Editor’s Note: The following is excerpted from Policing 2025: Envisioning a New Framework for Investigations (©2020 IDC #US46946220), a recent white paper created by Alison Brooks at IDC and sponsored by Cellebrite. The paper may be downloaded in its entirety here.

Police agencies globally recognize the inherent value of digitizing core policing workflows and processes. Digital policing modernizes case management, optimizes digital evidence management, and uses mobile-first solutions for community safety. As agencies harness a continually evolving landscape of digital assets, people, process, and platform technologies digitally transform in lockstep.

The figure below illustrates the stages of digital transformation, from the simplest, unstructured ad hoc stage to the advanced, systemized, and optimized stage. Digital transformation must occur across people, culture, process, workflow, and technology.

People — Skilled for the Future

In 2025, police agencies are capitalizing on the revamped skill sets of personnel. Leveraging skilling, upskilling, and reskilling, law enforcement operates more efficiently while retaining organizational knowledge. Broadly speaking, “skilling” involves identifying skill gaps in the workforce and then developing the necessary programs to address these gaps.

“Upskilling” is teaching employees to perform current jobs in new ways using technology. “Reskilling” is teaching employees new skills to transition into different jobs and career paths. Each of these programs addresses different types of personnel (field, station, and specialized workforces) that need different skills and technology solutions. As the line between traditionally siloed workflow of “response” and “investigation” further blurs, responding and investigative agents are skilled, reskilled, and/or upskilled.

Process — Radically Reformed for Efficiencies

In 2025, public safety agencies have fundamentally and radically rethought public safety workflow, integrating workflow process chains that were historically sequential and leveraging next-generation technology. Leadership and staff are committed to deploying an integrated policing platform.

Digital intelligence platforms transform the collection and investigation workflow from the field to the lab and on to prosecution. For example, a detective from Victoria Police Department (Victoria, British Columbia) was recently able to leverage digital intelligence tools to link disparate mobile data sets to illustrate that a suspect was geographically nearby a victim and using a cellphone to harass the victim. All this was captured on video. Using digital intelligence tools to collapse previously sequential workflows, agencies compress the time it takes to make connections, follow leads, and corroborate evidence. Economies of scale, time, and effort efficiencies are gained by integrating workflow from the field to the lab and through to prosecution.

Platform Technologies — Delivering Agility, Scale, and Performance

Core police workflows and processes are digital and platform-based. Neither a short-term nor a simple task, this is a necessary and critical step to modernization. Widespread adoption of “innovation accelerators” such as AI/ML, bots, drones, AR/VR, and wearables help agencies integrate their systems to manage these assets proactively. Agencies also leverage next-generation core infrastructure: cloud-enabled, agile, responsive, scalable solutions that rely increasingly on edge processing to minimize the storage burden while also preserving privacy.


Resilient digital infrastructure helps meet greatly increased processing demand in sustainable and cost-efficient ways. Cloud infrastructure, advanced analytics, and a focus on digital intelligence allow agencies to securely share information across jurisdictional boundaries. Agency personnel are more competent in digital technology, and modernized solutions are built and updated quickly while running at internet speed. Cloud-native applications are developed to facilitate the data-driven user experience, allowing agencies to take advantage of the cloud’s elasticity and scalability while also providing access to the newest functionality, the latest security provisioning, and the fast-paced innovation delivered through cloud services.

Cloud platforms function as an essential data management and integration tool in an increasingly crowded digital ecosystem. The lower costs of storing data and the higher compute power needed to analyze large data sets, in addition to the functionality built into cloud platforms, make the cloud preferable for data storage, integration, analysis, and sharing. Cloud functions synergistically with AI and ML to advance DX and reinvention.

Impact to Operations

By becoming digital, agencies are:

  • Delivering insights in real-time
  • Benefiting from time and cost savings from reduced data collection and entry burdens and rationalized workflows
  • Scaling across jurisdictions and agencies quickly when needed
  • Using edge processing to minimize data management constraints while protecting privacy
  • Easily and speedily incorporating innovations built on the cloud
  • Gaining economies of intelligence, by synthesizing information, fostering the capacity for employees to adapt, and leveraging force-multiplying technology to deliver insights at scale
  • Hiring and cultivating staff with appropriate skills to complement the inevitable increase in automation of data processing

Part 4 in this series of excerpts will look at Digital Intelligence and Policing 2025.

About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,100 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries worldwide. For 50 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world’s leading technology media, research, and events company.

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