Tech Digitalization Challenges in the Public Sector and how to tackle them

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Considering the data, we can find out that across the board, the public sector tracked lower than its industrial counterparts in financial services, healthcare, retail, IT industry or manufacturing. More specifically, software and IT companies from the innovation Ecosystem category had an index of 46 per cent. They were anticipated to grow to 52 percent in the next two years, while these indices for the public sector were 16 and 20 per cent, respectively. Software solutions development for the public sector requires an individual approach and consultation with IT professionals.

So why do we see the hold-up? Because bureaucracy, in most cases, prevents quick decision-making and implementation of innovations. Another reason is a lack of investment in upskilling to prepare for the next generation of technology. However, it is clear nowadays that applications' analogue processing and administration isn't future-oriented or efficient. Internal processes need digitalization first to relieve public sector staff members of repetitive tasks. Thanks to individually developed algorithms and AI, you can make document processing more transparent and speed it up.

To speak about successful examples of collaboration between public authorities and users in short time frames, we can recall here the solution developed for creating digital applications and processing data, which optimized the work of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance centre. In Germany, the government dedicated funding to set up around 30 labs for priority service journeys and hire skilled facilitators, so public authorities could participate without spending additional resources and finances. 

The Diia (Action) app launched in Ukraine in 2020 enabled citizens to identify themselves with the help of digital documents and share files with over 50 governmental services. In such a way, Diia decreased the bureaucracy and reduced the paperwork of 10% of government employees. Last but not least, the launch of the app resulted in increasing digital awareness of Ukrainians, expediting the speed of upcoming digital transformations in other fields.

Let us explore what helps organizations streamline IT architecture for the public sector when lots of routine operations need to be digitalized and regularized. We will also discuss ways of tangibly modernizing operations and work processes in the field. 

How do achieve a seamless and efficient digital transformation?

  • Create the channel layer with your users in mind. If visitors can enter the platform through a "single front door", they automatically perceive a solution as the easiest to navigate. Your platform will be more convenient for users if it helps organize multiple operations in a single space. Dubai, for instance, is determined to consolidate all digital operations with the government in one app. Even though migrating to a single platform might not be your case, the priority is to define how various channels correspond to each other, optimize web searches for different services and write standard user-experience guidelines.
  • Save funds through "low code" development and modular essential components. Generally, public service transactions comprise the same structure: authentification, uploading supporting documentation, and paying a service fee if necessary. Then public authorities notify users about the applications' status. For some operations, a video guide might be helpful. For a building permit, for instance, it is worth adding a map component to provide users with geo-referenced information. 
  • Implement modular IT components. The government integrated a secure mailbox in Denmark with digital ID and online services. Dubai developers went the extra mile: thanks to the low-code approach, civil servants are free to adjust the front-end experience for each process step. Therefore, projects requiring significant investments and vast amounts of time can now be released in weeks. Investments in low-code development and modular design consequently will pay for themselves.
  • Standardize back-end integration. One of the main noteworthy steps is defining mechanisms of routing data between case-processing platforms and online services. Institutions aiming at establishing automatically checking information should agree on a specific regime for data management across the public sector. One of the most illustrative examples is the Estonian integration platform X-Road, enabling private- and public-sector IT systems to connect and exchange data. 

How to rise to the task itself?

It is essential to discuss the proposal's concept and develop the terms of reference. Hierarchical control from program management is unrealistic and insufficient - if your goal is driving sustainable change, you should continuously involve all stakeholders in the development process. In Denmark, Agency for Digitalization promoted the motto "No more printed forms or letters," and civil servants contributed to it, which helped municipalities and regions establish a shared strategy with the roadmap to drive implementation. Software development for public sector enterprises requires a multitasking and integrated approach.

Divide responsibilities wisely. If you have many local access points for one transaction, digitilizing hundreds (or even thousands) of operations seems impossible. The German government came to the solution of splitting the diversity of services into 14 thematic blocks - for each of them, one federal state and national ministry are responsible. And each of them can share data promptly through the software-as-a-service platform. As a result, they achieved a dramatically reduced volume of work. 

Unleash the potential of digital talents to the fullest. Creating widely replicable solutions and implementing low-code development tools decrease the overall demand for IT capacity. Yet, the best way for civil servants to learn about agile service design is via hands-on experience. By rolling out small labs (up to 30-50 employees), you can quickly help them build the necessary skills.

Сare about the transparency of the outcomes and set corresponding incentives. Collecting and analyzing information on adoption rates is exceptionally useful for enhancing user experience. Dubai's Happiness Meter evaluates users' feedback to government departments and reveals the results regularly. Those departments which have got unsatisfactory indicators have to devise their improvement plans. 

Track progress in a practical way. The main task is to find efficient and interactive formats for reporting progress and encouraging the work of civil servants. In Germany, the government tackled it effectively: they established a digital lab demo so journalists, civil servants and residents could test the new approach. They also invited politicians to take part in digital prototype tests as well. 

Step into a digital future with PNN Soft

We perceive digitalization as a perfect tool for freeing up your employees' time. From our experience in creating solutions for the public sector, we have learned how to analyze critical processes and rethink them innovatively. 

Here is what PNN Soft offer to support your organization and optimize the workflow:

  • based on the user-centric approach, we conduct Agile analysis to create the most responsive user interfaces;
  • we implement corporate portals and a "single front door enterprise applications;
  • we utilize machine learning for data analysis and natural language processing;
  • we provide our clients with on-site consulting on porting application landscapes to cloud solutions. 

If you need any of the above-mentioned services or plan to develop a custom solution for the public sector, feel free to contact us in the form below.

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