E-Government services development

Global digital transformation process takes places in many countries nowadays. The situation is that each country develops its own E-Government information system. 

The question of this article is:

Can all the countries combine their efforts in this direction and start working on development of a single, worldwide E-Government information system together?

Let’s try to discuss. 

It is commonly known that globalization processes take place today. Countries unite in political and economical unions as one of the results of globalization. Countries unite also to create international organizations. So, it is possible to say that significant unification processes go from smaller to larger.

As for digital transformation to E-Government, again, today every country creates its own E-Gov information system or systems. Surely, “young” digital countries try to adopt practices of countries with more advanced level of digitization. 

In this regard, what about combining efforts of several countries on the way to digital transformation? And what about creation of a dedicated international organization that will be responsible for the global digital transformation?

Let’s imagine that the possibility of creating such an organization is allowed. What ideological basis will be and what will be the mission of this organization? In our opinion, basic benefits of digital transformation could be the tasks of such an organization.

Possibly, creation of the global society of common openness and transparency by means of comprehensive digital transformation could be a mission statement for such an organization. 

The situation is that nowadays countries spend a lot developing their own E-Government systems. As well, the whole authorities with hundreds of specialists work on the issue. For example, in Russia the Ministry for digital development was created in 2018. Similar ministries or departments are created in other countries. So, why the countries cannot forward these resources to a dedicated international organization that would deal with global digital transformation to E-Government?

By the way, there are already examples of information systems that were created combining efforts of several countries: for example, VIS – Visa information system that operates full cycle Schengen Visa management process. European Union Agency for large-scale IT systems, eu-LISA, is responsible for the development and operational management of VIS. This Agency was created in 2011 and right now has 6 large scale IT systems completed or in development. Actually, EU LISA is a great example of such an international organization that was created on the basis of unification of several countries, in this given case – European Union member states. However, it should be noted that EU LISA is dedicated to digitization of law enforcement activities. 

What stops the process:

  1. Political issues. We are not sure that the countries are willing to agree on such a complex question as creation of new specialized international organization that will be responsible for development of software solutions for digital transformation to E-Governmnet.
  2. Different levels of social, economical, technological development of countries. It is interesting that even the advanced countries haven’t realized more than 12-18% of their digital potential by the beginning of 2020. And what’s more, there are still many countries where digital transformation to e-Gov was not even started. 
  3. Different societies have different expectations from digitalization. As well, the tasks to digitization vary in different countries. This leads to existence of various goals in different countries for ongoing digital transformation to E-Government. For example, in western countries state digitization is aimed at de-bureaucratization, simplification of state services provision (such services as registration of business online) and considered to be part of common strategy of improving living standards. In post Soviet CIS countries expectations are the same in general, however, the part of the society also expects that E-Government services development will make possible to eliminate or at least decrease high level of corruption. In addition to de-bureaucratization of course. In some Asian countries, first of all in China, digital transformation to E-Gov is a public-private partnership national project with a goal to build a transparent society with a possibility to control citizens if necessary. The system of social credit that is being created in China is designed to track and log every step of every citizen and encourage good behavior.  

What are the benefits of creating a single world’s unified E-Government service?

  1. Complete automation of public administration;
  2. Automation of interaction between citizens and state authorities about any issues, de-bureaucratization;
  3. Full control on finance flows at any level; 
  4. Involvement of all the society in the decision-making process – e-governance; 
  5. Application of data-driven approach to decision-making process at any level – digital culture

We are also sure that such a comprehensive E-Government system will open the opportunity to create a digital copy of the whole world which will make possible to perform virtual experiments as a main benefit.

Due to the fact that the world faces a lot of global problems, this seems to be a useful tool. For example, there are already a lot of solutions for climate change modelling. These solutions are expected to answer such questions as, for example, what will be the level of the world ocean if the temperature increases; and digital copy of our world will make possible to answer the question of what will be if 100 million people migrate from coastline inland, and what social and economic consequences will take place. 

Obviously, modern problems require modern solutions. History shows us that the humanity begins to unite and solve global problems not in advance, but when the threat has already become real. Among such examples are control over nuclear weapon, global warming, global migration, environment pollution etc. Is there any trigger that has to take place so that all countries of the world start to think about creation of a global E-Government system? 

Possibly, it could be understanding of benefits. In itself, creation of a world’s information system or an international organization responsible for creation of such a system means GaaS – Government as a Service – outsourcing for member states. The idea is that such organization provides state-scale E-Gov information system development services, accumulating, in fact, all the world’s digitization experience and best practices. Most likely it will work on the basis of subscription model for member states, so they will pay annually for development and maintenance of the outsourced GaaS solution. And due to the fact that in some moment this agency will have certain number of ready solutions, they will cost not so much in comparison with when a given state develops this entire E-Government software from scratch. An example of such ready-to-implement solutions could be a module for automated registration of citizens in a given state. This means creation of a database, or, more simply, a list of all citizens of the country, i.e., in fact, a digital population census. A state gets the opportunity to see relevant information about the population (demographic indicators, socioeconomic, statistical) in real time, and not only right after the population census that takes place every 5-10 years.

Surely, development of additional custom software modules will be required, because each country has its own political system, set of laws, economic system which will be necessary to pay attention to developing a system for a given country.

Is it real?

In brief, in the article we are talking about a possibility to create a a single world E-Government service. Nowadays all the countries spend a lot developing their own state automation systems. In our opinion, there is a great possibility to unite their efforts and start working on a single global information system. Even though there are factors that prevent the process, such as political issues, different levels of development among regions of the world and different expectations of digital transformation. In these regards, most likely this question will be discussed at a serious level not earlier than in the years 2025-2035, when benefits of common digital transformation will be adopted by almost everyone. In addition to common understanding of the fact that common digital transformation, with further improvement of AI capabilities, can help to solve global problems of nowadays.