Regardless of size or constituency, governments everywhere are typically struggling with similar issues that include chronic deficits and rising debt, low economic growth, climate change, shifting demographics, rapid social change, economic disparity and trust in public institutions. Safe to say that there are often more similarities than differences.

Smart, future-focused governments are already looking across borders and jurisdictions to acquire the vision, strategies, informed insights and best practices that other governments enduring similar circumstances can ideally provide in order to turn today’s challenges into tomorrow’s opportunities.

Adopting such a ‘global perspective’ that can exploit new forms of instructive collaboration with other governments and agencies will break through traditional barriers and accelerate reforms.

Critical new communication and problem-solving channels will also extend into the private sector to enhance policy making, program design and execution via a deep and sustained exchange of thinking, ideation and best practices.

Is your organization customer-centric?

Spotlight on innovators taking horizontal perspectives

In pursuing a global perspective and new pathways into the public and private sectors, governments gain a more ‘horizontal view’ of potentially ground-breaking insights, solutions and opportunities for digital transformation. Consider data sharing, for example. Many governments have traditionally operated under a ‘vertical legislation’ model that restricts data sharing. Placing customers at the center of government services will require a bold new capacity for secure data sharing both within and beyond government agencies.

Governments are also discovering how ‘intelligent automation’ underpinned by data, AI, robotics and analytics has the power to redefine government processes. On this front, KPMG’s data, artificial intelligence and emerging technology professionals are helping more organizations unlock critical new capabilities and insights.

In Australia, to better monitor fire-related risks, the New South Wales Rural Fire Service obtained a new fleet of portable automatic weather stations but had difficulty deciphering data that the equipment generated. The fire service worked with KPMG Australia to create a one-of-a-kind data solution that combines operational and management reporting using a human-centric design. The solution – called ‘Falcon’ – is a web-based command center that consolidates data from internal and external sources.

In the area of digital policy, India has been making strides. Its National e-Governance Plan1 is aimed at bringing all front-end government services online. The implementation of the Internet of Things gained impetus in 2015 through two major programs – the Smart Cities Mission2 and Digital India3. The Smart Cities Mission is a major urban-modernization program that includes innovative digital technology and IT infrastructure. Digital India is an initiative to make government services available to the public electronically via improved online infrastructure and connectivity

Small nations, monumental innovations

For instructive examples of just what’s possible, we might look no further than Estonia, New Zealand or Uruguay. These are a few of the jurisdictions now setting a torrid pace into the digital future of government as members of the Digital Nations4 initiative – a ground-breaking international forum of future-focused leaders. The mission statement of Digital Nations is to “lead digital government transformation for the benefit of citizens.”

Member nation Estonia has built what it boasts is “a digital society” featuring a secure and transparent digital ecosystem that is delivering 99 percent of government services online.5 The government has implemented multiple security protocols and tools to ensure digital identity protection and secure data exchange as public reliance on e-government grows.6

Uruguay, meanwhile, was expected to have 100 percent of its government services online and instantly accessible by the entire population this year.7 New Zealand is also moving ahead boldly. That nation’s new Public Service Act 2020 is designed to promote a unified public service that functions as one integrated team.8

Key takeaways

Modern governments should adopt a global, borderless perspective to problem-solving – one that encompasses public and private sectors for a revealing new ‘horizontal view’ that delivers revolutionary insights, solutions and opportunities for success.

Looking across borders to acquire the vision, strategies, informed insights and best practices of other governments and businesses will help governments to enhance their own local and domestic programs, solutions and services.


1 Government of India, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. (2018 January 30). National e-Governance Plan. 
2 Government of India, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. (2021) Smart City: Mission Transformation
3 Government of India, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. About Digital India
4 Digital Nations. (2020.) Who we are
Enterprise Estonia. (n.d.). We have built a digital society and can show you how
6 Petrone, J. (2021 January). Bad actors beware: Inside Estonia’s quest to ward off cyberattacks and identity theft. e-estonia. 
7 Uruguay Digital. (2020). The Agenda Uruguay Digital 2020
8 New Zealand Government. (2021). Public Service Act 2020 Factsheets. Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission.