What is e-gov and how will it affect the business world?
For years, electronic services (e-services) have been transforming business, the economy, and the way we live.
Governments have yet to implement e-services en masse, but digitally-powered services can deliver significant value to citizens, countries, and governments alike, so that may change in the near future.
Before looking at the future of e-gov, however, let’s define the term clearly.
What Is E-Gov?
E-gov, or electronic government, refers to the use of digital technology to provide services, rather than analog technology, such as paper and fax machines.
These services encompass all possible government audiences, including:
- Intra-government agencies
- Government employees
- Other governments
- Commercial entities
As with e-services in the commercial sector, e-gov services can encompass a wide range of areas, such as:
- Applications for government assistance
- Communication between parties
- Civic participation
- Performing standard business activities, such as finance, procurement, or PR
- Digital identity management
Today, many governments lag behind the private sector in the implementation of e-services, but this will likely change as we move into the post-COVID next normal.
After all, e-services benefit both the institution offering them as well as the recipient of those services.
For governments, for instance, those benefits can include:
- Higher quality services
- Lower costs for service provision
- Improved profitability
- Increased efficiency and productivity
Benefits such as these, combined with the increasingly digital nature of the modern economy, will fuel the grow of e-gov in the years to come.
As e-gov grows, in turn, we can expect to see a number of changes in the way governments operate, the way they communicate with citizens, and the business landscape.
How Will E-Gov Impact the Business World?
Digital transformation refers to the use of digital technology to innovate, create new forms of value, and ultimately transform businesses. We have experienced this firsthand in the commercial sector, for instance, with the rise of tech companies such as Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google.
Despite the slower growth curve, we can expect to see governments undergo digital transformation as well.
The adoption of e-gov processes will then, in turn, affect the business landscape in a number of ways. Here are a few trends to watch for in the coming years:
- New industries and opportunities. Governments are powerful forces that shape and even fuel the growth of many industries. During the COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, governments instituted public health measures which then fueled the growth of a number of health-related fields, such as mask producers. The same will be true as governments adopt e-gov solutions, which will prompt the growth of industries such as digital identity solutions.
- Digital identities. Prior to the digital revolution, citizens’ identities were managed via analog processes and documents. Social security cards, identification cards, and birth certificates, for instance, were all managed offline. As governments become more digital, however, they will digitalize more and more of these aspects of their citizens’ digital identities. Changes such as these can affect many private industries that use people’s identities, such as financial services or healthcare.
- Cybersecurity. The more that an organization uses digital technology, the greater the need for cybersecurity. It becomes even more crucial for agencies that handle sensitive data, such as financial information or other confidential information. Governments’ increased needs will naturally boost demand for cybersecurity solutions.
- The “citizen” experience. Customer experiences are important in business, but as governments adopt e-gov solutions, “citizen experiences” will become important as well. To ensure its electronic services are successful, governments will need to adopt a user-centered approach when designing their solutions. This has led some to suggest that governments will need to begin treating their citizens more like customers.
- Artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence (AI) is an emerging technology and many are still struggling to grasp its potential. When it comes to e-gov, AI can find use in many areas, from predictive intelligence to the automated optimization of e-services. Despite its potential value, AI also presents challenges and concerns, such as the lack of transparency into AI-driven processes or the automation of bias.
- Smart cities. Another trend about to emerge over the horizon is smart cities and smart infrastructure. The integration of the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, 5G, autonomous vehicles, and other technologies will soon give rise to smart cities. These technology-powered cities will be able to deliver a wide range of benefits, from improved public security to more efficient public utilities.
As e-gov plays a bigger role in governments around the world, it will exert an increasingly profound impact on the business landscape as a whole. It will fuel the growth of many industries, while limiting the need for others.
Trends such as these will impact each business sector differently, though so it is important to monitor these trends and evaluate one’s own circumstances accordingly.