Accenture’s Future Systems research includes our largest-ever survey on the topic of IT system performance in the public and private sectors. We interviewed 8,356 c-suite executives in 20 countries, including 353 in agencies across the U.S. government. The survey sought answers to three big questions:

01

What information technologies are being adopted?

02

How widely are they being implemented in the organizations that adopt them?

03

How are organizational cultures adapting to the use of these technologies?

This report focuses on the survey’s findings for U.S. government respondents (though the results discussed below are similar to those for the broader survey).1 We classified the top 16 percent as “Leaders”—federal executives whose agencies earned highest marks for their answers to the above questions (agencies, in other words, that have embraced Future Systems with gusto).2 And we classified the 22 percent of federal agencies that earned lowest marks as “Late Adopters.”

These percentages were similar to our commercial findings with a slight increase in the number of Leaders in the federal government.

16%

We classified the top 16 percent as “Leaders”—federal executives whose agencies earned highest marks for their answers to the above questions.

22%

And we classified the 22 percent of federal agencies that earned lowest marks as “Late Adopters.”

Our survey revealed a widening “innovation-achievement gap” between U.S. government Leaders and Late Adopters, one that reflects the difference between potential and realized value from IT investments. Notably, 67 percent of Leaders said that they’re satisfied with their return on their technology investments, compared with only 16 percent of Late Adopters (in the private sector, we found that Late Adopters were also foregoing up to 46 percent of their potential revenue growth over an eight-year period).

Federal Leaders enjoy wide-ranging benefits from their embrace of Future Systems. Here are just a few.

Leaders are more likely than Late Adopters (54 percent vs. 26 percent, respectively) to see high levels of citizen satisfaction with government services. Leaders are also more likely to reduce citizens’ waiting times for services (46 percent vs. 28 percent) and to prioritize citizens’ user experiences when designing processes and services (95 percent vs. 50 percent).

Another area of benefit involves cost-savings and improved performance. We found that Leaders are more likely than Late Adopters to experience—after adopting new technologies—a decline in the time needed to launch a new product or service (49 percent vs. 13 percent). Leaders are also more likely to launch a new technology quickly (39 percent vs. 16 percent), to improve operating margins after investing in technology (35 percent vs. 20 percent), and to prioritize adopting and scaling new technologies (98 percent vs. 64 percent).

Yet another area of benefit involves organizational strategy and operating models. We found that Leaders are more likely than Late Adopters (98 percent vs. 42 percent) to deploy mechanisms to track returns from their technology investments—essential for measuring progress. They’re also more likely to use reliable data to form insights and drive business change (95 percent vs. 53 percent), to see a large, positive impact from new technology on business operations and change-management processes (80 percent vs. 42 percent), and to systematically manage artificial intelligence (AI) responsibly (98 percent vs. 45 percent).

1 The survey was “double-blinded”. Respondents were not required to name their agency. The agencies surveyed in this report operate in the following areas: social services, tax, postal, policing, justice, pensions, education, defense, national security, central administration, and customs.

2 In our broader survey, organizations that ranked in the top 10% were classified as Leaders; those in the bottom 25% were classified as Late Adopters. To get the 16% (and 22%) threshold used in this report, we took the number of federal agencies that qualified as Leaders (and the number that qualified as Late Adopters) in the broader survey, and divided it by the number of federal agencies in our sample (353).

Kimberly Aftergood

Managing Director – Accenture Federal Services, Client Lead


Malcolm Jackson

Director – Accenture Federal Services, Technology Advisory


Jason Layman

Managing Director – Accenture Federal Services, Technology Strategy & Advisory Lead


Dave McClure

Director – Accenture Federal Services, Technology Advisory

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