What’s New in Digital Government From the 2022 Gartner Hype Cycle

November 17, 2022

Contributor: Lori Perri

Digital government technologies and practices continue to have a transformative impact on the delivery of services to citizens. See what’s next for individuals, businesses and society.

The 2022 Gartner Hype Cycle™ for Digital Government Services identifies technologies and practices that can have a transformative impact on how the government delivers citizen services. These innovations help service delivery remain agile and resilient during a time filled with uncertainty and disruption globally.

“The technologies and practices on the Digital Government Services Hype Cycle can be used for diverse purposes — from laudable ones like ensuring social assistance reaches intended beneficiaries to illicit ones that present a threat to societies,” says Arthur Mickoleit, Director Analyst at Gartner. “CIOs need to proactively build the confidence of citizens that the government is using technologies to the best interest of individuals, businesses and society.”

Government CIOs need to evaluate, prioritize and anticipate investments into technologies on the Hype Cycle in support of improved service delivery. Here are some ways governments use what the Gartner Hype Cycle™ graphic shows.

As a tactical tool

The center to right parts of this Hype Cycle define technologies and practices that are becoming suitable for mainstream adoption and scaling. At present, this includes chatbots, virtual assistants, digital experience platforms, identity proofing, advanced applications of analytics and artificial intelligence, and privacy-enhancing technologies. Innovation profiles such as inclusive design and digital ethics highlight the need to account for intended and unintended outcomes of technology adoption. 

Critical technologies include the following: 

  • Chatbots are domain-specific or task-specific conversational interfaces that use an app, messaging platform, social network or chat solution for conversations.

  • Virtual assistants (VAs) help users with tasks previously handled by humans. VAs use natural language processing, prediction models, recommendations and personalization to interact with people via voice or text.

  • Digital experience platforms represent an integrated and cohesive set of core technologies to compose, manage, deliver and optimize contextualized digital experiences.

  • Customer journey analytics is the process of tracking and analyzing customers’ and prospects’ interactions with an organization across multiple channels.

  • Responsible AI is an umbrella term for aspects of making appropriate business and ethical choices when adopting AI. It encompasses organizational responsibilities and practices that ensure positive, accountable AI development and operation.

  • Predictive analytics in government is the use of data mining and modeling techniques to achieve mission outcomes. It leverages internal and external data to inform public policy development, optimize government processes and improve real-time decision making.

  • Document-centric identity proofing (DCIP), also called “ID plus selfie,” aims to verify an identity claim in a transaction through a combination of activities.

  • Digital ethics comprises the systems of values and moral principles for the conduct of electronic interactions among people, organizations and things.

  • Inclusive design is a design methodology that aims to draw on the full range of human diversity and ability, to inform and create digital products responsive to the needs of the greatest number of people.

For strategic perspective and foresight

From a longer-term perspective, governments need to adapt and reflect wider technology trends. The Hype Cycle provides CIOs insights for exploration and anticipation of potentially transformative impacts from emerging technologies and practices. This includes the metaverse, digital twins, superapps and identity wallets, as well as more advanced applications of AI like natural language technologies, prescriptive analytics, generative AI or influence engineering.

Technologies that CIOs need to keep on their radars and start developing positions include the following: 

  • Identity Wallets enable an individual to store, manage and selectively disclose digital identity-related data from different sources and for different purposes. They are typically mobile applications.

  • Digital Twin of a Citizen (DToC) is a technology-enabled proxy that mirrors the state of a person. National, state and local governments use DToC to support citizen services such as health or safety management.

  • Superapp is more than just a composite mobile app. It is built as a platform to deliver modular microapps that users can activate for personalized app experiences. 

  • Metaverse is a collective virtual 3D shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical and digital reality. A metaverse is persistent, providing enhanced immersive experiences.

  • Natural language technology (NLT) encompasses the technologies and methods that enable intuitive forms of communication between humans and systems, and analysis of those content.

  • Prescriptive analytics is a set of capabilities that specify a preferred course of action and, at times, take automated actions to meet a predefined objective.

  • Generative AI refers to AI techniques that learn a representation of artifacts from data, and use it to generate brand-new, completely original artifacts that preserve a likeness to original data.

  • Influence engineering refers to the production of algorithms designed to automate elements of digital experience that guide user choices at scale by learning and applying techniques of behavioral science.

Insight to develop constituent-centric digital services

There are also innovation profiles that support engagement for the development of constituent-centric digital services. For example, inclusive design, customer journey analytics, multiexperience, and business ecosystem modeling.

  • Machine learning (ML) is an AI discipline that solves business problems by utilizing statistical models to extract knowledge and patterns from data.

  • Semantic search uses natural language technologies to improve the value of search for users. It does this by processing the relationship between words — as a proxy for meaning — in addition to the words themselves.

  • Inclusive design is a design methodology that aims to draw on the full range of human diversity and ability, to inform and create digital products responsive to the needs of the greatest number of people.

  • Customer journey analytics (CJA) is the process of tracking and analyzing customers’ and prospects’ interactions with an organization across multiple channels.

  • Multiexperience (MX) describes interactions that take place across a variety of digital touchpoints, using a combination of interaction modalities in support of a seamless and consistent digital user journey.

  • Business ecosystem modeling is a dynamic network of people, businesses and things that interact to create and exchange sustainable value for participants. It focuses on extending the scope of business architecture to the business ecosystem.

To improve acceptance and adoption support decision making

The design and delivery of digital government services is guided by societal expectations of transparency and accountability. Innovation profiles like responsible AI, digital ethics and privacy by design help government CIOs anticipate and mitigate the risks of potential backlash in the use of advanced analytics and AI to support decision making in government.

Critical technologies include the following: 

  • Responsible AI is an umbrella term for aspects of making appropriate business and ethical choices when adopting AI. It encompasses organizational responsibilities and practices that ensure positive, accountable AI development and operation.

  • Digital ethics comprises the systems of values and moral principles for the conduct of electronic interactions among people, organizations and things.

  • Privacy by design (PbD) is a set of privacy principles that underpin many modern privacy regulatory requirements. It is about proactively creating a culture of privacy, by embedding it often and early in technology, as well as into procedures and processes.

Additional digital government technologies

  • Gamification is the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals.

  • Computer vision is a process and set of technologies that involve capturing, processing and analyzing real-world images and videos to allow machines to extract meaningful, contextual information from the physical world.

  • Neural machine translation (NMT) is the application of deep neural nets to automate the machine translation of text from one language to another.

  • API marketplace is a platform for API providers to share APIs. API marketplaces range from basic API catalogs, to API developer portals from a single API provider, to commercial marketplaces with APIs from many providers.

  • Intelligent document processing (IDP) solutions extract data to support automation of high-volume, repetitive document processing tasks and for analysis and insight.

  • Personification allows marketers to deliver targeted digital experiences to individuals based on their inferred membership in a characteristic customer segment without collection or transmission of personal data.

  • Consent and preference management platforms consolidate end-user choices regarding how their personal data should be handled.

  • Immersive meetings use immersive technology to host meetings and gatherings in a manner similar to an in-person meeting or social gathering.

  • Machine customers are nonhuman economic actors that obtain goods or services in exchange for payment. They act on behalf of a human customer or organization.

In short: 

  • The 2022 Gartner Hype Cycle™ for Digital Government Services helps public sector organizations gauge, prioritize and adopt technologies that can serve the interests of individuals, businesses and society.

  • Some innovations will reach mainstream adoption for citizen services in as little as two years; others may take 10 years or more.

  • CIOs can use the hype cycle for investment planning and in anticipation of “what’s next” in citizen services. Including to identify disruption potential early on.

Arthur Mickoleit is Director Analyst focused on Government. He provides research and advice on digital transformation, citizen services, public sector innovation, digital identity, open data and related topics.

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