February 2, 2023
Director, Public Policy, Workday
In the ever-changing, highly-digital world, the adoption of new digital technology is an ongoing necessity for both the private and public sectors. At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural Digital Transformation Summit, Chandler Morse, Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Workday, discussed the challenges and opportunities of digitally transforming how governments provide services. Here’s what he shared during his keynote address.
The Private and Public Sectors Must Invest in the Future of Technology
There are a few key areas where the private sector can enhance its partnership with the public sector, Morse explained.
“GAO estimated that we spend about $100 billion on IT every year, and about 80% of that is associated with legacy technology — some of it clocking in at over 51 years old,” said Morse. “We are literally investing in the past when we need to be investing in the future.”
According to Morse, Congress and previous administrations have been studying and documenting these challenges over the last several years.
“The Biden administration and certainly the GSA … should be applauded for their significant investment in the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF),” he said. “Unfortunately, due to this sheer size of the challenge, it's unlikely that even the current TMF funding level will be sufficient to meet the demands for the federal agencies.”
“The TMF has supported dozens of federal agency efforts to enhance cybersecurity posture, improve digital government services, and address key IT infrastructure needs,” Morse continued. “In addition, the Biden administration has made a clear priority to improve digital government services and customer experience by making it more intuitive, accessible, and secure — not only for public sector employees but for the American taxpayer.”
A Strong Workforce Is Crucial to Achieving Digital Transformation
Without a skilled workforce that can support digital transformation, modernization will remain a challenge in both the private and public sectors.
“Many congressional and administration priorities could be jumpstarted by modernization, and some may not be possible if we can't find a way to use technology to work faster, gather insights, and measure for success,” said Morse. “In addition, we applaud those that are helping to advance creative initiatives and modernize legacy technologies through promoting and leveraging the shared services model.”
Morse added that “digital transformation's not simply about upgrading legacy technology.”
“While it's certainly a factor, no agency or organization can successfully modernize without a strong workforce,” he said.
Morse noted that in the public sector, the federal, state, and local governments each face challenges with attracting and retaining personnel.
“At all levels of government, agencies are facing long hiring cycles, high turnover, and are having to seek creative solutions in uncertain budget climates to really try to balance efficiency without sacrificing employee satisfaction,” he explained.
Because of the pandemic, these issues have become even more alarming.
“The Biden administration has made strengthening and empowering the federal workforce the top priority of the president's management agenda,” he continued. “With the recent release of skills-based hiring guidance, the administration has also recognized the importance of a skills-based approach to recruiting and gaining federal talent.”
Without the right skills and ability to adapt to new technologies, digital transformation will be unable to come to fruition. The workforce must be equipped to advance with technology.