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E-government makes way for digital government

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Most governments have already picked the low-hanging fruit of single-function “fix my pothole” applications, and will need to stretch higher to deliver integrated, citizen-focused services, according to global analyst firm Ovum.
In the new “2016 Trends to Watch report on Government Technology”, the independent technology analyst firm identifies a number of key trends that will impact the government technology market in 2016, including:
* Many agencies are moving past e-government, automating existing processes, and toward digital government, where new processes of government are developed.
* Cost-effective end-user analytics tools can make evidence-based policy achievable.
* Agile government IT organizations require agile supporting business processes.
* Citizen identity is critical to seamless digital government services.
Al Blake, principal analyst: public sector at Ovum and author of the report, says: “First-generation e-government initiatives focused on automating existing government processes. We are now seeing a shift to rethinking the business of government and linking processes to deliver a digital experience.”
Blake adds that in most cases the technically easy options have been delivered, asking: “Does the world need any more ‘fix my pothole’ apps?”
While “evidence-driven policy” has often been an aspirational goal, a number of technical developments are bringing it closer to reality. “The increasing availability of massive processing power, coupled with intuitive end-user interfaces and ‘pay as you go’ delivery offerings, puts analytical capabilities at the fingertips of policy-makers and planners that would have been unthinkable a few years ago. This is a real game changer,” Blake says.
However, the report also highlights that responding to the demands of citizens and politicians for faster results requires organisation-wide change. “There is not much point in having an agile IT unit if your procurement, recruitment, and budgeting processes still take months,” says Blake.
Critical to the delivery of next-generation seamless services is solving the digital identity challenge, an issue closely linked to culture. Many countries, with a history of paper ID systems, cannot understand what the fuss is about, “while others have been politically burned trying to introduce such systems and have to manage citizen suspicion and pushback. Countries that resolve that challenge sooner will move ahead of the pack in digital government,” concludes Blake.