The Record - Issue 14: Autumn 2019

120 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om citizen services Transforming F E ATUR E W e are now well aware millennial and Generation Z have different expecta- tions to their parents. With globali- sation and the democratisation of knowledge, enabled by the internet and mobile devices, the average citizen is consuming services of all kinds in an entirely new way. From renewing your car tax from your phone and having a video chat with your doctor, we now expect to access healthcare, government and educational services in a simi- larly convenient way, and artificial intelligence (AI) is often the solution to providing it. However, the public sector is facing many chal- lenges in the pursuit of these new services. “Governmental organisations have to ask many questions in order to meet the demand of their citizens: how do we provide quality services as budgets keep shrinking?” says Kirk Arthur, senior director of worldwide government at Microsoft. “How do we address major societal problems such as aging workforces? How do we connect agencies while ensuring data is secure? And how do we keep our citizens, communities, and countries safe and protected? “While this juggling act can be exhausting and overwhelming, it also has the potential to be excit- ing. Government organisations have an ability like never before to do more with less, deeply con- nect with citizens in powerful ways and empower government employees to be more efficient.” According to Arthur, legacy and disparate IT systems are the main cause of issues in the gov- ernmental sector. “These agencies have to find a way to manage an overwhelming volume of data, but the multitude of disparate systems are com- pounding this problem,” he says. “Modern tech- nology can greatly enhance government services by connecting systems, providing rich analytical insights and streamlining efficiencies.” The other major IT challenge at the forefront of government is cybersecurity. “In maintaining antiquated computer systems, governments are spending vast amounts of time trying to secure them, which can ultimately expose sensitive information and put the systems at risk,” Arthur explains. “Leveraging modern technology, especially cloud computing and AI, provides governments with an opportunity to not only BY E L LY YAT E S - ROB E R T S Government organisations, education institutions and healthcare providers are increasingly recognising that, in order to meet the needs of citizens, they need to free themselves of incumbent technology and invest in modern solutions underpinned by artificial intelligence with AI