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European Centre for Government Transformation – 2013 Research Report

2013 Accenture research explores the maturity of digital government in 30 countries and their journeys to deliver public service for the future. 

Overview

At breathtaking speed, digital trends are revolutionizing how governments, citizens and businesses interact with the world.

“Always on” communications, rapid adoption and the essential nature of digitization are factors that drive deep and pervasive change in how we interact in our daily lives.

Accenture undertook a groundbreaking study to understand digital government capabilities in different countries, and to discover how they can progress their agendas. The study combined research across 30 countries with our experiences working with global public service entities. We also took a deeper look at the practices of several countries worldwide to understand what differentiates leaders from the rest.

Our analysis has enabled us to quantify the level of country digitization against key indicators, such as gross domestic product growth, job creation, citizen well-being and government efficiency. What is more, the research offers a means to translate where countries are today into actionable plans for tomorrow.

Accenture’s 2013 research shows that gaining digital maturity can act as a catalyst for governments to not only take advantage of more advanced technologies such as Web 2.0, analytics or cloud computing, but also to realize a broad range of benefits across public service, the economy and society.

Governments are faced with the challenges of balancing competing demands.

  • How can they afford to maintain the standard of public services delivery with unremitting economic constraints?

  • How can governments tailor traditional service models to more closely serve the citizen?

  • And how can they handle the pressure to create efficiencies while contributing to economic growth?

Managing such complex requirements necessitates an innovative approach to service provision.

All-pervasive technologies, emphasizing speed and mobility, are changing the way we live and work. Technology trends, like analytics and social media, have a significant impact on public services. The shift toward interacting with a digital government is one that is not only recognized, but also is being actively sought by citizens across the globe.

Our 2012 research, Delivering Public Service for the Future: Navigating the Shifts, found that more than half of online survey respondents said it is important for government to provide more services through digital channels. In addition, nearly half of respondents (42 percent) said they would like a single website to deal with government—yet 64 percent say it is often “difficult to find my way through the system to access the services I need.”

Analysis

The Accenture research assigned one of three categories to each of the 30 countries examined:

  1. Cutters: developed economies that have been severely affected by the current global volatility and are focusing on reducing government expenditure to balance the budget.

  2. Builders: developing economies with a strong economic growth that are seeking to build the infrastructure that can serve their economies and society well in the future.

  3. Enhancers: developed economies that have shown resilience to the financial crisis due to the favorable structure of their economy or strong fiscal position.

Unsurprisingly, the impact of digitization differs considerably across the country categories.

  • Cutters are best able to take advantage of the significant impact that digitization has on gross domestic product and use digitization as a key enabler to further develop international trade (defined as exports plus imports).

  • Builders are able to capture a larger proportion of gain that digitization has on employment and progress further on the Human Development Index.

  • Enhancers are better able to benefit from the digitization impact on innovation levels and to further boost the quality of e-government service delivery.

Recommendations

To be successful, developing digital governments must start with a clear understanding of their country’s current digitization levels. The level of current digitization contributes to five impact areas:

  1. Economic development
  2. Innovation
  3. Pro-enterprise environment
  4. Government effectiveness
  5. Society well-being

The digital journeys are quite different for each of the country categories in the research. For the Builders, the current situation of developing the basics must grow into the mass adoption of digitization that serves to develop new relationships in the longer term.

Focusing on cost efficiencies, Cutters need to adopt a “digital by default” approach that leads to iGovernment (a government that is innovative, insight-driven and Internet ready). And, the Enhancers, with a starting point of citizen engagement, should look at an open or networked government that leads to a digital society in the longer term.

Digital government can help to deliver four vital outcomes:

  1. Constituent satisfaction
  2. Citizen engagement
  3. Economic competitiveness
  4. Government productivity

In an unsettled financial climate, our research indicates that the broad adoption of digitization extends beyond the provision of e-services to bring far-reaching benefits to businesses, the economy, and society as a whole.