The digital transformation of public administration


Jun 22, 2023

Digital Transformation is increasingly present in all our lives and will continue to be indispensable to any economy seeking to compete in the global market.

The relentless revolution that is digital transformation spans almost every area of our lives, from science to industry and education to culture and pharmaceuticals, among others. One of the fields most heavily affected by this transformation in the coming years will be public administration.

A 2017 World Economic Forum (WEF) report classifies governments as “Dinosaurs of the Digital Age: Slow, Lumbering and Outdated.” According to the WEF’s 2016 Networked Readiness Index, which measures digital progress, the gap between the growth in ICT use by individuals and government involvement in the digital economy has been widening. In other words, even with the advances made in recent years, the public sector still has a long way to go.

As such, we’re providing a list of areas in which governments can harness the benefits of technology:

• Customer experience

Users expect public services to be as personalised and efficient as those provided by the private sector. Governments should seek to improve the quality of their services, promote transparent and efficient interactions, increase public trust, and boost citizen satisfaction by providing their services 24x7x365. Data Analytics enables governments to use data collected from people and devices to improve services. Digital platforms and social media are also replacing traditional government interaction channels with positive results.

• The optimisation of public investment gains

Digital technologies create opportunities to explore new service delivery models, improve resource management through smarter spending, and link money invested in programs and services to outcomes from which citizens can benefit, increasing accountability and trust.

• Public Safety

Governments are responsible for protecting their citizens from various threats, therefore allowing them to live and work free of fear. Digitalisation, however, can be both an obstacle and a resource in helping them provide the protection necessary.

On the one hand, new vulnerabilities emerge as governments embrace digital technologies and become more interconnected with partner organisations and smart devices, which can, unfortunately, be exploited by cyber-attacks. Terrorists and hackers compromise every government’s ability to provide essential public services and ensure the smooth running of society, including the electoral process.

On the other, digital technologies and better data sharing also provide sophisticated means with which to combat threats. Defence organisations are increasingly investing in AI, cyberweapons and threat detection programmes, cybersecurity devices, robotics and digital tools in a bid to become more agile and effective.

Governments must also harness the power of cloud computing to increase their computing power to support secure biometric identification programmes and provide secure payment platforms for use by citizens.

• Public sector working capacity and the future of work

Economic growth, social cohesion and equal opportunities are all reliant on a skilled workforce being ready to meet the needs of 21st-century employers. Governments need to invest in and optimise their staff’s skills for greater efficiency, to increase “customer” focus and boost diversity and inclusion. As governments prepare their workforces for the digital age, they must consider the long-term implications of technological changes - such as automation and AI - on the future of work, the economy and society at large.  

• Societal and economic functioning

Many of the fundamental challenges faced by governments nowadays - urbanisation, globalisation, pollution, water scarcity, and climate change - can be addressed by developing smart infrastructures such as connected cars, electric vehicles, smart energy grids, energy-efficient buildings, and Internet of Things (IoT) networks. An intelligent infrastructure leverages the latest technologies for maximum value and efficiency, building both resilience and sustainability.

Governments must also develop policies to encourage a thriving digital economy. This involves working with private companies to provide 5G networks and data centres, foster high levels of digital literacy among citizens, promote digital inclusion, and enable secure access to services through digital identification systems.

grupoGBI has established itself as a pioneer of digital solutions across Brazil and Portugal’s public and private sectors. To do so, we developed our portfolio of technological solutions and trained our teams to support public administrations through their digital transformation, enabling them to provide higher quality public services to meet 21st-century needs, ensuring they are safe, efficient and aligned with taxpayers’ expectations.

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