To thrive in the digital economy, government organisations should take a digitally enabled citizen-centric approach. At the heart of this approach is the need to provide a continuous personalised citizen experience. The millennials and generation Z, who forms 68% of the GCC population today, are digital natives who are always connected and prefer one brand, one experience.
For past couple of decades, the government organisations have been focused on bringing their services online and mobile by breaking the silos within their organisation. Today, national and local governments as well as city administrations must think themselves as one big government organisation or brand and provide a single continuous citizen experience across the brand.
To provide such citizen experiences, government organisations need to transform themselves into digital enterprises, characterised by organisation-wide digital transformation plans supported by dedicated digital transformation teams and budgets. These organisations consider their ICT infrastructure among their critical infrastructure, extending their thinking beyond physical assets.
They progressively find new use cases for technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, IoT edge and focus on scaling them organisation wide. The need for rapid rollout of applications require the IT teams of such organisations to becomes digital innovations factories and prolific software producers.
A myriad of technologies enables an organisations journey towards a digital enterprise. Among them are three technologies that are of particular interest to government organisations:
This enables government organisations to provide continuous personalised citizen experience at scale. IDC predicts that by 2024, with proactive, hyperspeed operational changes and market reactions, AI-powered enterprises will respond to customers, competitors, regulators, and partners 50% faster than their peers.
One of the key characteristics of the digital economy is the focus on real-time. This is particularly important for government agencies catering to public safety and transportation where real time data collection and processing becomes critical for emergency services, crime detection and prevention, and autonomous transport. IDC estimates that, by 2025, roughly a quarter of all data that is generated globally will be created in real time.
Various Internet of Things IoT devices will create 95% of that volume growth. These devices often are endpoints for various types of networks, and on sprawling government networks, they often include traffic sensors, security cameras, building security devices, weather monitors, and water and sewer flow monitors. This means that a lot of action must happen in the edge highlighting the need for establishing edge-based processing power, with onboard analytics, that can be augmented by artificial intelligence AI.
A key objective of government organisations is to bring authenticity to transactions and documents – ranging from certificates, contracts, identities, records. Blockchain is becoming a powerful tool for governments to reduce fraud, and boost security. IDC predicts that, by 2023, 20% of governments will issue blockchain-enabled identities, which follow citizens through life, ranging from birth certificates to driver’s licenses to passports and beyond.
The transformation journey of a government organisation can be divided into three broad stages:
There is no technology-driven national or sectoral vision that guides the organisations and most of them do not have a formal digital transformation strategy. The digital initiatives are mostly restricted within departments creating silos of innovation.
Many services are online and mobile, but manual processes in the back-end results in broken experiences which require multiple physical visits by citizens.
Organisations are driven by a technology-driven national vision. Many government organisations have a formal digital transformation plan with dedicated teams and budgets. The governments have started thinking in lines of customer journeys and digital identities.
These are currently restricted to the progressive entities but with plans to extend them. Some back-end processes are automated with artificial intelligence used for narrow tasks. Many use cases for blockchain emerges with some successful pilots.
Progressive national targets drive widespread digital transformation initiatives. Government provides continuous citizen experiences with customer journeys and digital identities covering most government organisations.
The progressive organisations are paperless and the government takes a cloud-native approach. Blockchain use cases are scaled and artificial intelligence mature from nature tasks to complex processes.
A good example of digital governance comes from the city of Seoul, South Korea. Seoul’s metropolitan government’s smart city platform provides citizens with complete real-time view of what’s happening in the city. Based on the administrative philosophy that citizens are the mayors, the government has publicly deployed the platform to its mobile website and digital information kiosks in metro stations.
The intent is to provide citizens with the same real-time access as the mayor to information on transportation, disasters, air quality, consumer prices, day-to-day matters and other available big data.
The two key challenges that governments face through their transformation journey pertain to legacy infrastructures and security. Many digital transformation initiatives hit the legacy infrastructure roadblock restricting their scalability. Government organisations have to take the platform approach to overcome this challenge. Digital enterprises thrive on platforms and enable them to provide digital products and services without rip-and-replace their legacy infrastructure.
As digital infrastructure becomes critical infrastructure, a technology risk will also become a business risk, increasing the importance of IT security. In the digital economy, the digital trustworthiness of the organisation becomes important and the trust environment goes beyond the traditional ideas of security, risk, and compliance; and includes privacy and ethical business operations as well.
- As digital infrastructure becomes critical infrastructure, a technology risk will also become a business risk.
- National and local governments must think themselves as one big government brand and provide a single citizen experience.
- To provide such citizen experiences, government organisations need to transform themselves into digital enterprises.
- One of the key characteristics of the digital economy is the focus on real-time.
- Real time data collection and processing becomes critical for emergency services, crime detection and prevention, and autonomous transport.
- IDC estimates by 2025, roughly a quarter of all data that is generated globally will be created in real time.
By Jyoti Lalchandani, Group Vice President and Regional Managing Director META, IDC.