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European centre for government transformation – 2014 digital government roundtable executive brief

Learn how Europe can foster digital innovation and transformation and deliver public service for the future


Digital disruption is everywhere and is changing all aspects of our lives. Cultural changes are required to drive public sector innovation and transformation, as well as the role of the European Commission to foster digital transformation.

This briefing brings together the key findings from Accenture's research “Accelerating Europe´s Comeback: Digital Opportunities for Competitiveness and Growth” and “Digital Government: Pathways to Delivering Public Services for the Future”, with the key messages from the high-level roundtable for government executives on digital government, held in Brussels in June 2014 as part of the European Centre for Government Transformation.

The European Centre for Government Transformation’s roundtable brought together more than a dozen government executives from around Europe with key policymakers and other experts to discuss about digital transformation. The debates offered an opportunity to share leading examples, innovative solutions and best practices across countries and sectors.


The last few years, there has been a growing focus from governments on digital, but what is meant by digital, the strategies applied and the service maturity of digital government still varies greatly across countries. A common theme emerging is that digital government is not simply digitizing existing physical services processes (that is, the underlying approach for e-government).

Rather, it embraces an end-to-end digitalization—from the core digitalization of public services to the digital infrastructure, governance and processes, new service delivery and business models. As our roundtable experts agree, however, there are several characteristics that successful digital governments share, namely:

  • Open and citizen centric

  • Data and Insight Driven

  • Agile and adaptive

  • Digitally skilled and inclusive


Digital disruption has become a catalyst for growth and grown seven times faster than other streams of the economy according to the European Commission. 75 percent of all EU citizens are now actively using Internet.

According to the Accenture's research “Accelerating Europe´s Comeback: Digital Opportunities for Competitiveness and Growth”, 96 percent of surveyed European business leaders agree that digital technologies are critical or important to boost EU competitiveness. Cloud alone could create 2.5 million new jobs across Europe, as well as add an extra €160 billion per annum to EU gross domestic product by 2020.

With frail public sector finances and post-recession budgets, the pressure on government to transform and “do more and better with less” is unprecedented. The potential for public sector efficiency gains through digital technologies is significant.


Digital is high on the policy agenda, it’s not a “nice to have.” From this perspective, the Digital Agenda for Europe has played a key role in establishing digital priorities as an essential reform agenda for governments.

Digital transformation for governments requires a divorce from legacy systems and the adoption of open, flexible, user-centric approaches to service delivery while enabling a flourishing networked digital ecosystem. The roundtable experts agree that no significant transformation and innovation is possible without a change in the mindset and public service culture to encourage creativity, risk-taking and collaboration, both within and outside government.

For digital transformation in Europe to succeed, it is necessary for policymakers to understand the demands placed on entrepreneurs and citizens.