Gov agencies ‘underutilising’ digital process solutions despite pandemic push

Digitalisation documents government

Australian Government agencies are still at the beginning stages of their digital transformation journeys for document handling and processing despite the rapid digital pivots achieved during Covid, according to the latest research from cloud software developer Adobe.

According to the survey, which looked at the digitalisation of document processes and adoption of eSignatures, 68 per cent of respondents said that a lack of technology and tools had impacted employee productivity, while more than half (58 per cent) admitted having difficulty maintaining security and confidentiality.

The study, Digital Trust in Australia: Reduce Security Risks and Deliver Superior Citizen Experiences with Digital Document Processes, conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Adobe, confirmed that although the pandemic forced local agencies to accelerate their digital initiatives, most of them continued to use a hybrid approach of paper-based and digital documents.

Only 14 per cent of respondents said they had entirely digitised their document processes, with most continuing to use a variety of workflows.

The underutilisation of digital document process solutions by Government agencies was also found to have negatively impacted both citizens and employees, according to the survey.

At the same time, however, agencies were forced to shift their approach towards workflow digitalisation, as a result bringing down barriers to the adoption of digital document process technologies such as eSignatures.

Pre-pandemic, more than half (56 per cent) of respondents had expressed their concerns around the challenges of integrating eSignatures within day-to-day productivity applications; this has since fallen to just 18 per cent.

According to Adobe director of digital media B2B Strategy and GTM, Asia Pacific, Chandra Sinnathamby, the expansion of digital services, while at the same time preserving citizen trust, is one of the biggest challenges facing government agencies today.

“This calls for the adoption of solutions that easily digitise workflow processes while ensuring cyber resiliency,” he said.

“Digital adoption can meet the need for mobility, scalability, and auditability in government agencies. Hence, it is crucial for government agencies to develop a humanised approach to digital transformation.”

Australian Government agencies are increasing their investment in the digitisation of documentation, with top priorities over the next 12 months including:

  • Improving the use of data for decision-making (70 per cent)
  • To accelerate the response to market change (64 per cent)
  • Shift to being a digital government for IT modernisation (62 per cent)
  • Improving overall risk management, including data security and privacy (62 per cent)

According to Adobe’s report, agencies should approach digital document process solutions as a broader, general-purpose technology and only as a part of a “bigger transformation agenda”. The report emphasised a need to modernise legacy technologies and adopt a cloud-based approach to ensure seamless integration of new technologies.

“To continue to create trust among parties and to support compliance, it is important government agencies are collaborating with partners that offer identity authentication and signature services.

“This is the best way to future-proof an agency with more interactive documents infused with structured data for the long run.”