SOCIETY | Jun 1, 2017

Digital Transformation in PA starts with training

Interview with Stefania Papili, head of the Emilia-Romagna Regional ICT Service.

Digital Transformation in PA is first of all an investment in digital skills that are useful in understanding the phenomenon and how it may affect not just technology but also processes. The cultural aspect is fundamental,  states  Stefania Papili, head of the Emilia-Romagna Regional ICT Service. For this reason, via the Spring project, we focused on learning new methodologies and creating new professional profiles rather than on the technological aspect.

The project’s goal, in collaboration with Engineering, is therefore to increase knowledge about  User Centred methodologies and design techniques,  UX-Agile development, Data Analytics strategies and techniques, as well as initiating a reflection on changes in terms of roles, organisational routines and work processes with respect to the Digital Transformation of ICT services. All of the former achieved by means of information and training sessions, case history analyses, coaching, tutorship and three work projects focused on:  portal  for communication and management of the regional digital agenda strategy,  digital workplace  for the smart working of the regional intranet and  digital system  for data visualisation and the accountability of public policies.

Which skills within the PA are to be strengthened to respond to this paradigm shift in digital services management? In the main will they be technical, scientific, or humanistic?

It is in fact about introducing new roles and skills, professions that are just beginning to emerge in the working world, not only in the PA but also in the private sector, and that are the outcome of recent university courses or who have been trained directly in the field, with multidisciplinary skills (the data scientist is an example) or specialisations in new areas, especially for the PA, such as DevOps and Agile design methods, cyber-security, the big data analytic, and business intelligence applications. All of this with a view to being applied to user-services that must become increasingly more personalised and multi-channel.

Who are the people involved in the skills development project?

All the people in the Development Area were involved in the entire process, but the initial and final stages of the journey were also shared with the managers of other ICT Service Areas (systems, infrastructures, workstations, identity management), specifically to promote greater transversality and sharing of the objectives and methodologies introduced.

How will the project proceed at the culmination of project work activities?

The objective is precisely to adapt the new trialled methodologies, both for internal development and for arranging supplier contracts, and to introduce a new model for analysis of the needs of the Organisation that goes beyond the technological aspects and understands how to interpret the needs associated with achieving the strategic goals of the Administration.

Which aspects and value attributed to the data did the project focus on?

During the project, great importance was given to the ability to collect, analyse, process, interpret, disseminate and display data for analytical, predictive or strategic purposes. Particular focus was placed on data visualisation and social sentiment analysis.

How possible and how useful is it to invest in data driven government in PA? How can this process be facilitated?

The digital revolution has exponentially increased the amount of data available, both structured as well as de-structured. Being able to manage and analyse this data, transforming it into knowledge, can also greatly enhance the PA’s decision-making and governmental capability. The regulatory and technological context has matured to the extent that makes the possibility of implementing a tangible one Decision Support System.

Even our Administration is showing great interest in these phenomena. The training course produced is directed toward creating both the cultural and technological skills that are essential conditions for Digital Transformation.