South Australia’s top government IT official speaks to CMU-A students about digital transformation

Posted 11th November 2020

The process of digitizing the South Australian State Government and the challenges and opportunities available to graduates skilled in this area were among the topics discussed by CMU-A’s latest convocation guest speaker, Dr Eva Balan-Vnuk.

Dr Balan-Vnuk is the South Australian State Government’s Executive Director of ICT and Digital Government, working within the Department of Premier and Cabinet. She provided a convocation speech to CMU-A students on Tuesday.

“We (the South Australian State Government) have enormous amounts of data… but the question is are we using it to best effect?” she told students.

“In parts we’re doing it really well, but we need people who understand analytics, who understand dashboards and how to educate executives in the metrics we should be evaluating to do the very best we can.”

Dr Balan-Vnuk said these skills are in high demand – and that CMU-A students were setting themselves up for rewarding and lucrative careers by studying courses dedicated to topics such as data analytics and information technology. Several alum are currently working alongside Dr Balan-Vnuk to help bring her digital transformation agenda to life.

Dr Eva Balan-Vnuk delivering her presentation from CMU-A's Innovation lab

“In my view, digital transformation means service transformation,” Dr Balan-Vnuk said.

“It’s about transforming the way a service is delivered to be digital. For government, if I take a practical example, if I’m a small business owner and I want to register an apprentice, it’s about 15 paper forms at three different locations, it’s multiple signatures. It’s a nightmare.

“That’s where government has to tip itself around. The user has to be at the centre of the experience. What do they need? What device are they doing it on? And at what time of the day? We need to give control back to the user.

“It’s a major initiative across government… but there’s 5000 or 10,000 services. It’s a multi-year journey for us.”

Dr Balan-Vnuk said the digitization process would also incorporate better ways to monitor staff performance and measure KPIs – something traditionally done more routinely and successfully in the private sector.

She also said while technology can do many things well, such as tasks requiring automation, it would never replace the need for humans.

“Machines can do lots of things very well, but humans are artistic, creative, have emotional intelligence, have a power to persuade and influence and we haven’t seen that from robots or machines yet,” Dr Balan-Vnuk said.

CMU-A’s convocations are an opportunity for those who lead organizations and governments and entrepreneurs and innovators from the fields of Information

Technology and Public Policy Management to share their expertise and discuss current trends with students.