The pandemic has been a wake-up call in the business community, with 80 percent of CEOs accelerating their digital transformation programs during lock-down. Thirty percent of business leaders estimate that this has resulted in progress years in advance of where they expected to be.
This change has been amply reflected at all levels of government, both in terms of how employees do their work, and the way that services are offered to citizens. Examples abound of governments adopting digital citizen identities, launching digital education strategies and even organizing ‘hackathons’ to crowd source ideas for pandemic response.
Digitizing internal operations and service delivery also makes good financial sense for governments. Unprecedented levels of economic stimulus will increase the demand for efficiencies on overburdened budgets. Effective digitization can achieve this goal, while also keeping pace with citizen expectations for improved services.
Governments must also recognize their broader role in enabling the entire ecosystem of digitization, including:
- Setting an appropriate regulatory environment, to maintain public confidence;
- Sharing information and building national capability in cyber security; and
- Investing in infrastructure such as 5G to ensure that the connectivity backbone does not crack under the weight of this tectonic shift.