From receiving benefits, accessing health records, registering companies, applying for licenses, to voting – digital technology can make these things instantly accessible, intuitive to navigate and less expensive to deliver. So, what will it take to make governments digital?

A modern digital ecosystem that positions government to provide any service to any person or business on any platform using any device will be a key enabling factor. And that will require four key components – a centralized data-exchange platform; secure online identification authentication; modern legislation governing data use and sharing; and new and upskilled talent who can work with and support emerging technologies that deliver a seamless customer experience to the citizen.

Governments that possess these game-changing innovations will likely position themselves for success in a new era of capabilities, demands and expectations. The challenge for government includes abandoning the traditional continuum of working in silos, hiring in silos and procuring in silos – replacing it with a services model that’s designed ‘from the outside in’ to place customers at the center of a complete digital ecosystem that makes the most of data to unlock timely insights and evidence-based decision-making.

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Shared technology and data platforms that span governmental agencies and enable the rapid and reliable delivery of connected services to the public should be key priorities. This will include increased migration to the cloud, development of modern enterprise architectures, implementation of robotics and intelligent automation, and the adoption of agile methods for software development.

We believe that the public sector can mirror the ground-breaking customer experiences being delivered by the private sector today. Success hinges on a changed mindset as to what is achievable – and a precise understanding of how to get there through new technologies and ways of working.

Staying afloat at the deep end of the data pool

Consumer data continues to proliferate amid society’s rapid embrace of ubiquitous digital platforms, devices, apps and cloud services offering instant access to an expanding universe of online shopping, banking services, health-and-fitness resources, social media and more.
Governments have also jumped into the deep end of the data pool, if you will, compiling an endless array of information related to personal and business taxes, health, employment, benefits, education, immigration, licensing and permits, and beyond.

Today’s challenge lies in building public trust in the government’s use of data, as doubts clearly remain concerning public trust in governments’ data management.

Trust in government becomes critical

As governments continue to build immense databases, their ability to implement technology, data and analytics to create personalized, customer-centric service models will certainly demand more-trusted government stewardship of all public data.

According to KPMG’s 2020 Global Customer Experience Excellence report, 98 percent of customers are concerned about their personal data and what happens to it. KPMG research in the US, meanwhile, shows that local, state and federal government services have room for improvement, with just 44 percent of survey respondents saying they trust government employees.

A 2020 Citizen Experience Survey by the Australian government, meanwhile, found that just 37 percent of Australians reported having trust in Australian Public Services, an increase of 6 percent from 2019.

Many governments will also need to address the fact that they remain unable to unlock the promise of using data for more-effective operations because they have legislation in place that severely restricts data sharing.

Innovators in the spotlight

Below are a few examples of how various jurisdictions are making progress to provide the public with unprecedented levels of access to data and government resources online.

India has facilitated new levels of data sharing across its central, state and local governments during the pandemic and this innovation is expected to continue beyond the current health and economic emergencies.

In Denmark, to ensure that legislation closely aligns with its digital and economic strategy, authorities must assess the commercial and economic consequences of new regulation against a set of “five principles for agile regulation of trade and industry.” Estonia has an information system for the drafting of legislation that enables transparent preparation of policy documents, draft laws and regulations.

New Zealand is also moving to enact faster legislative changes that will accelerate delivery of public services. In Australia, that nation’s Digital Transformation Agency is consulting with the public and business on innovative laws designed to support the launch of its digital-identity program.

In the US, the Internal Revenue Service is planning a modernized, digital case-management
system that will allow taxpayers to access information faster and more reliably.

Key takeaways

Governments should use data and technology for evidence-based insights and decision making that will help them effectively identify, respond to and anticipate public needs and expectations.

To improve internal operations and encourage trusted data sharing, governments should inevitably implement stringent cyber-security protocols.