GovTech opening speech

Perpetual collaboration is key

Abraham Thomas, General Manager, IBM South Africa
Abraham Thomas, General Manager, IBM South Africa.jpg
Government entities continue to face a “perfect storm” in global conditions. Changing demographics, accelerated globalisation, rising environmental concerns, evolving societal relationships, growing threats to social stability and order and the expanding impact of technology will either help or hinder government in serving citizens over the next few years. This is according to Abraham Thomas, General Manager of IBM South Africa.

In describing IBM’s (the executive sponsor of the conference) view on the opportunities that lie ahead for governments, Thomas stated (in his opening speech at the gala dinner of the SITA GovTech 2012 conference in Durban), that we are looking at a world in the midst of significant transition. He believes that governments have the opportunity to work together more effectively, and engage their citizens and allies in the implementation of bigger goals for society.

“Finding ways to work more collaboratively will be key,” adds Thomas. “These nearly universal drivers require what we call perpetual collaboration that starts with intensified, multi-directional communications, and shared operational and technical standards.”

And building this perpetual collaboration as a core capability in government will enable these entities to prosper and serve citizens better. To achieve this, a number of key approaches can be adopted by government organisations including:
- Public and private collaboration, through the formation of new alliances and models of interaction, such as global collaborative ventures, will aim to keep pace with changes in global society;
- The implementation of technologies that enable more personalised interaction and services and allow governments to provide convenience, increased efficiency; security and privacy in delivering services ranging from healthcare to social services;
- Stimulating product and service innovation through interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary research, coupled with new models of knowledge sharing that can transcend multi-generations in the workplace and 
- Providing greater value to constituencies by engaging with them to raise awareness of new approaches to governmental services, including services on- demand.

"Across the globe, many political leaders understand they have a choice: they can be passive and let change dictate the way their nations will adjust, or they can embrace the changes with effective strategies to improve the lives of their citizens, protect their interests and grow their profiles internationally," added Thomas.

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