By digitizing processes and transforming organizations, governments can improve services, reduce costs and improve the quality of life for their citizens.
As businesses change with digital technology, citizens are demanding that governments change with them. Digitization allows public administrations to provide services that respond to the changing expectations of citizens and businesses, even in the face of limited budgets and increasingly complex challenges. It is estimated that the digitization of governments with modern technologies could generate more than a trillion dollars of revenue worldwide each year.
The digitization of governance requires a focus on two key elements: the essential capacity to engage citizens and businesses, and the organizational tools that support this capacity.
Key opportunities for digital government
Governments typically focus their digital efforts on four functions: services, processes, solutions, and data sharing. We believe there is a natural quick-win progression for transformation initiatives in these areas.
Public authorities are using digital tools to improve their interaction with citizens and businesses. Most have already started to digitize some of their income-generating activities. In the UK, a transformation program has been launched to digitize 25 key services, including voter registration.
Para un buen servicio digital, es importante entender la perspectiva del usuario. Los gobiernos deben estar preparados para rediseñar sus productos, procedimientos y políticas para satisfacer las necesidades de los ciudadanos. La administración fiscal noruega ofrece declaraciones de impuestos preparadas en nombre de los ciudadanos, y más del 70% de los ciudadanos presentan estas declaraciones de impuestos.
Delivering services on mobile platforms is another way for governments to adapt to the digital preferences and behaviors of their citizens. In China, various government departments accept passport and visa applications through the popular WeChat mobile app.
Digitizing processes offers the greatest potential for increased productivity, but it also presents difficult challenges. Just as governments must first digitize high-volume services, they must also begin to digitize labor-intensive and expensive processes. The Swedish Social Security Agency has launched a digitization program for five products, 60% of which are processed manually and more than 80% are consulted by phone.
The digitization of processes must be optimized from the start. In Denmark, an algorithm has been successfully developed to classify newly registered companies according to changes in tax law. Over 98% of a company's registration work can now be done without human intervention.
The public sector can benefit from Big Data and analytics in areas such as defense, public safety and healthcare. The Australian Tax Office analyzed the tax returns of more than a million small and medium-sized businesses to create industry-specific financial indicators. These indicators are now used to identify companies that do not declare their income and issue discrepancy notices.
The advanced analytics system feeds data from multiple sources into an algorithm that adjusts transactions in real time. No government has yet implemented this system, but Singapore has created a national sensor network that sends data from all offices to a single storage location.
The digital transformation of public administration can be difficult, but many public institutions are convinced that it will be worth it in the end. The first step is to develop a global vision of digital government. Next, leaders must develop and implement a plan to digitize public administration capabilities and create the organizational conditions for this to happen. Governments that make changes in these areas can reduce budget pressures and improve the quality of life for their citizens.