Digital has become pervasive throughout our daily lives; there’s no longer a ‘wow’ factor from speaking with a chatbot, using digital identities to cross borders, or interacting with public service agencies through mobile apps. Accenture’s Technology Vision 2019 calls this the Post-Digital Era – when digital is no longer a differentiating advantage, but something expected from every government. This is ever more relevant when we consider Border services agencies, where the needs and experiences of the trade and traveller ecosystems are increasingly at the forefront of digital transformation. Border services agencies are constantly evolving, but as people become accustomed to personalised and on-demand digital experiences, their provision is becoming normalised and expected.

Under the umbrella of the Post-Digital Era, our Technology Vision highlights five emerging trends that will transform Border services agencies.

DARQ Power

Distributed ledger, artificial intelligence, extended reality and quantum computing (DARQ) promise to offer Border services agencies extraordinary new capabilities. Sixty four percent of public service leaders believe that the combined impact of these technologies will be transformational or extensive for their organisation. Together with the ongoing adoption of SMAC (social, mobile, analytics, cloud) technologies, Border agencies will be able to meet and exceed stakeholders’ expectations today and in the future. We are already seeing the massive potential of blockchain technology on the trade and traveller ecosystems. Examples include full traceability in the circular supply chain to the Known Traveller Digital Identity[1], envisioning seamless cross-border travel using only a mobile phone.

Get to Know Me

Technology-driven interactions are expanding digital footprints across both trade and traveller ecosystems, giving Border agencies an unprecedented opportunity to unlock value in data and provide new, hyper-personalised services.

The self-service model has been widely adopted as Border agencies digitally transform the way that people travel. Developing this model into a hyper-personalised service will increase the usability, trust, and attractiveness of these services and will offer the same immersive experiences people are used to receiving from the private sector.

However, the same restrictions around the use of personal data, data sharing, and the need for privacy and confidentiality apply in the public sector. Perhaps even more so. Border agencies will need to tread a fine line between hyper-personalisation and data privacy and usage on their journey to getting to know their customers better.

Human+ Worker

Empowered by new technological capabilities integrated with their own skills, workers are becoming “human+”. They want and expect to use the latest technology, but governments are struggling to keep up with them. Closing this gap will provide significant opportunities for Border agencies, particularly in areas such as operational/field case work, intelligence and enforcement, and field force training. For example, the vision of a “connected officer”[2] is gathering momentum, particularly in frontline operational roles, such as police or border service officers.

Secure US to Secure Me

You’re only as strong as your weakest link. As ecosystem partnerships become more common in the trade and traveller space, extra steps must be taken to manage the potential risks of being part of an ecosystem. Border agencies are privy to a lot of data, both personal and commercial. As border agencies reap the benefits of data sharing with their respective ecosystems to provide value-added services, we need to ensure that the data is secured and encrypted accordingly or risk facing the consequences of poor cybersecurity.

My Markets

Customers no longer want to choose between an on-demand service or a personalised one – they want both at the same time. Leading Border agencies are starting to build services marketplaces and platforms, where they are empowering the ecosystem to use data to build value added services. For example, the port of Rotterdam[3] is building a comprehensive digital twin for the entire harbour – this will allow port operators to have real-time knowledge of the location of every ship and cargo container. By sharing this information with partners, they will be able to save costs and be among the first ports to serve completely autonomous ships by 2025.

As these disruptive technology trends evolve, there is huge opportunity for Border agencies. Those leading the way will not only look at how they will impact the agency, but also re-think how they operate. They will understand the new operating models and capabilities needed to support in future. Border agencies who capitalise on the value of this technology evolution will be able to adapt and mature their organisations faster.

The road ahead is challenging and exciting. So, ask yourself, is your agency ready to embrace the post-digital era?

In this blog series I will further expand on each technology trend, and what they mean to Border Services agencies. So, do make sure to follow my series on LinkedIn.





Prasanna Ellanti

Global Border Services Lead

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