E-gov is a recent phenomenon that offers a number of benefits to both citizens and their governments – but what exactly is e-gov and how will it reshape the future of government?
In this article, we’ll explore key ideas related to e-gov solutions, its benefits and drawbacks, and how governmental e-services will impact tomorrow’s economy.
How E-Gov Solutions Will Affect Citizens
The term e-gov refers to the use of digital technology to provide public services to citizens.
Here are a few examples:
- Taxes. Doing taxes online has become popular in certain countries, since it is far easier and more convenient than doing taxes manually. TurboTax, for instance, is an easy-to-use software application that walks people through their taxes and allows them to file online. This platform, however, is privately owned. If it were government-owned, then it would fall under the e-gov category.
- Voting. Online voting software is used for a number of non-government elections, such as school elections or elections for private organizations. Though most countries do not use online voting for a variety of reasons, modern and emerging technology offers a great deal of promise in this area. For instance, blockchain elections could improve transparency and security.
- Other government services. There are countless other services offered by governments that could be moved online, from registering a company to applying for visas. It is also important to note that government-to-citizen services are not the only ones that can be digitalized. Government-to-government activities can also be digitalized, which can vastly improve efficiency and productivity.
Virtually any business process or service that can be digitalized in the private sector can also be digitalized in the government. Since many governments have yet to fully – or even partially – transform their services, we can look at e-services in general to understand how these could be applied in government.
E-Services Across Sectors
E-services include those services and solutions that are provided electronically, rather than “in analog.”
For instance, the following are a few instances that have become more common in today’s economy:
- Ecommerce. Ecommerce refers to online commercial activities, such as online shopping and retail transactions. Any of the processes involved with ecommerce – such as setting up online accounts, choosing products or services, and processing payments – can all be transferred and used by governments.
- SaaS. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms are software applications provided remotely to users. Web-based or cloud-based platforms are both hosted remotely, regularly updated, and paid for via subscription services. This allows organizations to deliver complex software services conveniently and easily, regardless of the end user’s hardware.
- Digital banking. Financial services have been slower to offer digital services to customers than some other industries. But this has changed in recent times with the introduction of digital banks, fintech, online payments, and other innovative solutions. These same applications can be used by governments in situations that require online payments and transactions.
Today, governments have been slow to adopt many of the concepts and services talked about so far.
There are several potential reasons for this. For instance, in the private sector, there is a financial incentive to research, develop, and innovate, while in governments, the incentive is much smaller.
This is not to say that there are no benefits to digital transformation in government, however. Governments that choose to adopt and implement e-gov solutions will see improved performance, effectiveness, communication, and efficiency, among other things.
In the coming years, benefits such as these will become increasingly more evident as technology continues to advance.
The Future of E-Gov
According to Deloitte, around 70% of governments lag behind the private sector when it comes to digital transformation.
Yet there are a number of potential innovations that could drive value in e-gov, so we should expect to see growth in the coming years.
A few of these include:
- Digital IDs. Digital IDs integrate citizen data, such as demographics, tax information, and biometric data, into a single digital identity. These can be used for a variety of purposes, from online authentication to fraud prevention.
- Artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence can be used to augment and improve a wide variety of government functions. The ethical use of AI can improve insights into government functions, the population, geopolitics, national security, and much more.
- Smart cities. Smart cities can be used alongside the other technologies covered above to make a wide number of improvements to citizens’ lives. These technology-driven cities are more environmentally friendly, they can improve public services and utilities, enhance public safety, and more.
- Citizens as customers. Deloitte has suggested that a digitally advanced government can drive more value by treating citizens as customers. With improved insights into their citizens lives, for instance, they will be better able to deliver more impactful and useful services.
Today, we are only beginning to scratch the surface of the potential value that can be offered by e-gov solutions.
As digital adoption drives transformation across the globe, however, we can almost certainly expect to see a revolution in the way that governments operate and provide services to their citizens.