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Citizen-Centric Digital Transformation

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The pandemic enhanced the need to modernise and develop faster than before, says Shashank Sharma, Head of the Digital Experience Business at Adobe South East Asia. It also increased the standard for agile open team structures across all businesses, including telcos, with the intention of having a quicker go-to-market than in the financial and public sectors.

“We’ve been pushed to think creatively and with ingenuity. But the biggest problems we face in the public sector or public service agencies are outdated systems,” says Shashank. “There are legacy systems and databases that are siloed between various government agencies.”

He added that the public sector has long struggled with outdated technology and segregated datasets. These obsolete structures impede data sharing and interaction between government agencies, resulting in duplication of effort, errors, and inefficiencies in workflow.

“To close this gap, digital transformation is required. It entails upgrading and streamlining government systems to ease information interchange, reduce redundancy, and improve service delivery,” Shashank reiterates.

He stressed the COVID-19 pandemic which has accelerated the requirement for digital transformation in government services. The crisis highlighted the significance of flexibility and adaptability. To swiftly resolve the challenges posed by the pandemic, government agencies have been required to think creatively and innovatively.

In the face of swiftly evolving circumstances, the traditional approach has proven inadequate. Hence, to provide timely and effective responses to crises, adopting digital solutions and agile practices has become essential.

According to Shashank, the context of “citizen-centric” has gained prominence. It represents a shift in the emphasis on service delivery, in which the government’s interests are aligned with the requirements and preferences of citizens.

“Citizens now expect government services to be comparable to the exceptional digital experiences they encounter in the private sector — accessible at any time, from any location, and on any device,” Shashank reiterates.

He added that comprehensive policies are required to make digital transformation beneficial to economic growth and well-being. These policies should address issues such as gender equality, digital governance, talent development, and data governance. A cohesive, government-wide approach to digital transformation, driven by a digital policy that considers the requirements of all citizens, is essential.

“With the aid of a government digital policy that takes into consideration all citizens’ interests and preferences, a nation can develop a coordinated, whole-of-government approach to digital transformation,” Shashank explains.

Establishing a governance framework that promotes coordination, articulating a strategic vision, keeping apprised of critical digital trends and policies, and implementing a comprehensive strategy are essential steps for reevaluating existing digital policies.

He added that it is of the utmost importance to ensure equity and inclusion in initiatives and services provided to citizens. As digital services continue to proliferate in the public sector, it becomes increasingly essential to adhere to evolving guidelines.

According to Shashank, while initial expenditures in digital transformation can be significant, they frequently result in cost benefits in the long run. Process simplification, decreased paperwork, and better resource allocation all lead to lower operational costs. “Governments may use data analytics to make educated decisions thanks to digital transformation. This enables more effective resource allocation and evidence-based policymaking.”

Besides, transparency features are frequently included in digital systems, allowing citizens to track the status of their requests or applications. Transparency builds trust between the government and the general people.

“The agility afforded by digital transformation is critical in reacting to unanticipated crises like natural disasters or public health catastrophes. Digital tools speed up communication and resource allocation,” Shashank concludes.


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