From doing digital to being digital: Transforming service delivery and operations in cities post the pandemic

The study explores how cities are using a broad array of assets and capabilities, which we term as “digital pivots” to move from “doing digital” to “being digital”. These assets and capabilities can enable cities to transform both digital service delivery and operations. Recommendations are informed by ThoughtLab and Deloitte’s global survey to identify challenges and track progress made by cities in improving digital service delivery and city operations.

Digital transformation in governments started as the “e-gov” movement in the late 1990s and focused primarily on providing online services or a digital avatar of governments’ physical services. Over time, this transformation journey evolved through different phases—back-office reengineering, IT infrastructure enhancements, cloud infrastructure, customer experience movement, interoperability, and the blending of physical infrastructure with cyber using sensors and IoT technology. But COVID-19 demonstrated just how far many city departments must still go to become truly digital-first organizations.