It is in the DNA of digital natives to push automation beyond its edges. Startups achieve scalability, reliability, resilience, and efficiency faster than counterparts held back by technical debt, and manual paper-based vaults. To capture data, some agencies typically implement data lakes, lab environments, and next-generation tooling for advanced analytics. Data lakes in bureaucracies use data-sharing platforms to facilitate collaboration on data-driven projects, both within and across agencies. These actors freely build a data economy of indigenous knowledge that facilitates the pooling of data to create more valuable insights for all participants.

Data marketplaces enable the exchange, distribution, mixing and the supplementation of data. The result is that divisions are empowered to build proprietary data products. This allows them to extract insights from novel rearrangements and mixtures. As trust grows, barriers to the exchange and combining of data among stakeholders are reduced. Data marketplaces bring together various data pools in such a way that the value precipitated exceeds the sum of the information sealed in secret silos.

What separates digital leaders from other organizations is a clear digital strategy, an enterprising mindset and the brinkmanship to drive the transformation effort. Future-forward organizations are already upgrading the “IT back office”. The history of technological advancement is replete with instances of organizations focusing on purchasing enterprise solutions without investing in organizational capabilities that guarantee the impact. The failed implementation of these tools is a classical use case of expectations falling short due to a failure to change processes and build cultures that foster change.

As the cost of cloud computing declines and more powerful “in-memory” data tools like Redis and Memcached come online, agencies are finding it easier to unearth incredible insights for the benefit of provincial and central governments. As civil servants leverage these data tools to automate basic day-to-day activities and recurring decisions, governments become more capable of better decision-making. The result is that employees are now free to focus on more “human” domains, such as innovation, collaboration, and communication. A data-driven culture fosters continuous performance improvement. The result is a truly differentiated workforce experience.

Digital maturity is influenced, to a great degree, by the digital strategy of an organization. Agencies at the early stages of maturity display a cogent digital plan of attack. No strategy at all is the principal hurdle that impedes early-stage organizations from embracing the advantages of digital trends. Sporadic application of AI-driven automation and predictive systems leave value creation completely behind. As early-stage organizations mature, hurdles become much more about portfolio management, capital, and cyber security.

Aiding personalization of citizen experiences. Detecting financial fraud. Building resilient supply chains for a Post Corona world. Catapulting drug discovery with virus hunters ahead on the next pandemic. What strings all of these efforts together is advanced analytics. Over the past ten years, internal analytics has become a top priority with a view towards scaling use cases. In spite of almost boundless applications of advanced analytics, governments and companies have found that the impact/investment ratio is quite demotivating. The challenges of scaling use cases and the strains of integrating advanced analytics into existing environments and process maps appear to be formidable.

Some bureaucracies have been unable to unlock the vast potential of advanced analytics because of the paucity of capabilities and the sheer number of repeatable processes required to roll out new algorithms and analytics models. A vast amount of time is consumed by analytics programs in many organizations on tedious tasks like data preparation, whereas the actual value-added work is limited.

Organizational mindsets around data privacy, ethics, and cyber security are now juxtaposed against Generation 5 (G5) Regulatory expectations; enhancing consumer awareness of their data rights; and the increasingly high stakes of data security mishaps. Self-service provisioning portals automate data provisioning using predefined “scripts”. Constant redundancy procedures now ensure data resiliency. Quicker salvage procedures recover the “last good copy” of data in minutes, minimizing risks when technological glitches occur.

A cap-abilities approach to development is premised on the establishment of an enabling environment that allows every human to enjoy long life, wellbeing and, the prospect of creative expression. This is not the same as the pure pursuit of material and financial wealth. With a cap-abilities focus in mind, the wealth of nations become the humans who trespass the fringes of knowledge – the people who create novel products and ideas that are valued in one or more cultural setting. Ideas in themselves are not the sources of wealth. They are quickly overturned. The wealth of nations is the people who abandon forlorn tools and the techniques and craft fresh constellations of beliefs and practices. Evolution by natural selection has given way to evolution by intelligent design.

Everywhere humans are struggling for lives that are worthy of human dignity. Measures of GDP alone have not always impacted the quality of people’s lives. Neither have measures of national prosperity been able to console those who dwell in conditions characterized by scarcity and inequality. The COVID-19 transition towards digital economies is a portal to value-added fairness, equity, and new forms of inclusive capitalism.  In this vein, there can be no strategic plan outside the digital line of attack.