Local authorities must transform their businesses because of greater competition from the private sector, according to the Society of IT Management.
In the trade body's latest publication, Modern Public Services: The Challenge of Transformation, Socitm argues that improvements in the private sector are putting pressure on councils.
The Socitm report said, "Public expectation of what constitutes good service is increasing, based upon transformational changes they experience in the private sector, particularly concerning service availability at times and locations to suit their needs."
Councils should also transform their businesses to reduce the time their most skilled people spend on administration.
The requirements set by the Audit Commission's annual Comprehensive Performance Assessment are likely to increase in future years, the report said.
"There is a risk that senior people will try to drive transformation through, despite unsupportive cultures, by using inappropriate, formulaic approaches. Research shows these to be highly prone to failure."
Some management teams would fail if they attempted business transformation projects because they were not credible leaders, the report said.
The lack of a supportive culture was the most difficult obstacle to business transformation and tended to extend the timescale for implementing projects.