Dovel’s Digital First/Digital Smart™ Framework
22 Jul

Dovel’s Digital First/Digital Smart™ Framework

The direct and indirect impacts and implications of the pandemic have changed the priorities of the federal government leadership, forcing the reevaluation of digital transformation strategies and plans. These plans had an execution timeline for the next few years. Recent data shows that we have vaulted five years forward in business digital adoption since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Agencies are now racing to implement and embrace digital transformations that accelerate the adoption of new technologies; thus, agencies need to clearly understand where they currently stand, where they need to go, and then prepare a clear roadmap to implement their digital transformation successfully. The pandemic has highlighted bottlenecks and challenges across the entire federal government that impact business processes at all levels of their leadership, workforce, and many other dimensions.

It is this reason why Dovel proposes a Digital First/Digital Smart™ framework. Agencies need to quickly assess all planned and in-progress, strategy-driven initiatives while identifying new actions. They need to start mitigating risks and evaluating the performance in applications or services that were hastily deployed at the beginning of the pandemic by conducting extensive audits. They need to ensure secure access to sensitive data and encourage broader government data usage by citizen and ecosystem partners. Additionally, while having the right technology and processes in place is important, agencies also must fully embrace the change in perspective to fully realize the possibilities.

Agencies need to start implementing automation initiatives within their organization by using a combination of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and machine learning (ML) platforms that will help drive priorities based on speed to value delivery. Some agencies have already launched analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives in their operations. Their IT teams have delivered at a pace they have never done before. However, for most agencies, the changes to date represent only the tip of the iceberg of the changes that will be necessary. As more and more people work from home, utilizing government services should be just as easy as shopping online. Citizens want clear and simple language and expect to complete transactions (i.e. completing forms, apply for benefits, signing documents, etc.) via digital channels. Access to relevant services should be straightforward rather than having to go to multiple sites, reenter the same data, or even go in-person to government offices. Government agencies must have a clear roadmap to achieve full digitization of their services. When agencies are able to successfully implement digital transformation, they are more customer-centric, agile, and value-driven, our framework will help them achieve this.

Our framework uses strategic themes that underpin digital transformations:

  • Leadership Mentality – Agency leaders need to “buy-in” to the acceleration of digital transformation plans to enable the realignment of priorities to better support the mission, objectives, and overall strategy.
  • Human Capital – The agency has a clear workforce strategy vis-à-vis the changes happening during the pandemic (i.e., teleworking, social distancing, training, etc.).
  • Risk Management – The agency leaders’ ability to quickly assess and manage risks, focusing first on the potential threat to the organization’s ability to deliver on its mission.
  • Data Strategy – Agency leaders need to assess what data to collect based on the outcomes they desire. Once the data is collected the raw data is then converted into knowledge and insights which can be leveraged to support decision-making while still prioritizing privacy and security requirements.
  • Cloud and AI Solutions – The agency understands the need to take workloads to the Cloud and the process of identifying use cases for AI implementation and automation.
  • Innovation Strategy – Innovation forms part of the ongoing transformation strategy, trying to deliver sustainable process automation across the ecosystem.

We use these strategic themes to create a Digital Maturity Model (DMM), which will help assess where each organization is today and identify the right level of digitization needed to support its mission. The DMM has five levels:  Limited, Organized, Digitized, Connected, and Optimized. In our next article, we will identify how each strategic theme evolves as we go from Limited to Optimized in the DMM. Let us know if you have questions about our Digital First/Digital Smart™ framework or our DMM. Please send us an email to