Why Do Governments Embrace Smart Strategies For A Digital Makeover?
<p>Governments across the globe, and especially many closer to home, are trying to quickly adapt to the growing digital savviness of their citizens. Such evolution is a necessity because if they want to match up to becoming a Smart City, they need to offer ‘smart’ services to its citizens to keep them satisfied.</p><p>The question that every public service IT leader needs to ask is: are our services ‘smart’?</p><p>Some of the most common conversations I have with government clients revolve around how citizens expect to be treated as though they were the customers of a brand. That is because in modern life citizens have grown accustomed to the experiences delivered by the private sector, and therefore expect the same quality and standard from government agencies.</p><p>Traditionally, government agencies have offered “off-the-shelf services,” but today, we are starting to see increasingly citizen-centric services designed to anticipate, understand, and meet needs across the different stages of the citizen’s lives. That is what it means to be ‘smart’.</p><p>The trouble is that most organizations tend to blur the lines between digital and digitized services and as a result falling short of full digital transformation. I will tell you what I usually say when this dilemma arises: a digital agency does not mean a digitally transformed agency. To bridge that gap, government leaders need to apply something of an ‘image makeover’, or more accurately, an experience makeover, to renew engagement in government services.</p><p>Taking a page from the textbook of brand revamps from private sector giants like Apple, Amazon and Netflix, government agencies too can get a new-age makeover to change the way they serve citizens and in turn, the way they are perceived and trusted.</p><p>The revolutionary steps taken by Dubai come to mind as an example. The emirate has made good on its nickname “City of the Future” by taking ambitious steps using technology to meet and exceed the expectations of its residents through several initiatives in partnership with IBM.</p><p>The Smart Dubai Office, together with Dubai government entities, enabled existing digital government services to become cognitive. Traditionally time-consuming government services of visa applications, bill payments and license renewals, which account for more than 100 million documents each year, are all undergoing complete digitization. All these records will be securely transacted using a blockchain. Meanwhile, many citizens have already interacted with DubaiNow, the first unified Dubai government services smart app which offers more than 55 smart services from 22 government entities, and RASHID, Dubai government’s first intelligent assistant. Powered by IBM Watson, Rashid talks in local languages and has assisted entrepreneurs with real-time responses to topics like business licensing and regulatory processes.</p><p>The lesson to be learnt from Dubai’s successful digital transformation is that to maintain relevancy they have chosen to implement digital solutions to serve its residents better and that keeps them moving forward into the digital era and not stand still, or worse, move backward.</p><p>But there is another important lesson here: digital transformation is not the end-goal, it’s a journey. It requires an inside-out overhaul of systems and services and will impact services users and government employees alike to make way for a constant cycle of improvement and innovation. It is a cycle that’ll see you optimize your business model while constantly refining your infrastructure. When organized into user-friendly steps, digital transformation offers a concrete strategy for understanding and incorporating change.</p><p>Much like an image makeover.</p><p>What my team and I do is help government organizations choose the right look for their makeover. We evaluate their path to digital maturity, using new philosophies, models, and processes that pave the way for a new way of thriving in the digital world. Whether it is data strategy, data processing, cognitive capabilities, managing day-to-day digital forms, surveys, and payments - a digitally empowered government will go beyond simply automating manual processes.</p><p>As the shifting role of digitally transformed governments suggest, citizens will help drive such agencies to modernize and work with other agencies to integrate systems and applications across platforms.</p><p>The question is: Is your agency ready for a digital makeover? And where do you even begin?</p><p> </p>