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Digital Transformation and Technology

Governments need to go beyond digitizing existing processes and services. They need to harness the power of digital technologies and data to fundamentally re-imagine and transform the business models of government.

Public Sector

How Governments Are Upping Their Game in Digital

Governments are making progress in their transition to the digital world, as citizen usage and satisfaction with online government services are improving. Still, the greatest challenges lie ahead, according to Miguel Carrasco, a BCG partner and managing director.

Meeting the increasing demands and expectations of more experienced digital users, especially younger citizens, means embracing technology to re-invent the way government does business.

While much progress has been made by many governments around the world, the full potential of digital government remains largely untapped. Many transactional and payment services are still not available end-to-end online. Digital services that do exist often are not optimized for mobile devices. The functionality and user experiences of online services designed and run by governments usually leave a lot to be desired compared to the best practices of commercial organizations.

Why? Legacy systems get in the way, legislation and regulations are hard to change, and security and privacy concerns are complex issues. But despite these challenges, governments recognize the potential of social, mobile, data, and cloud technologies to drive transformation in the public sector.

Successful digital transformation requires strong leadership at the highest levels; investments in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills; and cultural and behavioral change. Likewise, governments need to maximize their digital investments by strategically leveraging new technologies, as well as data and advanced analytics, to optimize policies, programs, payments, and systems.

Governments can follow this five-step roadmap to accommodate the increase in user demand, provide a more sophisticated experience, and realize greater citizen success in completing digital transactions.

  1. Demonstrate visible senior leadership and commitment. Top-down buy-in and promotion will signal, to officials and the public, the importance and urgency of digital initiatives.
  2. Build the capabilities and culture to execute. Develop or acquire the people and technical skills and capabilities necessary to develop and deliver digital services.
  3. Focus on value. Prioritize efforts on public services that are most important to constituents and with which the constituents are least satisfied—such as health, education, welfare, and justice.
  4. Adopt service-design thinking. Take a walk in your constituents’ shoes and find ways to improve ease of use and enable seamless access. These possibilities include using plain language, streamlining navigational steps, and providing “register once, use often” user credentials.
  5. Lead users online, and keep users online. Invest in seamless, end-to-end capabilities that allow users to transact their business in its entirety while online, without having to resort to printing forms or visiting a service center.

With this approach, government can reap the rewards of true transformation: lower costs, improved service quality, and more satisfied citizens.

Public Sector
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