What guides the expanding digital government societies in Europe? With the accelerated adoption of digital transformation in the public sector, there comes the need to define the values of digitalisation for the future. This was the main purpose of The Berlin Declaration that was signed by the EU Member States.

What are the values of the digital government societies? According to the Berlin Declaration the main digital government values are:

  1. Validity and respect of fundamental rights and democratic values in the digital sphere;
  2. Social participation and digital inclusion to shape the digital world;
  3. Empowerment and digital literacy, allowing all citizens to participate in the digital sphere;
  4. Trust and security in digital government interactions, allowing everyone to navigate the digital world safely, authenticate and be digitally recognised within the EU conveniently;
  5. Digital sovereignty and interoperability, as a key in ensuring the ability of citizens and public administrations to make decisions and act self-determined in the digital world;
  6. Human-centred systems and innovative technologies in the public sector, strengthening its pioneering role in the research on secure and trustworthy technology design;
  7. A resilient and sustainable digital society, preserving our natural foundations of life in line with the Green Deal and using digital technologies to enhance the sustainability of our health systems.

For government CIOs the most significant parts of The Berlin Declaration are point 6 and 7.

Human centred systems and innovative technologies in the public sector

The end users of public services are the citizens. In terms of accelerated transformation rate, the speed of digital adoption must put the end user’s need first. If we have a well functioning digital infrastructure and everyone in the internal work process is well trained, does that mean that the end users will also be able to include themselves in this flow?

Let’s elaborate on this question and look at some Canalix examples. Imagine that lockdown in EU is over and all of the food facilities are allowed to reopen in 10 days. Some of them will have to go through regulatory inspection to be permitted to work again. How exactly thousands of regulated facilities will be inspected in such a short time?

Digitally transformed regulatory regimes can allow subjects to regulation to perform self-inspections and facilitate the inspection process. But for that, the digital inspection platform must have an operational capacity to offer functional interaction with this specific user role.

Following this example, the needs of the users who request self-inspection can be answered with self-submission portals. After submitting required data to eGovernment portal, the information can be processed against set of criteria and rules that can categorise each food facility with complexity level. This categorisation gives visibility on which inspection entities can be assigned with self-inspection (the law complexity ones) and which require on-site visit by inspector (high complexity ones).

Related: How to formulate good digital transformation strategy in regulatory agency?

Technologies needed for achieving human-centric eGovernment services

Ensuring a human centric digital infrastructure that includes everyone means that there are technologies that are needed to achieve that. Let’s look through Canalix’ perspective again and try to determine what those technologies are.

Data-driven automation in e-governance

Following the example from above, data-driven automation is the technology that can ensure the fast processing of self-submitted inspection data. The low complexity inspection cases can be assigned to self-inspection process in zero time, while the high complexity ones can be automatically assigned to inspectors for on-site visit.

AI for smart government services

Another technology that can facilitate the reopening of the EU economy is Artificial Intelligence. For instance, how do we ensure the optimized performance of on-site inspection on high complexity inspection cases? With the help of AI inspection scheduling and planning can be optimized in a way that will allow inspectors to travel less and cover more inspection ground.

To do smart allocation of cases means to calculate inspectors skillset together with other variables like location and risk level. With this information at store, AI can come up with the most optimal inspection route. The benefits of such inspection optimisation are many, but the most important one is that inspectors can use their time smarter.

Data-driven automation and AI enhanced inspection management can transform the regulatory regime, but also many other public sector areas. Their effect can lead to optimising the costs of government agencies for their process. Something that is going to be very valuable in the economic recovery of the EU.

Resilient and sustainable digital society

Point 7 from the Berlin Declaration is about sustainability in the development of digital society. The aforementioned example with Canalix is also a good illustration of sustainability. Reducing of the carbon footprint and optimised resource utilisation is a direct effect of adopting digital transformation solution in areas like inspection management, but also in many other.

Summary

Now let’s summarise! There are components that government CIOs should include in their digital transformation roadmap, so that their efforts can be in line with the future of digital governance outlined in the Berlin Declaration. These components are:

– Fully functional end-to end digital infrastructure
– Self-submission portals where citizens can perform self-service on law complexity requests
– Rules and data-driven automation to ensure that fast processing of gathered data
– AI to optimise scheduling, planning and resource utilization

The synergy between these components is at the heart of human centric digital society with sustainable long-term perspective. Are you a government CIO looking for digital inspection solution in line with the EU’s vision for e-governance? Contact us.

Comparing governments with businesses has always helped individuals to understand the concept of government better. It’s the same when it comes to comparing digital transformation in enterprises with eGovernment transformation. In both cases we have a big structure that is divided on different department levels – finances, social care, justice, food safety, road safety, etc. However, in terms of complexity there will always be one winner – and it’s the government.

How complexity differs in businesses and governments?

Businesses are serving the market and make their decisions with the goal of extracting a benefit from the market. Governments are beyond that – they serve both the public and the business and have a regulatory function to make decisions based on information that is gathered with paperwork or e-government services. That’s why we talk about whole other level of complexity.

If we take a close look at different levels within a government we will be able to gain a clear picture on the complexity we’re talking about. Let’s take for an example the structure of the government financial management. If a business doesn’t plan budgets wisely and doesn’t take financial decisions based on objectives like cost-efficiency, then the business will collapse. It’s the same with the public sector. That’s why financial systems have streamlined processes and principles that ensure the financial vitality of an organization.

Related: How to approach cost-efficient cloud adoption in governments?

If a closed eco-system like a small or medium business starts automating their financial management process by process, then we will have a classic digital transformation plan in action. Things in governments are a little bit more complicated. It’s simply so because the complexity of governments requires from the IT decision makers, CIOs and functional leaders the look further in the picture.

Why government CIOs need to look further in the digital transformation picture?

Let’s take for an example a social care regulator. Digital transformation in such structure will start by transforming the internal processes: first automating case management operations, then the inspection management processes, etc. The next stage of transformation will capture the processes with external agents by building up self-service portals. The self-service portals might serve the needs of the Ministry of social care at first and then expand to serving citizens. At certain point the social care bodies will have too much portals to work with. This is the moment when the CIO must come with a solution to integrate the automated processes and move every service under the same roof. This is what we call a fully functional eGovernment platform. To realise the full potential of this concept, CIOs must be able to look far in the digital transformation picture.

Transforming one process may catalyse big transformation across the economy

In times where changes happen fast, public finances are concerned with issues such as cost optimisation and efficient allocation of public money. E-government solutions are common means to achieve this. However, the transformation can’t encompass all government areas at once. It always starts with a single process and ends up transforming the whole ecosystem. In terms of where transformation in the public sector starts from, it always starts with the biggest areas of expenditures. These might be: social care and health, food safety, construction, financial regulations, etc.

Read more: How to set an eGovernment strategy?

So if we look for an answer to the big question how to drive digital transformation across all government services, we must stick to the old rule: start with a strategy. Then do things process by process. Make a long-term plan and create a team that will help you achieve this.

Are you looking for an eGovernment platform that will allow you to integrate automated services like case management and inspection management? Contact us.