The role of digital tools and technology was more than obvious in the recent elections. From compiling voter lists, drawing electoral boundaries, managing staff, printing ballots, conducting voter education campaigns, recording votes to political campaigning, social networking and technology-aided predictions, the 2016 U.S. presidential election was the most technologically advanced election in history. Technology's role as a catalyst in defining and delivering core government functions such as education, healthcare, business and the delivery of governance itself is being more and more recognized in all nations of the world.
- In as early as 1976, France launched the Telematique initiative to put forth a vision of integration of technology with governance.
Accenture’s digital government research evaluated the implementation and citizen engagement in digital services in public administration in ten countries:
- Singapore was the leader in e-governance, followed by Norway and UAE.
- The US and UK were in the middle pack along with Saudi Arabia and South Koria.
- While India, Germany and Brazil were on the lower rung of digital governance.
- A directive called "Building a 21st Century Digital Government", launched in USA in 2012, was aimed at delivering better digital services to the American people.
Some specific public benefits from digitization of governance in the US have been:
- Creation of a window for people access the government online with the Digital Analytics Dashboard.
- Digitization of veteran health care.
- Modernization of the immigration system.
- Modernization of Department of Defense travel system.
- Enabling the Precision Medicine Initiative to gain new insights for the development of individualized care.
- Strengthening of information security at the Department of Defense.
This journey towards e-governance and digital public service provision is still in the beginning stages all over the world and is driven by citizen demand for greater speed and more transparency in governance and the need within the government itself to deliver services in innovative ways. Digital technology-aided governance can potentially enable governments to meet the increasingly complex challenges of a digitally connected world. But administration is not a stand alone activity and requires active participation by administrators, citizens and businesses in the digital world.
(Picture Credit: Pixabay)