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Government discovers digital transformation

The Government has announced a Digital Transformation Office (DTO) within the Department of Communications.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, in a joint announcement in the shadow of the Australia Day long weekend, have propelled the Australian Government into the Internet era.

They say that its role is to ensure “government services can be delivered digitally from start to finish and better serve the needs of citizens and businesses.” What exactly have they been doing, one wonders, in the nearly quarter of century since email become commonplace?

“The DTO will comprise a small team of developers, designers, researchers and content specialists working across government to develop and coordinate the delivery of digital services. The DTO will operate more like a start-up than a traditional government agency, focussing on end-user needs in developing digital services.”

Wow! The Government has discovered the concept of the skunk works!

“The DTO will use technology to make services simpler, clearer and faster for Australian families and businesses.

“People need to be able to transact services and access information anytime, anywhere. Like any other service industry, government should design its services in the most user friendly way. Interacting with government should be as easy as Internet banking or ordering a taxi through an app.” So long as it is a government approved taxi service, presumably.

The Government’s announcements says that one of the DTO’s first tasks will be to ensure people no longer have to complete separate log on processes for each government service. “Instead, people should have a ‘digital identity’, which they can use to log in to each of their services across the Government.”

We are also told that the DTO will “work closely with State and Territory Governments to identify opportunities for collaboration, including ways to make better use of myGov.”

But wait, there’s more: “The Government is committed to protecting the personal information it holds about individuals and businesses. Maintaining the security and privacy of personal information is a vital consideration for the DTO.”

Ah yes. Security and privacy. It’s a good thing the Government can be trusted with such matters.

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.