Transforming governments with technology is the newest optimization of statecraft that tends to the tech-savviness of the citizens and maximizes government efforts for running the state efficiently.
Technology came. Technology saw. Technology conquered; over our lives, both, personal and professional. Technology has revolutionized the ways we do things. Any activity that we perform can either be simplified or complicated by applying technology to it. On a professional front, however, technology has conceived a whole new class of ‘digital businesses,’ that rely heavily on the Internet. Undoubtedly, integration with the technology of any kind has facilitated the creation of sophisticated systems for running businesses. Seeing these leaps and bounds companies and enterprises have advanced with, governments now are next in the queue to experiment and adopt the digital revolution in their operations. Optimizing, estimating, implementing activities and programs for a huge audience becomes easier and hassle-free with technology. Software, digital platforms, or even a simple email program avoids repetitive work and saves both, time and money, spent on manual labor to perform these tasks. Rendering services to people, synchronizing cross-domain processes, taking better decisions, and seamlessly sharing data, everything can be easily implemented with a technological backbone. And that’s exactly how stakeholders are transforming governments with technology.
Adopting Technology in Governance
The current system of governance in most countries is offline and heavily based on the primitive forms of the ordinance. We still have counters tailed with people waiting for their turns, forms that need to be filled in bold, black ink, and spare rooms in offices packed to the ceiling with files and paper crumbling into dust. Although citizens and officials are used to them, these conventional ways are not as efficient as they should be. Governments today have an extended reach. Their jurisdiction is not limited to geographical boundaries of the state or the country alone. Reaching out to people on such a large scale, promoting their agendas, familiarizing the citizens with new policies, and obtaining feedback from the masses is simplified with technology. Thus, digitizing systems and offices, leaves the government to pay more attention to the public welfare schemes and indulge in policies beneficial for the citizens as well as the country.
Transforming Governments with Technology
The process of digitizing governments requires two major considerations. The first is to look for the core capabilities in which a government can engage with the citizens and the business class of the country. The second is to take into the picture the organizational enablers that allow such an engagement in real-time. To begin with, governments can narrow down the basic, yet widely used necessities by the people and appropriately implement enablers to integrate the right form of technology and legalities in achieving the desired results. There are four ways each of the core capabilities and the enablers that governments consider for adoption can be implemented:
Services are usually the first step taken by any government towards digitization. These activities involve proposing technical solutions to streamline the most commonly used services by the citizens. Most of the governments offer a majority of its services digitally today. The primary focus here is on a small number of activities that have a high volume of demand amongst the citizens. Some of the activities included within this category are:
- Payment platforms for government revenue
- Digitization of essential and prominent touchdowns
- Online platforms for activities in consolidation with each other
- Messaging and email platforms to reach out to the people
- Business portals for the citizens and companies
Processes come off as the most challenging thing to do, but also a capability that profits the government a lot if done right. Examples of processes include large-scale IT applications that are heavily digital, to replace its analog counterparts. Such experiments require serious thought concerning the costs, the consequences, and the future of the project. However, just like the high-volume services, a government must also look after the labor-intensive processes before getting started with digitization. Some of the activities included within this category are:
- Automating transactions, applications, and services (passport centers, grant applications, tax and revenue centers)
- Enabling digital health (e-health) and telemedicine for hospital management systems
Technology makes it easier to access massive amounts of data on a single window. For a government, the data usually comes in the form of demographics for various causes and studies. Applying the data analytics technology helps governments to not only have cleaner access to the information but also allows them to think clearly and extensively for taking the right decisions. Some of the activities included within this category are:
Developing and deploying mass transit technological options (selecting the right kind of transit for the major city centers of the country)
- Advanced data analytics (Population studies, analysis of GDP systems, and prediction of new policies to be implemented in the future)
- Data storage solutions for the large quantities of data generated in government offices every day
4. Data Sharing
Many governments have consolidated information which, when made accessible to the public, should work two ways: in generating transparency between the government and the citizens, and in strengthening the trust between two parties. The economic benefits of data sharing are not very well known but are highly profitable. However, it is essential to reach out to people on various levels for feedbacks and new insights into the data generated and stored with the governments. Some of the activities included within this category are:
- Collating and maintaining open public registers (Phone directories and helpline numbers)
- Sharing data within the government sectors for a cross-domain collaboration
Governing bodies with successful capability engagement rates work on four levels of enablers to accelerate the digital transformation. The strategies depict the opportunities and solutions that technology can offer for the proposed problems. The governance and organizational models are designed to map to the goals of digitization and include funding mechanisms. The leadership and the talent group include hiring the right workforce to bring the plan into action. And, the technology section involves not just implementing the proposed plan with appropriate technology but also looking for prospects, technology-wise, for agile and sturdy systems.
Solutions to go around a particular capability or the designing of a new project come under the strategies. It looks after the necessities of the people, focusing mainly on their experience with the problem and studying any previous records of the proposed solution.
2. Governance and Organization
This section handles the legal, financial, and the regulatory aspects of the proposed project. It approves the goals of the system, mapping them directly with the results expected. The governance structures also accounts for the scale, the pace, and the tenure of the project, for optimizing the workforce. Funding and financial aid handling are carried out and appropriate rules and regulations are set to ensure efficient management of the new system in the society.
3. Leadership Talent and Culture
With everything approved, this part comes into the picture for deploying the right kind of resources for the culmination of the proposed system. Talent in the form of engineers, scientists, researchers, analysts, technical workers for the tasks all come under this category. Usually, this section opens up new opportunities for technical implementation in the country. Programs are designed to attract and retain more digital workers to speed up the process.
The final stage of bringing about digital transformation of a particular capability, the technology section covers everything that comes under the typical technical requirements of a system. From looking out for the right kind of technology to implementing it in a two-way manner, government bodies engage in agile technical schemes that can be migrated or morphed into advanced versions, down the line. Ways to secure and control the data is also a major consideration here.
A lot of government bodies are already on their way to digital transformation. For countries starting out, following a careful analysis of the problems and their solutions is a good way to get around the process. There is a lot on the technological table to offer us for our problems. With such a variety in the available technology, it is essential that countries select the most befitting approach to tackle the problem at hand. Eventually, all technology integration does is save resources to be implemented someplace else. So, no matter what technology you adopt, the final goal of generating an algorithmic government may be challenging but digitally, financially, and politically rewarding for both the country and its citizens.