Estimated reading time: 2 minute
Public Sector Industry Viewpoints
The public sector is facing a series of profound challenges—many of which are unprecedented in human history.
Our global population is booming, and everywhere, people are flooding into already overcrowded cities. Meanwhile, climate change is accelerating, and its effects are being felt across the globe—from rising sea levels to drought, famine, and natural disaster.
"It is expected that 70 percent of the world's population will be urban by 2050, and that most urban growth will occur in less-developed countries." —Population Reference Bureau
Citizens will look to their governments for a response. The public sector must create the civic infrastructure to handle massive urban population growth, drive economic development, and build the smart, safe, sustainable cities of the future.
But the public sector's remit is broader still. Job creation remains a major goal for practically every political official, while education must transform to adequately prepare today's students for the careers of the future. Likewise, healthcare must modernize to deliver exceptional patient care, while nations, states, and cities are under constant pressure to compete with one another for businesses, residents, tourists—and the revenues they bring.
Above all else, demand for exceptional, digital-first citizen services is forcing the public sector to modernize or fall behind, with a global, smartphone-enabled populace seeking new ways to interact with governments. But everywhere, it's a familiar story: Flat or declining budgets mean the public sector must strive to do more with less.
In this ebook, we'll explore how urbanization and population growth are increasing pressure on the public sector, and how the emergence of smart cities and smart governments will help to enhance resource efficiency. We'll discuss how technology is helping the public sector keep citizens safe in the face of climate change, natural disasters, and other threats, and how cloud is becoming integral to the smart, resilient governments of tomorrow.
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Urbanization and Population Growth
As of December 2017, the world's population had reached 7.6 billion people. By the turn of the century, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that this number will grow to 11.8 billion.
Some experts suggest that the planet's carrying capacity—the number of human beings it can effectively sustain—has already been surpassed. It's clear that such a vast number of global citizens will put the planet's resources—and human infrastructure—under incredible strain. Across the globe, the public sector is under enormous pressure to respond.
To complicate matters further, the global population is increasingly gravitating toward cities. According to the UN, more than half of the world's population currently live in cities, and by 2050, it will be two-thirds.
"Today, 54 percent of the world's population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 66 percent by 2050. Projections show that urbanization combined with the overall growth of the world's population could add another 2.5 billion people to urban populations by 2050." —United Nations, July 2014
This influx of new citizens will put civic infrastructure under increasing strain. Many modern cities are choked with traffic and strangled by pollution, with many citizens living in cramped, unsafe, and uncomfortable conditions. How can we possibly cope with an average 12 percent increase in urban populations? The answers exist. Many experts point out that we aren't necessarily running out of space and resources, but it's now imperative that we use what we have more efficiently.
"It is not the number of people on the planet that is the issue, but the number of consumers—and the scale and nature of their consumption." —David Satterthwaite, Senior Fellow, International Institute for Environment and Development
The goal of smart cities and smart governments is to deliver exactly this kind of efficiency—enabling sustainable growth, increasing resilience in the face of climate change and natural disaster, and streamlining infrastructure to cope with an ever-growing population.
But there's another imperative for the public sector to modernize. The rise of "digital natives"—tech-savvy millennials used to digital, consumerlike experiences in every aspect of their lives—is increasing demand for intuitive, digital, front- and back-office services. Even in less economically developed countries and nonurban areas, smartphones are becoming the predominant means by which citizens interact with governments. The public sector has little choice but to offer these exceptional citizen experiences, and do so cost-effectively.
Government Embraces Next-Gen Citizen Services with ChatbotsRead more
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Smart Governments, Smart Cities
Smart cities overseen by smart governments are the future of the public sector. A raft of new technologies—including the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, and analytics—allows us to reimagine what our towns and cities might look like, and reinvent how people live.
"The concept of smart cities is the gold standard for municipalities going forward. It represents solutions to the age-old challenge of how to continually improve service and get the most out of public assets while controlling expenses." —Joel Cherkis, Global Vice President, Infrastructure, Government, Education, and Health, Oracle
From governments, citizens, and streets to transportation, power, and sanitation, every process and object can be connected, with data captured and analyzed. Using the insights these connected systems provide, smart governments will have unprecedented power to improve citizen experiences.
Smart government is about thinking differently, using the insights provided by data analytics to make intelligent, informed decisions. Speaking to Linda Currey Post for Forbes magazine, Joel Cherkis explains:
"Traditionally, when crime rates go up, cities hire more police. But when analytics reveal that crime in a particular neighborhood is increasing at night, modern solutions can include incorporating smart street-lighting systems and keeping them in good repair."
Information derived from analytical data can facilitate intelligent solutions—helping public sector organizations develop successful, cost-effective responses to complex civic challenges.
Job creation is a key goal and a top priority for practically every government official. Jobs create the revenue governments need to deliver citizen and business services, while thriving job markets help make cities, towns, and nations attractive places to live.
Smart-city projects are engines for job creation. The IT infrastructure needed to make smart cities a reality will require thousands of new IT professionals, while the civic infrastructure upgrades smart cities encourage will create similar numbers of both blue- and white-collar jobs. Meanwhile, new digital technologies offer an opportunity to enhance productivity, effectiveness, safety, and accountability.
"A 1 percent increase in digitalization equates to a 0.5 percent gain in gross domestic product (GDP)." —Accenture, "Digital at Depth for Government Innovation"
Detroit is a great example of how smart-city initiatives can regenerate an area. The former Motor City has passed through a period of retrenchment, and is now thriving thanks to efficient, effective public transportation links, repurposed and reinvigorated public spaces (such as urban farms that provide city residents with fresh produce), and a citywide spirit of innovation. A city that once relied on the motor industry for employment is enjoying a new era of job creation—using analytics and financial and information technology to create online business processes that provide the structure and transparency to leave municipal bankruptcy behind.
While overcrowding may bring its own challenges, an influx of residents, tourists, and businesses also brings revenue to urban centers. For that reason, nations, states, and cities must compete with one another for new arrivals. Attracting visitors and citizens is about becoming a desirable place to live, work, and play. And in today's world, that means adopting both business-friendly processes and exceptional citizen experiences.
By becoming a smart city and embracing technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and IoT, locations can enhance citizens' quality of life—streamlining interaction between individuals and public sector services, encouraging a vibrant private sector, and enhancing civic infrastructure.
The war for talent.
Governments aren't just competing for new arrivals. There's a growing war for talent across the public sector, with many current government employees now approaching retirement age.
This aging workforce often lacks the digital skills needed to implement enhanced, consumerlike citizen experiences. The public sector must find talented replacements quickly if valuable institutional experience is to be retained, or work fast to reskill existing staff. New digital technologies and knowledge-management capabilities provide an opportunity to quickly and cost-effectively reskill the workforce, and make the public sector an attractive place for younger workers.
Education is under pressure to transform, too. Higher education is now home to a more diverse student demographic than ever, and faces the considerable challenge of preparing students for future careers that may not yet exist.
"The sector must modernize and adapt, in order to provide children and students with the skills they will need as part of a modern workforce." —Andy Hill, Commercial Director, EMEA, Legrand
Like a thriving private sector and a healthy job market, a strong standard of education helps establish areas as attractive places to live. But governments must ensure that the same strong standard of education is applied consistently across states or countries. This means assessing and adopting the latest technology-driven teaching methods, as well as modern integration and admission procedures to support a global pool of candidates and students.
Find, Select, and Hire the Best TalentRead more
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Safety and Resilience
Part of the public sector's remit is to maintain citizen safety so people and businesses can thrive. That means making cities, states, and countries as safe and resilient as possible—safe from crime, safe from emergency, and resilient to climate change and natural disaster.
Digital technologies have a significant role to play in achieving these aims. In a smart city, connected lighting systems can be used to better protect citizens in areas with high crime rates. Proactive road maintenance and smart highways can help to reduce accidents, ease congestion, and minimize pollution. And video surveillance can monitor the movements of both citizens and emergency responders in the event of any incident. In each of these examples, AI, IoT, machine learning, and analytics provide governments with the insights they need to protect their citizens more effectively. IoT sensors are finding their way into all kinds of connected objects, from street lights to road surfaces—even buildings and monuments. These sensors monitor everything from air pollution levels to hazardous gases, and even the proximity of gunshots.
Climate change and natural disasters.
Unfortunately, the public sector now faces unprecedented climatic challenges. Rapid, man-made climate change is having a profound effect on global weather systems, and these sudden changes have led to increasingly prevalent natural disasters—as recently evidenced by the highly destructive 2017 Atlantic hurricane season.
"More uncertain—but possible—outcomes of an increase in global temperatures include increased risk of drought and increased intensity of storms, including tropical cyclones with higher wind speeds, a wetter Asian monsoon, and, possibly, more intense midlatitude storms." —NASA Earth Observatory: "The Impact of Climate Change on Natural Disasters"
From droughts to floods, and hurricanes to blizzards, the effects of climate change threaten the public, infrastructure, and property. The world's cities must develop the ability to respond to these threats, and recover at greater speeds—particularly coastal cities, where rising sea levels pose additional risk. Buenos Aires is one such city. Sitting on the confluence of the Atlantic Ocean and the Rio de la Plata—the world's widest river—Buenos Aires regularly floods, and this situation will only worsen as global sea levels rise.
"Buenos Aires is installing a vast network of sensors across its underground storm drainage system. The sensors record water levels and rainfall amounts and relay the information in real time back to city officials—creating an effective flood early-warning system." —Forbes: "AI and Other New Technologies Make 'Smart Cities' Even Smarter"
By adopting proactive intelligence, Buenos Aires is now in a position to anticipate and respond to flooding, helping to maintain public safety. Around the world, urban centers must adopt similar approaches in the face of climate change and natural disasters. Smart early-warning systems and connected emergency responders can help us better understand the threat posed by natural disasters, and become proactive rather than reactive—removing citizens from harm's way and mitigating the impact of a disaster.
"Oracle Business Intelligence Applications provide the foundation we need to efficiently manage the city's complex storm water and flood watch management systems. We now have real-time access to reliable information on a variety of subjects…which allows us to quickly respond to potentially hazardous situations and ensure the safety of city residents." —Rodrigo Silvosa, Undersecretary of Maintenance of Public Spaces, Ministry of Environment and Public Spaces, Ciudad de Buenos Aires
Resilience isn't just a case of enduring cataclysm or responding to disaster, however. In today's world, resilience means sustainability. Essential infrastructure services such as energy, transportation, and waste management must have the capacity and scalability to handle significant population spikes, and extend to nonurban areas to ensure inclusivity and drive business growth beyond city centers.
There's also a moral—and regulatory—imperative to adopt more sustainable practices across the public sector. The Paris Agreement, signed in April 2016, saw 195 nations commit to minimizing the scope and effect of climate change—and enhance resilience to it. For that reason, new civic infrastructure must be environmentally sustainable as well as effectively future-proof.
"The Paris Agreement requires all Parties to put forward their best efforts through 'nationally determined contributions' (NDCs) and to strengthen these efforts in the years ahead. This includes requirements that all Parties report regularly on their emissions and on their implementation efforts." —United Nations
By investing in agile operations, governments can create smart, modern infrastructure that's ready for the future.
Health and social services.
Creating safe, attractive places to live and work means modernizing health and social services, too. Across the globe, populations are aging, and chronic diseases are becoming more prevalent. Demand for healthcare has never been higher, nor access to it more challenging. The public sector must modernize rapidly to provide easy access to self-service healthcare, allowing patients to use remote appointment booking, diagnosis, and treatment advice services, regardless of their location.
Digital technologies are changing how healthcare can be delivered and consumed—so, too, how governments communicate with their citizens. Public sector apps can help to share updates on health warnings, and provide easy access to food programs. IoT can be used to deliver personalized care—through medical implants, wearables, and other sensors. And chronic illness protocols can be automated and easily communicated to constituents. But above all, a citizen-centric mindset must be adopted:
"Agencies should consider the example of customer-centered organizations that use multichannel touchpoints, customer and product segmentation, targeted promotions, and self-service options." —GovTech: "Five Trends Driving the Future of Human Services"
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Cloud Is the Destination
Cloud is the heartbeat of the smart city. To embed AI, IoT, machine learning, and analytics in public sector processes—and to deliver exceptional citizen experiences—a scalable, flexible, secure cloud platform is required.
There's a recognition of the value of cloud to the public sector. Governments at national, state, and local levels are keen to modernize and future-proof their technological infrastructure, with existing systems often decades old. Aging IT infrastructure is not only susceptible to cyberattack and often incapable of delivering the performance and functionality the public sector requires, it's also difficult and expensive to maintain. Many of those with the skills to update, repair, and maintain legacy IT systems are now reaching retirement age—if they haven't retired already. Modernization is an unavoidable imperative.
Why cloud migration?
Public sector services must remain active in the event of any incident—be it a case of natural disaster, terrorist attack, or any other unforeseen occurrence. On-premises hardware can be seen as a weak link, with physical infrastructure susceptible to damage in the event of any major incident. The cloud delivers the durability and recoverability cities need to bring essential services back online in the event of disaster.
IoT sensors can be used to detect issues, and respond with greater precision and timeliness—as seen with Buenos Aires' groundbreaking flood defense system. Machine learning, meanwhile, is capable of mining data insights to predict when and if an event might occur.
Future-proofing and cost efficiency.
The complexity of legacy public sector IT systems can make modernization a major challenge. However, by moving to the cloud, governments can significantly reduce the cost and administrative burden of maintaining legacy hardware, and adopt future-proof IT that can scale with their needs.
Moving to the cloud will help to ensure the protection of citizen data in a future that's both increasingly connected and increasingly under threat. For the public sector, back-office agility will enable front-end innovation, helping deliver exceptional citizen experiences. In addition, machine learning presents an opportunity for fast, affordable, continuous IT improvement—identifying performance inefficiencies and addressing them without the need for human intervention.
"For the first time, most consumers have access to better technology than employees from public sector organizations…digital natives are growing less tolerant of these 'old technology' experiences." —Joel Cherkis, Global Vice President, Infrastructure, Government, Education, and Health, Oracle
Achieving more with less.
Governments and public sector organizations must increasingly achieve more with less. Digital transformation through cloud adoption helps to deliver cheaper, more-efficient ways to serve the public and keep services running smoothly. Often, the very processes that save the public sector money also deliver new and improved citizen experiences. For example, a chatbot capable of answering queries about refuse collection, recycling, or public transportation would give citizens the answers they need quickly and intuitively, while saving government employees valuable time. Automating these mundane, repetitive tasks can save a lot of money, and improve workforce efficiency.
"Chatbots and other technology using AI can give citizens…an effective means of communication and increased engagement with governmental agencies in an ever-connected world." —Franco Amalfi, Director of Innovation, Public Sector, North America
To attract businesses, tourists, and residents, destinations need to modernize and provide great citizen experiences. To do this, governments at state, county, and local levels must embrace digital technologies.
The city of Las Vegas is delivering digital citizen services using Oracle Mobile Application Framework. Citizens and visitors now have a simple, compelling way to interact with the city using their mobile devices, while city employees can experience enhanced productivity and reduced call-center costs.
Intuitive, reliable, cloud-enabled, self-service apps will help to make public sector interactions quick and easy, while automation will ensure that the needs and concerns of citizens and businesses are addressed as rapidly as possible. Automation also provides the transparency needed to foster trust and accountability between the private sector and government. For individuals, integrating a new generation of connected citizens with existing processes will allow for personalized engagement and near real-time insights—helping to make countries, states, and cities safe, enjoyable places to live and visit. Cloud gives the public sector the opportunity to reduce the cost of engagement—and deliver enhanced constituent experiences.
IoT sensors create huge quantities of data. The ability to analyze this data effectively is of enormous value to the public sector. The insights gleaned through data analysis will help governments predict things like traffic jams, human and IT resource shortages, and natural disaster threats, and anticipate or respond to them in a timely, efficient manner.
The time has come for the public sector to embrace the flexibility, scalability, and security of the cloud. The benefits are clear: cloud helps public sector organizations prepare for an uncertain future, become more resilient and cost efficient, and deliver exceptional citizen and business experiences to compete with other geographies.
With the right cloud strategy in place, public sector organizations can face the challenges of tomorrow with confidence.
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
The Latest News and Updates
The public sector faces a period of significant change. To confront the latest challenges with current technological innovations, you'll need all the insights and information available to you. But it's impossible to read everything. That's why we've curated a selection of news and updates on all things public sector—from the latest trends in smart cities to cloud adoption tips and the role of chatbots.
Smart cities at a smart price.
It's reasonable to assume that the connected citizen experiences offered by smart cities are far from cheap to achieve. However, argues Oracle's Joel Cherkis, technologies such as AI, IoT, and the cloud allow city managers to make the best use of the limited resources available to them, and improve the lives of their citizens. Read this article and find out how smart cities are getting smarter for less.
New technologies make smart cities even smarter.
Digital technologies are integral to smart-city projects. In this article, Oracle's Linda Currey Post explores some of the technologies driving the smart-city movement, and examines several real-world examples where such technologies have had a tangible impact on the lives of connected citizens in cities around the globe.
Blockchain: a major engine of change.
The disruptive influence of blockchain is difficult to overstate. And it's not just financial services that will be affected—practically every industry will be impacted by the technology currently underpinning cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. In this article, Oracle's Michael Hickins explores the wide-ranging impact of blockchain across the public sector and beyond.
The latest from the blog.
Check out the Oracle public sector blog for more news and views on cloud, digital transformation, and the future of the public sector from Oracle's industry experts.
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Delivering superior candidate experiences.
UK-based Brent Council had a problem: Its existing recruitment solution was growing quickly outdated. The old solution offered no integration with the council's HR system—resulting in limited reporting and a poor candidate experience.
Upon adopting Oracle Human Capital Management Cloud, Brent Council reduced the average time to recruit by two days, and streamlined the application process to enhance the candidate experience.
"With Oracle Human Capital Management Cloud, we have improved our entire recruitment and onboarding processes for hiring managers, the recruitment team, and candidates. We have streamlined our procedures, improved reporting, and reduced costs and time to hire." —Vik Kapoor, Payroll, Pensions, Recruitment, and Management Information Manager, Brent Council
A paperless solution to public sector problems.
The sidewalks of Buenos Aires were deteriorating. The infrastructure programs of public utility companies were causing significant damage, and the Environmental Ministry had no tools with which to track what these companies were doing.
Enter Oracle Field Service Cloud. "We have been able to monitor and control in real time our inspectors, eliminating paper and spreadsheets with a mobile solution," says Joaquín Bruzoni, managing director, Environmental Ministry and Public Space.
"As a result of the implementation of Oracle Field Service Cloud, we've reduced the time of planification from days to minutes." —Joaquín Bruzoni, Managing Director, Environmental Ministry and Public Space
Family Assist: a digital advice service, powered by Oracle.
West Sussex County Council, Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust have a new system to help parents get the information they need. Powered by Oracle, Family Assist is a digital service providing professional advice for new mothers, fathers, and their families throughout pregnancy and childhood.
"Family Assist enables families to sign up for the service at point of pregnancy, and get the information that's pertinent at each stage of pregnancy," says consultant midwife Kelly Pierce. "By raising a question through Family Assist, it enables parents, first of all, to self-serve the information themselves, and if not, then a healthcare professional will be on the end of that inquiry to answer that concern."
"Using Family Assist to message a midwife, you get your answer straight away—literally into the palm of your hand." —Ed Cosgrove, Parent
Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud keeps pace with ever-changing needs.
With ever-changing planning and reporting needs, Main Roads Western Australia needed a cloud solution with flexibility to match. Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service was the perfect response.
"Oracle Cloud ensures we are always up to date and can quickly take advantage of new features. Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service has given the finance team the ability to quickly respond to ever-changing reporting and planning needs with minimal IT involvement." —Damien Kelly, Project Manager, Financial Performance, Main Roads Western Australia
Oakland: becoming a cloud city.
Oakland, California, is a thriving, diverse city currently enjoying rapid job growth and low unemployment rates. Despite all of this, the city faced familiar problems. Its existing IT systems were growing increasingly outdated, impeding a move to cloud.
"Citizens are asking for information at their fingertips. Cities like Oakland need to utilize the cloud to create open, transparent government and start on the path to becoming smart cities." —Katano Kasaine, Treasurer and Interim CIO, City of Oakland
By upgrading to Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service, the City of Oakland now has an intuitive, self-service system that has boosted productivity and reduced the time taken to create reports.
"Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service is relatively small and contained, while still touched by all parts of the system, so it became a great candidate for our move to the cloud." —Lawson James, Independent Project Manager, Horizon Projects Consulting