27 Jun The Digitization of Government Services
Governments around the world are coming to terms with the fact that their citizens are going to expect them to digitize their services. This expectation is difficult to achieve, but it benefits both the Government and its Citizens. According to a report by McKinsey, if Governments around the world digitized their processes, it could save them over $1 trillion annually. There are already countries that have begun the process of digitization, but there are still many countries that are lagging behind due to technological and attitudinal barriers.
Where it’s worked!
There are many countries around the world that have successfully digitized many of their processes at government agencies. Here are just a few examples
In the United Kingdom, 24 ministry departments and 331 government agencies have been combined under gov.uk
In Sweden, parents receive updates and reminders digitally for any upcoming check-ups and vaccinations.
Provincial governments in China accept passport and visa applications and provide traffic and weather updates through WeChat
How to do it
According to the McKinsey article, there are four factors that will enable success in digitizing government agencies
-Consider the opportunities created by digital technologies
-Evaluate whether digitization is yielding the sought benefits
Governance and Organization
-Keep citizen needs at the forefront of your initiatives and see which form of governance works best. Some programs work better with a central governance, whereas others work better when program responsibilities are split amongst different level of government.
Leadership, talent, and Culture
-Digitizing Government processes requires commitment from leaders; they have to be wholly invested in the projects and surround the project with the right talent.
-Many governments are still operating with legacy information technology systems and in order to enable digitization, governments need to invest in technologies to support their processes.
It is important to address the largest issues first, addressing agencies that are manual process heavy will have trickle down effects. It can be quite daunting to digitize many government agencies because there are so many manual processes across many different locations and departments, but these are the areas that need the most work. For example Sweden’s social insurance agency started their digitization process by addressing the five areas that accounted of 60 percent of their entire manual processing work. Those five areas also accounted for more than 80 percent of the calls at their social insurance agency.
Government agencies need to adapt to the trend of digitization because that is what their citizens are going to expect. The business sector has already begun to digitize many of their products and services, but that could be attributed to competition. The Government does not have competition for many of their services, but they still need to be effective at delivering them. The Governments responsibility is to its citizens and adopting technologies across diverse agencies puts them in a better position to be able to do that.