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Driving citizen value: Reinventing the government wheel

Published: April 12th, 2018 By: Suzanne Robicheau

IBM

Governments have beefed up their websites, released mobile apps, and embraced new technologies, yet they struggle to keep pace with what people want. Despite their best efforts at digital transformation, the gap between what citizens expect and what processes allow requires more than re-engineering. The key to e-government transformation is a fundamental rethinking of systems and culture.

Instead of tailoring large, packaged applications, smart governments are turning to new, cloud-based services to reduce implementation risks and advance digital reinvention. By designing these services to suit user experience, and delivering them anywhere, anytime, and on any device, governments are demonstrating a commitment to putting people first. Unlike re-engineering a single design, agile methods drive reinvention and adaptability by rapidly building, testing, and refining new citizen services.

Change isn’t easy, but with 75 per cent of the workforce estimated to be digitally native by 2025, it is necessary. As baby boomers retire to the comfort of their stocks and their docks, they are steadily being replaced by a new generation of workers who want to make the world a better place. These millennial optimists are counting on government to provide the digital tools to enhance their efforts, improve their work experience, and protect their personal information.

An IBM white paper, “Digital Reinvention: Rethinking the business of government,” describes the critical importance of digital reinvention in addressing the moving target of citizen expectations. “True digital reinvention,” it says, will:

  • Improve citizen interactions and engagement for greater trust in government
  • Improve the decision making of civil servants for maximum impact and leaner operations
  • Attract and retain the workforce of the future

The IBM white paper makes it clear that the sentiment “good enough for government” is no longer good enough. The ultimate goal for government is to provide the same seamless, digital service that is now ubiquitous for financial institutions, airport operations, and online retailers. Happily, it doesn’t all have to happen at once. Digital reinvention can begin by chunking ambitious projects into smaller, manageable pieces that are then refined over time.

“Think big. Start small. And innovate quickly,” are three of the major takeaways from Digital Reinvention: Rethinking the business of government. The secret to this new approach to transformation, according to the white paper, is a consistent architecture to access a breadth of digital technologies, and a resilient and secure hybrid cloud platform for developing new services.

Millennials are unlikely to have watched the TV series Cheers, so may not be aware of the scenes in which patrons at a neighbourhood bar greet a character called Norm with a rowdy recitation of his name. This new generation, however, is all too familiar with the importance of being recognized as an individual and not by a number.

Download Digital Reinvention: Rethinking the business of government for more information on how technological advances have raised the expectations around how citizens interact with government organizations. Whether renewing a licence, applying for a passport, paying a fine, or registering a birth, people have a long list of what they like and what they don’t. Addressing these lists is an important step in changing the culture of government by creating citizen-centric services.