The use of technology in government has been around for decades, but its future looks increasingly promising as technology continues to transform the way governments interact with citizens and deliver services.
Regardless of how the term “Government Technology (GovTech)” came into use, it seems that it can be traced back to the early days of computing, when governments began using computers to manage their administrative tasks. However, the term “GovTech” was probably coined only in the 1990s when governments began to recognize the potential of technology to transform public services.
The rise of the internet in the 1990s and 2000s led to an explosion of GovTech innovation, as governments around the world began to explore new ways of using technology to deliver public services more efficiently and effectively. In the early days, most GovTech startups focused on improving government websites and providing online services, such as online tax filing and permit applications.
In the mid-2000s, a new wave of GovTech innovation emerged with the rise of open data and the development of mobile technologies. This led to the creation of new apps and platforms that enabled the public to access government data and services on their smartphones and tablets.
More recently, the GovTech sector has continued to grow and evolve, with a focus on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT), in addition to the ever-growing use of smartphones. Governments are increasingly turning to these technologies to address complex challenges, such as business registration, tax collection, national IDs, and public safety. Recent figures indicate that government IT spending worldwide could reach close to $600 billion in 2023.
“Another essential aspect of GovTech is data management. Governments have vast amounts of data at their disposal, ranging from census data to health records, and everything in between. By using data analytics and machine learning, governments can gain insights into this data that can help them make informed decisions and improve services. Security and privacy are also critical considerations in GovTech. Governments must ensure that citizens’ data is secure and protected from cyber threats. They must also maintain transparency and ensure that citizens’ data is not misused.”
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What does the future of GovTech look like?
The future of GovTech looks promising as technology continues to transform the way governments interact with citizens and deliver services. Mr. Glodas lays out some potential developments in GovTech that we may see in the coming years:
Increased use of AI: Governments are likely to increasingly adopt AI-powered solutions such as ChatGPT for various tasks, including streamlining processes, providing information, improving customer service, analyzing data, and assisting in emergency response. This could lead to more efficient and effective delivery of government services.
Mobile Government (m-Gov): The current global smartphone penetration level is estimated at around 70%. Although mobile devices are only one of many forms of accessing smartly crafted digital services, m-Government is definitely a game-changer in the ever-evolving digital world where governments must keep pace with technology to meet citizens’ needs. m-Government presents opportunities to improve service delivery, foster transparency, ensure accountability, and engage the public. Several countries, including Kenya, Indonesia, and Pakistan, have successfully implemented m-Government initiatives, offering citizens access to government services and information.
Growth of blockchain technology: There are several ways in which blockchain technology can assist governments in improving their services. One of the major benefits is its ability to provide secure and transparent record-keeping for government transactions, which could help to prevent corruption and increase accountability. Blockchain can also help governments streamline processes by eliminating intermediaries and reducing administrative overhead. Other advantages include fraud prevention, data security, and a general improvement in service delivery.
Greater emphasis on open data: Open data initiatives have been gaining momentum in recent years, and this trend is likely to continue. Open data can be a powerful tool for governments to improve services and elevate clarity and accountability. This is done by increasing transparency, allowing for data-driven decision making, improving efficiency by reducing duplication of effort, and improving interoperability such as collaboration between government agencies.
Low-code platforms: Governments are rapidly shifting from custom-developed solutions to low-code platforms, enabling them to create a wide array of e-services, adjust them independently without sophisticated programming requirements and expertise, reduce time to market, and improve compliance with ever-changing laws.
Increased focus on cybersecurity: As governments increasingly digitize their operations, cybersecurity will become even more important. Governments will need to invest in secure infrastructure and develop effective cybersecurity policies to protect their systems and data.
Mr. Glodas concludes that the future of GovTech looks bright, with many exciting developments on the horizon. Governments around the world are embracing innovation and leveraging new technologies to transform the way they deliver services and interact with citizens. “As we continue to move forward, it is essential that technology is used in a way that benefits everyone. By doing so, we can create a future where government services are more efficient, effective, and accessible than ever before.”