Digitization of the public sector for an e-government approach to achieve substantial savings.

July 1, 2016

Citizens and businesses now expect government information to be readily available online, easy to find and understand, and at low or no cost. Governments have many reasons to meet these expectations by investing in a comprehensive public-sector digital transformation.

Capturing the full potential of government digitization could free up to $1 trillion (as per McKinsey) annually in economic value worldwide, through improved cost and operational performance. Shared services, greater collaboration and integration, improved fraud management, and productivity enhancements enable system-wide efficiencies.

The need for digital transformation in government and the public sector

Indeed, governments around the world are doing their best to meet citizen demand and capture benefits. More than 130 countries have online services including Mauritius. From the citizen experience perspective the role of digital transformation becomes clear in areas such as e-government and digital identity programs, in many other areas transparency, efficiency and coordination are key in the digitization of processes and project management.

The disruptive impact of digital technologies on government:

The first driver of digital transformation in government and the public sector is cost savings in a world where populations are aging and a mix of local, national and geo-political shifts necessitate choices and changes, whereby higher cost transparency and cost reductions are key.

The second driver of digital transformation in government is meeting the demands of a ‘digital’ citizen and enhancing the citizen experience. Citizen demands are evolving because demands of people are evolving, whether it is in their capacities as workers, consumers or citizens. Improving the citizen experience of an increasingly digital and mobile first citizen whose digital lifestyle doesn’t match with the often paperwork-intensive reality that is still too dominant and causes frustration is a priority.

Evidence where digital transformation in the public sector prove successful:

  1. The launch of gov.uk in 2012 marked the creation of one of the most accessible digital-government services in the world. Its success in providing citizens, businesses, and government users with accurate, streamlined, and comprehensive services. A unit of the government’s Cabinet Office was charged with overseeing the country’s digital strategy and according to government estimates, gov.uk saved £42 million in government spending within a year of its launch. In October 2013, it had, for the first time, two million visits in one day.
  2. Denmark established IT Projektraad, a digitization council reporting to the Ministry of Finance, to function as its central IT steering group. The digitization agency requires government institutions to adhere to specific methodologies and guidelines when planning their IT investments which helped the Danish government reduce unnecessary investments, enforce common standards, and build greater project synergies.
  3. In South Korea, for instance, a significant portion of government IT infrastructure is centralized in a few data centers providing numerous e-government services to citizens. The size and breadth of these centers make it possible to offer IT staff engaging career paths and to improve a variety of online services while tackling the challenges of managing a large-scale data center.
  4. The US government has been one of the most active in leveraging data to support government decision making. In 2009, it gave open data a legal and privacy framework that led to the creation of data.gov, a repository of government tools, resources, and information on anything from energy and science to global development and health.

Regardless of where a public-sector organization is in its digitization journey, when digital public-sector transformations succeed, citizens and businesses will benefit from better access, and governments can operate more nimbly and achieve substantial savings.

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