85% of Australian government workers impacted by tech initiatives

Photo by Jeremy Osman

The implementation of new technologies and digital tools is reshaping Australia’s public sector, with new research showing 85% of government workers surveyed had recently experienced a digital initiative being implemented within their department or agency.

A survey of 425 Australian government workers undertaken by Appian, a software company that automates organisational processes, found that  most government workers believe that their agency’s own digital transformation projects have had positive impacts on the public, with 63% of those surveyed saying that the adoption of new technologies had made government services more accessible to citizens.

“Making government services accessible to citizens is a critical function of the public sector. Through innovative technologies like automation, AI, and user-friendly digital platforms, government bodies can streamline processes, reduce complexities, and ensure that their services are more readily available to all citizens, regardless of their location or background. This is not just about convenience; it’s about empowering citizens and enhancing the democratic process,” said Luke Thomas, Area Vice President Asia Pacific & Japan at Appian.

Positively, the introduction of new technologies within government departments and agencies has led to better organisational communication, with 64% of workers experiencing improved collaboration following new solutions being deployed.

However, contrary to any belief that the digitisation of traditional work processes would ease workloads of government employees, a vast majority of public sector workers reported their daily workloads had either increased (47%) or remained at the same level (43%) since the introduction of new digital processes.

Data silos were identified as a significant issue in the Australian public sector, with a majority of government workers reporting that data accessibility was a problem in their workplace. Alarmingly, only 11% of public sector employees said that they did not have issues with accessing the data they needed in their roles.

This issue has led to 33% of government workers saying that they often had to undertake tasks without all the data they required, due to inaccessible information within their department or agency.

“Data silos in the public sector pose significant challenges. Without a unified view of data, government workers can struggle to make informed decisions, negatively impacting their efficiency and effectiveness,” said Luke.

“Moreover, these silos create barriers to collaboration, preventing different departments and agencies from working together seamlessly. Breaking down these silos is essential to improve public service delivery, enhance collaboration, and ultimately serve the community better.”

Appian research also showed that while Artificial Intelligence (AI) has created headlines recently, it has not translated to the deployment of these solutions in the public sector, with 74% of government workers saying that they never or very rarely used AI in their current role.

This correlates with low levels of confidence that government workers have in using AI to support their daily tasks, where only 14% of workers expressed strong levels of confidence in using such tools.

“While the utilisation of AI within government spaces is currently at low levels, it is expected that this situation will change over coming years. To harness the full potential of AI, it’s imperative that government bodies educate their workforces on new tools as these are introduced. This will not only increase the adoption of AI technologies but also ensure that these tools are used responsibly and effectively, enhancing public service delivery and decision-making processes,” concluded Luke.