Seeing the Future Through Digital Transformation

A conversation between Paul Harapin, SVP and GM of Domo APAC and Japan, and the Hon. Victor Dominello, the New South Wales Minister for Finance, Services, and Property, on taking a data-driven approach to government. Paul Harapin: Thanks for joining us at to talk about leadership […]

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How do you look at digital transformation in government?

Well, I’ve got a lot of government experience now. I’ve been in the public life for about 10 years. I’ve seen different governments around the world and how they apply different theories around digital transformation. I’ve come up with about 10 points: The first is that it has to be data based. Second, it needs to be digital. Third, it has to be direct. The fourth, it’s got to be displayed, so we can see it. Domo is a great tool for that. Fifth, it has to be dissected, it has been analyzed. Sixth, it must be part of your DNA. Seventh, it’s got to be part of the future, such as the third dimension, and where we’re moving towards in super exciting areas. Eight is defence and cyber security, because we’ve got to lock that down. Ninth is around what we’re doing in relation to what will happen if you don’t do all these points—which is, you become a dinosaur. And of course, the point is delivery. To be honest, that’s the most important one, because if you don’t have delivery, then everything else is academic. If we can deliver, then we can get outcomes. If we get outcomes, then we’re serving our citizens.

You mentioned DNA. We see that the cultural aspect of change, particularly with information and the ability to react so fast, is one of the biggest challenges. It’s not necessarily the technology. How have you been able to address that cultural change in government?

Without a question, cultural change is the hardest. It’s easy to change a mind: it’s much harder to change a heart, and the DNA goes to the matters of the heart. It’s really changing the way you think and see the world. The only way to do that, from my experience, is through strong leadership. You need to continually be on the case for reform and for change, and you need to constantly say, “If we don’t do this, then we get left behind in the past.”

One of the key areas you initially focused on was the CTP (Compulsory Third Party) green slip efficiencies, which has been very successful with a large number of people getting refunds and a very high satisfaction rate. What are some of the other areas that you’re looking to dig into with data?

There’s a lot of opportunities, but one of the things I’m looking at is property DNA. We’re already tracking our own DNA, which you can now do for about $2,000. We’re starting to map the human brain, so why can’t we map our property—the bricks, the mortar, the nails, every element of the body or the property structure? This way, when we have a Grenfell-esque disaster, we can see exactly what properties got to which elements. We can press a button and find out where they are. This is where we need to start tracking in the future.

These are very forward-thinking ideas. How do you get everyone to agree and get them executed together?

A lot of it has to do with passion. If you’re passionate about something, then that’s infectious and people can see that. If you’ve got a vision and you’re passionate, then a lot of people will join you on that journey, especially if you can demonstrate it.

You started off in the private sector and then moved into government. Do you see any areas where both can learn off of each other?

There’s always areas to learn. The government is like a tank. It’s big, it’s ugly, it’s slow, and it’s very, very hard to navigate. But it is very powerful. The private sector is much more agile, it’s super sexy, it’s fun to be in. There’s a lot, though, that can be shared. There’s a lot in common.

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