How the Public Sector is Approaching Digital Around the Globe

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Organizations in a variety of different industries are making strides in transforming key workflows to digital. For government entities, however, this process can be more challenging.

 

Public sector agencies typically serve vastly larger customer and employee bases. These organizations must also comply with complex regulatory requirements that have institutionalized time-consuming paper processes and frustrating experiences for customers and employees. In this blog we take a look at how governments around the world are making the transition to digital.

Approve once, use many times

In the U.S., the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, or FedRAMP, is a government-wide program initiated in 2012 that provides a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services. This cross-agency collaboration saves an estimated 30-40% of government costs, as well as both time and staff, by eliminating redundant agency security assessments.

All cloud providers that are authorized or in the process of obtaining authorization are listed in the FedRAMP Marketplace, a database where government agencies can learn more about available cloud services and the other government agencies that are using them. The FedRAMP program has accelerated the time it takes cloud providers to obtain authorization to sell to government by approximately 60 percent, down to six months. Larger U.S. agencies are using at least 20 different authorized cloud services through the FedRAMP program. At the same time there is still work to be done, as many smaller agencies are still hesitant to adopt cloud solutions and may also have limited budget to do so.

Guiding principles for digital transformation

In April 2016, the European Commission, as part of its Digital Single Market strategy published its second action plan, EU eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020, aimed at reducing the administrative burden for citizens and businesses, while facilitating greater mobility throughout the EU. The plan outlines key principles to ensure that future eGovernment initiatives deliver significant benefits for businesses, citizens and public administrations themselves. The principles act as guidelines for public administrations across all EU member states:

  • Digital by default: deliver services digitally as the preferred option.
  • Once only: ensure that citizens and businesses supply the same information only once to a public administration.
  • Inclusiveness and accessibility: design digital public services that are inclusive by default and cater for different needs such as those of the elderly and people with disabilities.
  • Openness and transparency: share information and data between governments and enable citizens and businesses to access, control, and correct their own data.
  • Cross-border by default: make relevant digital public services available across borders and prevent further fragmentation to arise, thereby facilitating mobility within the Single Market.
  • Interoperability by default: public services should be designed to work seamlessly across the Single Market and across organizational silos, relying on the free movement of data and digital services in the European Union.
  • Trustworthiness & Security: All initiatives should go beyond mere compliance with the legal framework on personal data protection and privacy, and IT security, by integrating those elements in the design phase.

The EU is also focused on simplifying government procurement. The objective is that by 2018, companies will be able to bid for public procurement contracts anywhere in the European Union electronically and by 2019 e-Invoicing will be accepted by public administrations in the EU.

Interagency collaboration

New Zealand’s Government Chief Technology Officer, Tim Occleshaw, recently discussed his country’s digital government journey at the Canberra OpenGov Leadership Forum 2017. New Zealand developed its first digital strategy five years ago to address a disparate array of government agencies all acting independently in assessing, procuring, building, and running technology projects, as well as managing security, privacy and risk.

Occleshaw implemented a collaborative approach between his office and government agencies, working with each agency as they develop their strategies, investment plans, and procurement requests. The Department of the Interior, where the CTO’s office resides, also accompanies agencies when they go to Cabinet for approval on procurement of new technologies. Occleshaw’s team also developed standards for privacy, assurance, and architecture. In a similar structure to the U.S. FedRAMP Marketplace, New Zealand has a catalog of shared ICT services consumed by more than 170 agencies, as well as government-wide agreements with major suppliers including Microsoft, AWS, Oracle and others. Occleshaw estimates these shared standards and procurement efforts have so far delivered $107M per year in savings. And most importantly, government agencies can offer New Zealand citizens a greater degree of trust and an improved customer experience that allows them to interact, engage and transact with the government when and how they want to.

While the digital transformation process may be more complex in the public sector, governments around the globe are realizing the ability of digital to deliver a superior experience for citizens and businesses, as well as reduce the time and cost of government.

 

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