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08 May 2024

Government & technology continue to create a better life for citizens in 2024

Digital Transformation
IT Consulting

Over the years, governments and public sector organizations around the world, have increasingly turned to digital technologies to enhance their operations and improve services for their citizens. In 2023, worldwide government IT expenditure hit $209 billion, marking a 9% rise from the previous year.

 

This investment supports a range of digital initiatives, such as Estonia which has greatly advanced its digital infrastructure, issuing about 1.4 million e-ID cards by February 2024 to make public services more accessible. In Sweden, the digitization of labor-intensive social insurance tasks within the public sector has led to an 80% reduction in manual work and call center volume. Meanwhile, Norway has greatly simplified tax filing by providing citizens with pre-filled tax returns, with over 70% of Norwegians using this convenient service. 

 

A broader perspective reveals that digital transformation in public services is becoming a global norm. According to the United Nations' 2022 E-Government Survey indicated that 80% of countries now offer at least one online government service, with the global e-government development index currently at 0.68 out of a possible 1.0. The European Union’s Digital Compass aims even higher, setting ambitious targets for all key public services to be available digitally by 2030 and for 80% of EU citizens to be using digital IDs.

 

* Read on to find out how governments are using digital technology in innovative ways to improve their operations and services. Also find out what technology and the public sector mean in the context of public sector digital transformation.

 

How eGov has impacted public services around the world 

 

Governments across the globe are leveraging digital technologies to significantly enhance public services, achieving notable operational efficiencies and fostering greater accessibility and citizen participation. The scale and impact of these initiatives vary, highlighting the adaptability of digital solutions to diverse national needs and contexts.

 

One notable example is the transformation of postal services in an Eastern European country. The introduction of an online platform, e-payment system, and upgraded mail processing systems resulted in a 60% decrease in security incidents, a 70% increase in online registrations, and doubled the speed and accuracy of transactions.

 

In Estonia, the eGov framework is exemplified by its e-Residency program. It has attracted over 105,500 global participants who have founded more than 27,000 companies, contributing approximately €183 million to Estonia's economy. This program enables non-residents to establish and manage businesses within Estonia's digital framework, thus broadening its economic influence globally and fostering an interconnected business environment.

 

South Korea has made a significant commitment through its Digital New Deal, investing about $48 billion to generate nearly 903,000 jobs (including public sector jobs) by 2025. This initiative incorporates cutting-edge technologies such as AI and 5G to revamp public services and industries, significantly boosting South Korea's digital prowess and competitiveness on the world stage.

 

These are just some examples that highlight a global trend toward more efficient, accessible, and transparent governance. By leveraging technology to enhance service delivery and operational efficiencies, governments are not only improving the quality of life for their citizens but are also realizing significant cost savings, potentially up to $1 trillion annually.

 

What does technology mean for government operations​​​​

Improve efficiency and reduce costs: Technologies streamline many routine tasks, freeing up time and resources. For instance, by using e-filing systems, governments can speed up the tax submission process, reducing the need for large teams to handle paperwork.

 

- In Canada, the use of AI chatbots for answering routine inquiries about government services has significantly reduced wait times and improved citizen satisfaction.

 

- Additionally, robotic process automation (RPA) is being used for repetitive tasks like data entry in the UK, which helps avoid manual errors and lowers operational costs. While technologies like AI and RPA streamline many routine tasks, they also redefine public sector job roles, emphasizing the need for skills in digital operation and management.

 

 Greater transparency and accountability: Tools like blockchain make government transactions more transparent and secure.

 

For example, Georgia has implemented blockchain technology to secure land registry data, making property transactions transparent and reducing the risk of fraud.

 

- Public access portals, like the USA's USAspending.gov, allow citizens to see where every dollar is spent, enhancing governmental accountability and public trust.

 

 Support for better policy-making: AI and big data analytics provide valuable insights that help governments make informed decisions.

 

- Predictive analytics is being used in Singapore to anticipate and manage public health risks, enabling authorities to react swiftly to potential outbreaks.

 

- Data-driven insights also support urban planning; Tokyo uses traffic and population data to optimize its public transport routes and infrastructure development, leading to more efficient city planning.

 

Happier citizens and easier access to public services

​​​

✱ Making government services more accessible: Governments in Europe are using technology to make their services more accessible, saving time and reducing the need for in-person visits.

 

- For instance, in the realm of eGov mobile services, Romania's 'ghiseul.ro' mobile app provides a one-stop online platform where citizens can handle payments for taxes and fines and access a range of administrative services. This convenience is especially valuable for those in remote or rural areas.

 

✱ Improving urban life with smart technology: Smart technology is reshaping European urban environments, making them safer and more efficient.

 

- In Copenhagen, advanced traffic management systems help alleviate congestion, improving daily commutes by optimizing traffic flow.

 

- Meanwhile, in Moldova, the capital city of Chisinau is upgrading to smart street lighting systems that enhance safety and reduce energy consumption.

 

✱ Empowering citizens with open data: Digital platforms are empowering citizens by providing open access to government-held data, which can be used for everything from making informed decisions to starting new businesses.

 

- Finland’s open data portal, for example, offers more than 2,300 datasets, allowing entrepreneurs create applications and services based on the statistics and data of regarding public needs.

 

- Another examples is Moldova’s MConnect system which simplifies how citizens access essential services and personal documentation online, promoting transparency and efficiency. Apart from this it also can be used for other purposes such as allowing officials to quickly access and update voter information, helping to prevent errors and fraud during elections.

 

No matter how good the technology—it needs to be monitored & kept up to date

 

Governments around the world are focusing on making their digital services sustainable and continuously effective. Achieving long-term success in digital transformation requires careful strategy, process improvements, and strong partnerships with specialized organizations in e-government and public sector.

 

Let's look at how Singapore measures the success of its digital transformation of government services. The country follows its Digital Government Blueprint and uses key performance indicators (KPIs) to track progress. These indicators include looking at how many projects are abandoned and comparing the cost of government digital projects with those in the private sector. Singapore also assesses the quality of its IT systems, including hardware, software and networks, and how easy and secure it is to use its digital platforms. This helps Singapore identify and improve any initial efforts that aren't successful. By doing this, either with a skilled internal team or with the help of external experts, Singapore ensures that its digital services remain effective, secure and useful to its citizens well into the future.

 

Furthermore, organizations like McKinsey highlight the importance of continuous monitoring and adaptation of digital services to meet evolving needs. They point out that digital transformation in the public sector often involves more than technological upgrades. It needs public sector consultants that can also bring a cultural shift within public sector network towards embracing digital solutions. This approach includes rethinking how services are designed from the ground up to ensure they are fully digital and meet the high expectations of today's users.

 

Supporting these initiatives involves crucial roles played by specialized organizations. These organizations are not just responsible for implementing and maintaining the technologies but also for making sure that digital strategies align with the broader goals of the government and can adapt to future changes. The collaboration between governments and tech companies, like EBS Integrator, is essential to ensure that digital services remain strong, secure, and up-to-date with the latest technological advancements.

 

Plug into the digital transformation of public administration

 

As we conclude our exploration of digital transformation in government, it's clear that public sector entities must innovate and invest in digital transformation strategies to meet both current and future challenges—as to enhance governmental efficiency, citizen engagement, and public service delivery.

 

Digital technologies streamline government operations, make services more accessible to citizens, and enable data-driven policymaking that can adapt more dynamically to the needs of the population. From reducing administrative burdens to improving transparency and public trust, the digitalization of government has the potential to transform public administration profoundly.

 

For policymakers, technology leaders, and government officials, the call to action is clear: collaborate, innovate, and invest in digital transformation strategies that not only address current needs but also anticipate future challenges. Embracing a proactive approach to digital governance will ensure that the benefits of technology can be realized fully and fairly across all segments of society.

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