A new survey released today from the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers (NASACT) and Deloitte shows that state auditors aren’t thrilled with how their organizations are managing their digital strategy. Data shows that governments are spending more on digital transformation, but only 35 percent of state auditors think it is working – that number represents a drop of 29 points from the last survey conducted in 2015. Additionally, less than half of respondents stated they have a clear and coherent digital strategy.
Most, but not all, respondents reported having a digital strategy and believe that there is more that needs to be done. Three out of four comptrollers report feeling that they lag behind the private sector in digital.
Technologies that appear to be underutilized include automation and analytics. Only 29 percent indicated that robotic process automation (RPA) was a possible area of investment in their organizations. RPA is a type of automation that doesn’t require a large scale implementation, but report findings show that many organizations are still learning about the nuances of automation and machine learning and may not be aware of the nuance. In terms of more advanced technologies, only 11 percent of organizations reported broad use of automation and cognitive technologies.
Failure to understand and implement analytics and automation is likely to have a significant impact on government labor in the near term. The report notes that government organizations could save a significant number of man-hours and also improve auditing processes with better use of technology. This expectation of greater use of automation was borne out by survey results: 88 percent of the respondents agreed that greater automated sampling was needed, while only 3 percent disagreed.
“The expectations for digital strategies and opportunities are clearly increasing for all organizations, including governments,” said Clark Partridge, state comptroller of Arizona and president-elect of NASACT of the survey. “As we expand our understanding, we can appropriately identify opportunities to leverage technology to re-engineer our processes and enhance the capacity of our workforce.”
Respondents in the survey suggested that the best way to deal with these issues is to improve skills training and hiring within their organizations. Around 48 percent of respondents believe their employees do not have sufficient skills to execute digital strategy, and 49 percent lacked the skills for automation and cognitive technologies. By addressing the skills gap, NASACT organizations suggest that it will be easier to implement an up-to-date digital strategy and manage resources wisely.