Navigating Innovation in Government Operations: Lessons from DigiGov Leaders Forum 2024


Emerging technologies hold enormous potential for governments, offering a world of possibilities to streamline operations and enhance service delivery. Yet exploiting these innovative solutions presents a wide range of challenges that public sector organisations must constantly navigate. This formed the central theme of discussions at the SAP session during the DigiGov Leaders Forum 2024, a gathering of thought leaders, policymakers, and digitisation trailblazers to discuss fostering innovation in the public service sector.

The consensus emerged: the secret to modernising government operations lies in small, incremental innovations.

During an engaging session led by SAP experts, participants delved into the idea of incremental innovation, involving improvements to existing services, products, processes, or methodologies. This approach offers an economical, manageable, and lower-risk strategy to boost service quality, without dramatically destabilising current systems.

The conversation also highlighted key hurdles stymieing innovation and explored potential strategies to jumpstart innovation within the public service space. Intriguingly, issues like technical debt, limited availability of skilled resources, policy constraints, inadequate technical prowess, insufficient budget, and employee reluctancy to change were identified as common impediments.

The discussion illuminated the potential of cloud-based service models as a means to circumnavigate these hurdles. The shift to cloud-based platforms like SAP facilitates a cycle of ongoing improvement through incremental innovation. Customers grappling with updates due to intricate customisations or high perceived costs stand to gain substantially from this transition.

Once operations are on the cloud, the system can be constantly upgraded, fostering an environment conducive to consistent innovation. This model ensures swift adaptability in the face of policy shifts, unanticipated crisis situations like the COVID-19 pandemic, or rapidly evolving trends.

The focus turned next to the potential of analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to boost operational efficiency within cloud-based ERP systems. While such advancements could radically alter engagements between an organisation and its personnel or customers, the leaders recognised the associated data security risk, emphasising the pressing need for firm safeguard measures.

Still, the benefits are compelling. The session culminated with an inspiring case study from Hamburg, Germany. Here, a centralised SAP Business Technology Platform was established in just three weeks, enabling the rapid disbursement of 2.5 billion Euros in COVID-19 Cultural Aid – thereby saving between 13,000 and 33,000 hours of manual processing annually!

In summary, technology upgrades or cloud transition shouldn’t be viewed as end goals but as catalysts for continuous, incremental innovation. Such change management strategies should be the north star for government organisations aiming to deliver higher quality and value in public services. With AI and cloud-based service models, this attainable transformation could soon be a reality.

Three key insights from this insightful forum: Transition mindsets to align business with the IT model, empower IT to achieve more via automation, and embrace systems like cloud ERP and Business AI. These steps help ensure an unwavering commitment to progressive change, utilising technology to amplify efficiencies and stimulate innovation in public service delivery.

For more information and other trends in ERP as a path to iterate capability uplift and innovation please read further here.