August 2015: In our June and July briefings took the perspectives of businesses and consumers respectively in exploring the opportunities and challenges of navigating tomorrow’s digital landscape. This third and last part in our trilogy focuses on what digitalization and digital transformation means for governments. Ongoing technology changes are yielding productivity gains and driving innovation in the private sector, enhancing value and choice for the consumer. These consumers are citizens too – and as they become more digitally proficient and aware, it is critical that governments respond to the growing demand for innovative, convenient and cost-effective public services. Heavy, and often costly, government organizations need a new approach to delivering their services in a connected world, services that not only offer time and cost-saving alternatives to citizens but also make the public sector more efficient and agile. Digital technologies are a transformational force which if harnessed effectively can provide “game-changing” opportunities for governments. At the same, digitalization brings with it significant challenges that may make governments more vulnerable and complex to manage, whether guarding against an exponentially rising array of cyber attacks or developing new legislation fit for a connected world where borders are increasingly irrelevant and the ownership of personal digital information is unclear. The digitalization processes of government vary both in their objectives and their levels of sophistication. The OECD suggests that some governments can be categorized as E-Governments, which refers to the use by these governments of information and communication technologies (ICTs), and particularly the internet, as tools to achieve better government. Digital Governments, on the other hand, are defined by their use of digital technologies as an integrated part of modernization strategies to create public value. They rely on a digital government ecosystem comprised of government actors, non-governmental organizations, businesses, citizens’ associations and individuals which supports the production of and access to data, services and content through interactions with the government. (Source: OECD).
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