In a fast-paced world, global citizens expect quick, simple, and convenient access to government information and services. When referring to “going digital”, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has stressed the need to accomplish citizen well-being. Enhancing access, increasing effective use and social prosperity are among the goals of the proposed framework. The benefits of digitization also include improved internal efficiency and productivity, better collaboration among government departments, and reduced labor costs.
Digitalisation of Developing or Emerging Countries
Nevertheless, governments, and especially those in developing or emerging countries, face a plethora of obstacles in their path to digitalisation of public services. But, as a result of world events such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine and its devastating humanitarian crisis, it has become evident that the benefits of digitalisation of public services outweigh these challenges. Furthermore, most institutions do not necessarily have to start digitisation from scratch. Many of them do possess certain levels of digital amenities albeit users are rarely satisfied with the levels of service. Limited accessibility, an inadequate number of offered services, complex and semi-digital offerings requiring occasional in-person interactions, and a lack of interoperability are all factors affecting the current levels of service.
Success of Governmental Digitisation Project
Government projects intended to digitize processes related to business incorporation, registration, and reporting, childbirth or marriage registration, taxes and other payments, application for social security benefits, and countless others, are commonly complex to plan and execute and many of them are destined to fail. According to World Bank, fewer than 20% of digital government projects are a success.
Though there are many various factors that influence the success of any governmental digitization project, the first steps are crucial and it’s highly important to ensure they are done correctly.
The team of experts at NRD Companies addresses the shortcomings of many digitization projects and offers a “how to succeed” prescription and an introduction to the company’s three leading and streamlined principles — Measure. Target. Act.
Service Digitalisation Level Assessment tool
NRD Companies, a global group of information technology companies, specializing in the creation of GovTech and Fintech solutions and the provisioning of subject matter consultancy services, has recently launched a free of charge, intuitive, fast and easy to use Service Digital Maturity Assessment tool which is based on the European Union methodological approach, where a 5-level “Online Sophistication” measurement model is used to assess digital services levels. This model enables institutions to implement a quick and easy “diagnosis” of their service’s current status, and to define a vision for the future. However, the EU model was developed in 2001 and last reviewed (when “Level 5” was introduced) in 2010. NRD Companies updated the concepts and definitions of each of the levels, to include the progressive characteristics of digital services, and has provided simple examples to make the tool easy to understand and to apply in practice.
NRD Companies has formulated seven essential quality characteristics for “quality” digital services. It is user-oriented, based on service delivery process re-engineering and automated collection of various required data from various Governmental registers and information systems, accessible through a one-stop-shop and multichannel, related to the user’s “life-events”, based on the Government as a Platform concept (GaaP), and open to technological innovations
Ieva Zilioniene points out that these seven characteristics must be followed and realized, from the initial planning, the re-design stage of the existing processes to the implementation of the technological solutions. This enables institutions to focus their attention on the factors that make the result – the new digital service – a high quality one. To implement these characteristics, legal, organizational, procedural and technological changes must be implemented throughout the transformation process.
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“In our experience, governments often face enormous pressure to appease their constituents’ expectations regarding service delivery. Government reputation depends on its “digital appearance ” – the way it is represented digitally, through its portals, services, and interactions with citizens on-line. People expect to accomplish things easily when going digital. Such expectations are formed as a result of consumer dealings with global brands, the likes of Netflix, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Bolt and many others that offer timely and seamless customer experiences. And they want the same experience when they have to interact with their governments. That is why we have developed simple yet practical guidelines to help public sector representatives navigate through the public services digitization process, by making a good, well thought out start. The assessment tool helps define the existing status and provides guidelines for transformation. Of course, we always welcome the opportunity to help or lead this process as it is rather complicated but definitely worthwhile” concludes Zilioniene.
The online assessment, at the end of which users are provided with a maturity score is now freely available here.
Along with the score, institutions are also offered to download Practical Guidelines for starting the digitalisation of public services.