Transforming government for the digital era
By Martin Klein
How can physical and digital worlds merge? Can they share data and end unnecessary administrative steps? Can they create frictionless processes that save money, increase efficiency, and boost constituent satisfaction? In this tell-me-once blog, we’ll explore how all this is possible.
What if platforms shared data?
One must consider that the role of data is multidimensional. Data is valuable, but in a government setting, it is often repeated. Such redundant data storage is costly for several reasons. First, it requires server space, which means funds, labor, and space. Second, it means that governmental constituents must re-enter data at every step.
What if that data redundancy did not exist? Imagine a digital marketplace for modern government—creating simple, intelligent exchanges between buyers and sellers that enable transparency, fairness, and collaboration with employees and suppliers.
When you can visualize information, you do not need to store it: that task remains with the department that collected the data. This is an architecture of shared solutions and existing infrastructure, which saves taxpayer money. It’s a win-win experience for both citizens and government.
Combining shared tasks
Tasks are central to government operations. Whether the discussion involves vehicles or sensitive scientific instruments, data helps reduce redundancy and shows new correlations and insights that are not available without data sharing.
Suppose you have a citizen who needs help—they may need to go to the disability office to complete all required tasks. Then they need to go to another agency to complete step two of the process before they can begin to get help. This is a frustrating and labor-intensive process. Imagine that this process can occur in a single location. It can, and here’s how:
The process begins at agency 1, which has the capacity to access data at agencies 2, 3, 4, and 5. The process accelerates and two things occur: People receive faster service, and governments save money on labor.
This process works because of government technology. With secure online identification, citizens are able to utilize data from multiple agencies. The process works in a more secure way because data is not stored in a central database. The entire process sheds friction.
Government as a digital business makes sense. A government cloud, combined with analytics, help create a digital transformation.
Government and the Internet of Things
Building bridges that span governmental agencies is one part of the puzzle. Enabling government and businesses to do business efficiently is the other. Digital business already occurs in the public sector. The digital transformation of government involves an entire mind shift. The crux is the rate at which the public sector is digitizing business. The government has no choice but to follow suit.
The opportunity for governments is digitizing processes by default. Procedures become less about process and more about outcomes. Digital governments define outcomes with precise measurements. Those measurements allow easy assessment of programs, leadership, and outcomes. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, for example, is institutionalizing its OneUSDA digital strategy to improve digital services, move accountability forward, and maintain consistency between agencies and contractors.
The predictive nature of digital government
Imagine being able to see your entire agency in a constantly moving snapshot. Data-driven programs combined with government software enable real-time glimpses into efficiency. Such data allows government leaders and their teams to make informed decisions. Those decisions become based on real-time data rather than standard procedure.
Predictive software also helps manage potential issues before they occur, with government analytics serving as part of the digital process. Government can access data from sensors, (business) transactions, and unstructured data sources such as social media, documents, streaming media, and more, to continually analyze in real time. Leaders and managers use that data to identify and address issues while improving the process and efficiency for all involved.
Isn’t it time to decrease costs, improve constituent satisfaction, and accomplish more with less? Digital business and digital transformation are the tools that transform standardization to innovation.
Martin Klein is the global vice president and head of the Industry Business Unit for Public Sector at SAP. He is responsible for driving the company’s overall strategy for this industry, directing product and solution road maps, and leading go-to-market activities. Read about more about SAP’s perspective on digital government here.