As COVID-19 has swept the globe, it has sent many public sector organizations into crisis mode. The response from government agencies and departments has been impressive as they moved to handle these circumstances with a speed that few would have thought possible.
For public sector technology, the COVID-19 crisis can be seen as a large beta test. In their response to the pandemic, departments and agencies have seen what using digital tools can do. Now, as we slowly begin to recover, it’s the agencies that don’t go back to business as usual but embrace the potential of digital platforms that will best serve their citizens through the turbulent and uncertain times ahead.
The emergence of the digital platform in government
The concept of a digital platform for government is not new. In fact, Gartner has estimated that, by 2023, over 80% of government digital implementations that don’t build on a technology platform will fail to meet objectives.
What is new is the breadth of what a digital platform for government can deliver. Government organizations can now benefit from a single, fully integrated information management platform that can be fully tailored to their business, operational, regulatory and policy needs. Some – such as those built on a low-code application development platform like OpenText™ AppWorks™ – contain a comprehensive range of standard processes pre-configured for government. This means that staff can be more efficient and new services and processes can be brought on-stream quickly and cost-effectively.
Using a digital platform provides staff with a single point of access to all relevant information and documentation. That’s also true for partners and citizens. Most platforms can integrate with portals or quickly create their own portals and access points to enable citizens to get to the information they need. Increasing self-service capabilities will be an important element of improving service quality while reducing the costs of delivering the service.
Importantly, digital platforms stretch across departments and agencies, enabling improved collaboration and information sharing. This enables a citizen to receive multiple services through a single touchpoint and facilitates the reuse of technical components across agencies. This not only improves similar processes in different departments but can also dramatically reduce the time, cost and effort in bringing new services to the citizen.
By implementing a platform infrastructure, agencies can work closely with partners to reduce the cost of innovation while accelerating the speed of delivery. Importantly, the central platform can deliver the highest levels of security, data privacy and compliance needed to facilitate this type of information sharing across an ecosystem of government agencies, partners and citizens.
Every challenge is an opportunity
I think that public sector organizations can be forgiven for viewing the future with a degree of trepidation right now. Budgets are tight and they’ll remain so for a long time. At the same time, citizens will continue to demand more from their digital services and more innovation for their government agencies.
A single, unified digital platform for government can change the balance. It can help improve the speed and quality of services while helping minimize costs and optimize processes.
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