Paris – European public authorities are advancing in bringing services online to the benefit of citizens and companies. Progress, however, is slow and divided. This is one of the main findings of the 12th Benchmark Measurement of European eGovernment Services, released by the European Commission today, and carried out by the Capgemini Group, one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology, and outsourcing services, and its partners. Personalization and shifting the focus from the national level to the European level, are a key next step for European countries when it comes to delivering public services and unlocking the full potential of a Digital Single Market in the near future.
This year’s eGovernment Benchmark, which surveyed over 10,000 websites across the EU member states, has again focused on the user centricity of customer journeys through various life events such as starting up a business, losing and finding jobs, and studying. The report reveals that Europe is gaining digital maturity in online services: more information and services are available online, and that there is a growing opportunity for online support, help, and feedback.
Urgent improvements in mobile, transparency, and simplification are required
Despite a fast growing number of mobile users, governments are still not progressing the great opportunity, offered by mobile devices, for the further personalization of services. At the moment, only one in four public websites is mobile friendly. Examples of best practice show that as soon as websites are designed for mobile, the number of users increases exponentially. There is a clear need for mobile friendliness that is not being addressed at the moment. A positive exception is the UK, where mobile responsive public websites have witnessed more than double the mobile traffic of their European counterparts.
Lack of transparency on processes, personal data, and the agencies involved in government services causes people to go offline and does not help to build trust. The transparency benchmark shows a 3 percentage point improvement from the previous measurement, but is still unsatisfactory as it stops at 51%. The transparency of public organizations is 9 points above this benchmark (at 60%). It is also positive that users have gained better access to their personal data handled on government websites (increase of 5 percentage points to 52%). However, they still face considerable barriers when it comes to the clarity of the service delivery process ie. the service process, duration and response times related to the steps one needs to take to complete an online public service from start to finish (increase of 2 percentage points to 41%). Trust is essential to attract more online users and subsequently realize the cost savings that online services potentially hold.
Simplification is another important driver of personalization of online services. The Authentic Sources key enabler has dropped two points in 2014 as compared to 2013. This means that there are fewer cases where online forms were prefilled with data that a government already knows about its citizens. This implies that internal government processes are not so “digital”, and the potential efficiency gains are not yet being realized.
Digital Single Market is far-off
Dinand Tinholt, Vice President and Global EU Account Director at Capgemini said: “Europe must embrace the power of modern technology to transform public services to keep up with other regions globally. Europe is currently in a position of potential. The key question is whether it can use that potential to truly deliver an advantage. Preparing digital strategies for realizing a Digital Single Market is now more relevant than ever.”
For more information about the EU’s digital agenda, please go to https://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/