How can Europe better compete on the global stage? The European Commission believes that the use of modern information and communication technologies (ICT) to deliver public services will be a critical factor in this. That’s why it is pushing a digital agenda and urging the widespread adoption of eGovernment across Member States.
Putting aside the changes to processes, traditional thinking, and ways of working that this implies, the rise and rise of new and enabling technologies presents Governments with a significant challenge. To bring eGovernment to fruition at all levels, they will have to ensure that any service works well on a multitude of devices that is continually growing and flexible.
This could be delivering healthcare over mobile devices, employing sensor technologies to transform an urban traveller’s experience, or expanding the use of Cloud computing to provide flexibility and enable greater consistency in our public services.
So what’s the challenge, I hear you ask. Surely this is what’s happening in the private sector already, so why not in the public sector too?
Well, to start with the rapid development of new tools and digital technologies changes the way citizens behave and interact, and what they expect from public administrations. As the report on the annual eGovernment Benchmark survey conducted by Capgemini for the European Commission points out, this will require Governments to radically change and innovate operating models and governance.
It also means that they must explore, develop, test and apply new ICT enablers, such as mobile computing and devices. This will require continued investment in the talent needed to bring EU digital services in line with the commercial sector (and other digitally-advanced countries) – or risk falling behind in the digital race.
From where I’m sitting, these are exciting times, but only for those Governments willing and able to embrace change.
Download the 2013 eGovernment Benchmark report ‘Delivering the European Advantage’.