Moving house, a birth, wedding, taxes, social benefits or papers: There are numerous reasons why people are in touch with authorities. They are vital columns of the state system and ensure that countries run smoothly.
But citizens are not always satisfied with the services authorities provide: Long queues, vague information, complicated bureaucratic processes. Slow working authorities also cause huge financial damages every year. This is where digitisation comes into play: modern technologies enable the reorganisation of the work of authorities. These efforts can be summarised under the term e-Government.
E-Government: What is it?
The term e-Government (‘Electronic Government‘) describes the simplification, execution and support of processes for the information, communication and transaction within state, local and other authorities as well as between them and their citizens and businesses. It is achieved by the use of digital information and communication technologies.
e-Government comprises all areas and responsibilities of authorities, whereby digitisation of analogue data and the use of cloud computing for location and time-independent access to this data ensures immense time and cost savings as well as simplification of data processing.
E-Government Streamlines the Work of Authorities
It is obvious that there is a backlog of work in public authorities: With regard to digitisation of its administration in comparison with other European countries, Germany is only in 20th place. And a low digitisation level also means lower efficiency. Many work processes have to be done manually, files move slowly from one department to the next, papers can be lost. Even the head of the Federal Chancellery, Helge Braun, urges to: “simply get faster.“ He describes this as a “key task“ of the Federal Government, as major IT projects, such as the introduction of the digital health card, take around eight to 14 years. At their start, these systems are already outdated.
Not only time, but also money could be saved through e-Government in authorities. According to estimates, digitalised authorities would save 3.9 billion euros annually and German citizens would spend an incredible 84 million hours less in authorities.
In addition, e-Government could also improve efficiency and transparency of the work of authorities. Applications can be processed considerably quicker through simpler document management in the cloud and digital sharing of information with authorised departments. Criminal prosecution proceedings and security relevant matters, where time plays an essential part, could also be processed quicker beyond country and authority borders.
Not least, digitisation in particular of large institutions, preserves environmental resources. According to WWF, Germany consumes as much paper as the continents of Africa and South America combined. An entirely digitalised public administration would save vast quantities of pulp and CO2 each year.
E-Government creates Proximity to Citizens
Instead of having to adhere to official opening hours or waiting for personal appointments, e-Government creates proximity to its citizens through immediate digital communication channels. Cloud-based platforms, where each citizen has their own account, offer countless possibilities to inform and interact. On the one hand such online services enable dynamic and targeted information of every citizen to content, which is particularly relevant for him or her. On the other hand, people can get in touch directly with authorities, irrespective of when and where they are at a point in time. If access to the official platform is insufficient to clarify a concern, then (video) chats with staff should be set up to ensure quick and simple contact.
e-Government platforms also allow a stronger integration of citizens in political decision making. Instantly, and without having to visit the local town hall or attend town hall meetings, people can be informed about important questions and immediately vote or express their opinion. A lack of information flow and slow bureaucracy often leads to the often deplored political disenchantment of citizens. Dynamic information and interaction channels ensure that authorities become mobile and intuitively accessible for citizens. In this way, e-Government simplifies the use of services on one hand and furthers political participation on the other. Through better integration of citizens, political decisions can be made more representative and democratic – key word Digital Democracy.
E-Government Study: Advantages are recognised
In 2014 consultancy firm BearingPoint conducted a study regarding the establishment of cloud computing in public administration. For this purpose, 250 decision makers on a federal, state and local level as well as public IT service providers were interviewed. The study shows that the majority of interviewees were already familiar with cloud computing and had a strong interest in it. In addition to the possibility of reducing costs, the participants rated as most important the gain on scalability, efficiency and interoperability. Mentioned as another advantage of e-Government was that cloud computing enables needs-based, automated provisioning of IT services (e.g. computing capacity, data storage) and that applications, development environments and entire business processes can be mapped via a network.
The study also uncovered that many people still have concerns with regard to data security in the cloud. Therefore, as an example, almost half of the interviewees would transfer non-critical application data into a community or public cloud, while more than 90% of the study participants would only store personal data in an (external) private cloud.
As an authority cannot simply go “offline“, the migration into the cloud in the course of e-Government has to be done swiftly, as the service provision should be unrestricted. Furthermore, authorities often work with legacy systems, which also have to be transferred alongside personal data, archive systems, application data etc.
E-Government with oneclick™
oneclick™ is a ready-to-use Platform-as-a-Service. Web apps, native applications, desktops and data are centralised in the platform and delivered safely to the users via streaming. oneclick™ constitutes the ideal tool for the implementation of mobile and secure digital workspaces in authorities.
When streaming, oneclick™ relies on the latest encryption technologies and ensures that applications and data never leave the secure hosting location. Multi-level authentication, as well as a rights and role concept, make sure that only authorised people can access sensitive data. This means that all data, including sensitive personal data, can be transferred to the cloud without any concerns.
Migration of Legacy Apps
Even legacy applications become mobile with oneclick™, without having to invest in a switch. The existing IT infrastructure of authorities becomes mobile within a very short time with oneclick™.
Use of any End Device – Intuitive, Mobile, Absolutely Flexible
The oneclick™ platform is accessed with any HMTL5-supported end device irrespective of time and location. Therefore public services become mobile-accessible and citizens can access documents intuitively and make use of services at any time.
- Image 1: Samuel Zeller @ unsplash.com
- Image 2: Vladimir Kudinov @ unsplash.com
- Image 3: Rawpixel @ unsplash.com
- Image 4: Christa Dodoo @ unsplash.com
- Image 5: Paul Hanaoka @ unsplash.com