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The four challenges facing the public administration in the new normal

technology

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24 November 2020

After nine months of a pandemic that has turned the world upside down, it's time to focus on the learnings. Remote work, an objective that was never quite achieved, has suddenly erupted on the scene and is here to stay. We’re learning to optimize our remote tasks and thanks to this, many jobs have managed to swerve the crisis and survive. Then there is how we have learned to avoid unnecessary journeys and our capacity to solve problems using new tools, many of which were never indispensable to our routines until now.

Ultimately, in just a few months we have been able to progress with something we had never achieved in years and who knows what's to come going forward.

Not only has the use of digital communication channels accelerated but at times they were the only possible channel of communication in areas like the public sector, where the Administration's standard way of managing processes was paralyzed and it was forced to maintain relationships with citizens in a purely digital format.

But sufficient progress has not been made in recent years and we are now experiencing a degree of digital frustration, both citizens and civil servants, when we realize that not all processes have been prepared for the digital format. Many of the processes that are being completed digitally are not fully optimized, as they also require in-person procedures or highly complex online forms, obstructing the citizen experience.

In this ‘new normal’, the Public Administration is therefore facing four challenges: rethinking digital channels, improving the citizen experience, generating value for society and becoming capable measuring and adapting using data.

Rethinking digital channels

This exercise of “rethinking” the processes for the procedures and actions that the user must carry out has taken place in all sectors. For example, can you really imagine someone visiting a travel agency to buy a plane ticket? it's an almost unthinkable action thanks to the growth of digital channels, which have developed a way to complete this action another way that is practical and easy for the user, customer or buyer.

That’s why it’s important for the Public Administration to conduct this exercise, taking a common process as an example and thinking about to how optimize it using technology and the digital transformation. One example would be the birth of a child: How many face-to-face procedures with different administrations could be replaced by a single digital action? That's where the challenge is

From the procedure to the citizen experience

By completing this exercise it's possible to go from the mere process to an experience that puts the citizen at the heart of the strategy. Efficiently analyzing the points of improvement and optimization is especially important when it comes to procedures than involve the use highly sensitive personal data that must be protected.

What's more, when it comes to assessing how to implement an optimal citizen experience for engaging with the administrations, it must be taken into account that users are increasingly looking for more immediate, complete and tailored responses not only in their relationship with the private sector but with the public sector too.

Generate value for society
The benefit of the digital transformation of the administration lies not only in the optimization of procedures but also in the capacity to measure results. How much will be saved on paper, maintaining offices and travel thanks to these changes?

The value transcends the citizen experience itself and is also about generating benefits for society as a whole.

Data for decision making: adapting ‘in real time’

More efficiency and efficacy in translated into channeling resources to where they are needed thanks to the information the data provides us. Having the data rather than papers could catapult our governors onto a new level. A new world in which daily data from this digital transformation help decision making and offer quicker responses for the benefit of society. 

This new reality requires changes and the capacity to adapt. To achieve all this, the Administrations must think about the citizen experience and work on an optimized relationship based on technology and innovation for the benefit of all.

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