Last post, we discussed building security and trust in government. Today, we highlight the new outlook for government, according to first-hand perspective from public sector officials. Continue to follow along here with our blog series #GovernmentNow and #PublicSectorNow.

Over these past difficult months we have come to depend on government more than ever before. We have relied on government to navigate unprecedented health and economic challenges and to maintain services to our vulnerable communities and businesses heavily exposed to the devastating consequences of COVID-19.

Government has had to maintain business continuity through it all and respond to new health and economic data that changes by the day. During this period government has had to revisit how some of its most core functions and services are delivered, opening the door to new digital technology capabilities that will permanently change our world. 

Government is operating in a new environment that will deliver permanent change

A group of 20 government executives joined Cisco’s third public sector roundtable event (following similar events for education and health executives). They shared lessons and insights from the COVID-19 response, including:

  • Australia Post having to stand up 15 new distribution centres nationally to cope with pre-Christmas levels of volumes for package deliveries, as well as changing processes to allow digital signatures and photographic proof of delivery
  • The Digital Transformation Agency which used an agile approach to developing the COVID safe application to assist with contact tracing
  • NZ Police which performed a lead agency role for the country in responding to COVID. NZ Police scaled up its Cisco Webex capability to enable daily stand-ups, all hands briefings and multi-agency operations
  • The Department of Premier and Cabinet in Victoria which, like all agencies, needed to transition quickly to secure remote working and enable remote participation in the newly formed National Cabinet (also powered by Cisco Webex)

All of this has occurred under intense scrutiny that comes with being in the public service and knowing that the economic and health fate of many people sit in the hands of government.  It was reassuring to hear that many of the short-term necessitated by COVID-19 workarounds – many of them enabled by digital technology – will become permanent.

How do you think governments and public sector organizations will change? Comment below. Share your thoughts. Join the conversation. And keep an eye out for our next #GovernmentNow and #PublicSectorNow posts.


Reg Johnson

General Manager, Education

Cisco Australia and New Zealand