, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Singapore, the U.K. and the U.S. about their approach to modernization. Asked what demands they aspired to meet, respondents said they wanted to meet citizens' expectations by not only improving how services are delivered but also the quality.

It's not just about citizens. About 48 percent of respondents who were tapping advanced analytics and predictive modeling internally said their primary goal was "improving and supporting the work of employees." About 80 percent said automation could "improve the job satisfaction of current employees," instead of replacing those jobs.

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But hiring is a persistent challenge for public agencies across the globe. Of those surveyed, 51 percent said they look more to the private sector to hire talent to support new technology efforts, and 59 percent said they needed to invest heavily in retraining employees. About 48 percent of those surveyed said legacy systems are another major barrier to adoption for new technology.

Here are a few other takeaways from that survey:

  • 77 percent of agencies are evaluating, testing or piloting predictive modeling systems.
  • 40 percent are piloting or implementing biometrics systems and identity analytics; this might include iris recognition or fingerprint scanning for citizens and travelers.
  • 89 percent think their intelligent technology, like the internet of things, machine learning, and video analytics, will provide a return on investment within the next two years.
  • 73 percent said intelligent technology could also improve security, including for fraud prevention.
  • Still, just 38 percent said senior leadership is fully informed about the potential these technologies have for transformation.

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