Review in developing digital government and some suggestions for Vietnam

In the article some facts in developing digital government and open problems are considered.

Аннотация статьи
e-government development
industrial revolution 4.0
Ключевые слова

I. Introductions.

Digital government represents a fundamental change in the way governments around the world carrying out their mission. From setting measurable administrative goals and making data-driven decisions to ensuring greater accountability and transparency, governments are leveraging the power of information technology; believe in new and creative ways. From automation and digital government platforms to IoT (Internet of things)-connected cities, governments are using cutting-edge, cutting-edge technologies to improve services and people's lives. Governments have deployed digital platforms that allow citizens to access government services from the comfort of their homes, and are using vast amounts of data and sophisticated analytics to support decision-making and facilitate two-way communication with their citizens.

On a global scale, the COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the transition to digitization of the economy, forcing governments as well as the private sector to rethink their business models. The New York Times reported an increase in spending in digital businesses on April 1, 2020 compared to the same week in April 2019. According to OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) Recommendations on the Council on Technical Government Strategy (OECD, 2014a), digital government is defined as “the use of digital technologies, as an integrated part of government modernization strategies, to create public value”.

Look back at key stages, transitioning from the digitisation of individual government services in Government 1.0 towards the development of a citizen-centric model that provides services centered around citizens’ life events in Government 5.0.

Governments at level 1.0 focus on providing independent services. While they may excel in ensuring a high quality of service or a superior user experience for individual services, these services are independent and specific to an entity and have no integration between parts. As a result, government agencies provide digital services independently and communicate with citizens silently. 

As they evolved into Government 2.0, they began to focus on the mass adoption of digital services, ensuring that it was accessible to everyone. At this stage, governments focus on digital inclusion and accessibility. However, government services continue to operate within individual systems, and the overall impact of government services is not yet fully or widely understood.

Government 3.0 focuses on refining operating models to improve efficiency. This sometimes leads to a reduction in the number of government services and platforms available, but often begins the journey to align service delivery between government agencies to achieve a digital government more integrated and seamless.

As a result, in Government 4.0, efforts shifted to linking government-wide and allowing citizens to interact with different government agencies as a single entity, sometimes through a single platform. At this stage, governments work to break down barriers of interoperability, incompatible standards, disrupted processes, and disparate data sets that are hindering seamless digital government.

During this stage, governments will often realise that interactions with citizens are typically initiated by so-called life events i.e. changes in circumstances that trigger a need for a product or service. Such life events may include a birth, death, change of employment status, change of marital status, etc. Different life events trigger the need for different services, and most of these services require the intervention of more than one government agency. Thus, governments realise that, for true citizen-centricity, a whole-of-life approach is required.

Thus, at Government 5.0 level, governments shift their thinking to citizenship models, adapting government service delivery and processes to people's lives, instead of because it expects citizens to participate in government processes. At this stage, services from various government agencies are structured around events in citizens' lives in a seamless and predictable fashion, in which citizens simply intervene and communicate. continued to a minimum. In the event of a certain life event, the various government agencies involved will be activated to provide their different services to citizens through a single channel. For example, a single birth will trigger various ministries such as the Ministry of Health, the Identity Authority and the Public Insurance Agency to issue birth certificates, trigger changes in identification and trigger changes in health and life insurance policies.

Fig. 1. Stages of government

Digital government 5.0 represents a whole-of-government approach, emphasizing coordinate across departmental boundaries to deliver seamless, people-centric services. The key concept of government at level 5.0 is to develop services around events in people's lives, accessed through a single interface and enabled by seamless collaboration across departments. Governments that have achieved level 5.0 are able to coordinate the efforts of different government's agencies seamlessly to break down traditional boundaries between different governments departments, organizations, governments, quasi-governmental organizations and private sector partners, to provide services designed around the events of citizens' lives. One example of Government at level 5.0 being rolled out is the Department of Childbirth. Australian Federal Government Digital Transformation Agent is working to redesign services to remove the complexity of interacting with a wide variety of departments for this one-of-a-kind event, ensure consistent service delivery standards across the board.

Fig. 2. Example of Government at level 5.0

II. The Characteristics of Government 5.0.

1. Digital by Design: Establish clear leadership in the organization, but “digital” is not just considered technical subject but a mandatory transformative element. For the government's digital transformation to succeed, the public sector needs to be designed with "digitalisation". According to the OECD Digital Government Policy Framework, this involves mobilizing emerging technologies to re-imagine business processes and redesign business models.

According to the OECD Electronic Leaders Governance Handbook, a “digital by design” approach ensure, through clear leadership and effective coordination mechanisms, that “digital” is seen as is not merely a technical subject but a transformative element that must be included across different stages of the service lifecycle, while enabling multi-channel service delivery. In addition to digital technologies, this approach requires a focus on enhancing digital skills and digital culture. The right skills, capabilities and organizational structures to innovate, design, develop, implement and enhance digital services are needed to complement digital tools. It also deals with the infrastructure development and success factors needed to drive the adoption of digital services, i.e. ensure connectivity and service access.

Over the years, several OECD countries have exemplified “digital by design”. In Norway, Portugal and the UK, seamless services across different channels and the public sector continue to invest in and benefit from digitization by ensuring that no citizen is left behind. behind due to uneven access or lack of digital skills. Another example of digital embedding is the Estonian government platform X-Road that has supporting service provision and data sharing among more than 900 organizations and businesses nationwide.

2. Citizen-Centricity & Customer Success: Citizen needs to get central role and entail the formation of processes, services and policies to create favorable conditions for citizens. The key concept of Government 5.0 is citizen- and beneficiary-centred, whereby traditional boundaries between government agencies are omitted to provide integrated services around citizen and resident life events (there are a significant number of foreign residents in the GCC country depends on government services). To implement a "people-centred" policy, some governments have begun to apply customer success principles and incorporate them into their digital transformation governance models.

Customer success is a strategy that links functional processes with customer outcomes, ensuring the customer achieves the desired outcome success using a product or service. This drives service adoption as well as service renewal and expansion. For the government, it focuses on the satisfaction of the citizens and beneficiaries and ensures that the use of the service is helping citizens move from one milestone of success to the next. Although this concept originates from the technology industry and especially in software as a as a service (SaaS), governments have begun to incorporate its principles into their digital transformation to ensure the competitiveness of government digital services, superior service quality and high levels of citizen satisfaction. Citizen success consists of several components, used at different stages of the service lifecycle, from introduction to relationship development and then service use and adoption, before culminating in service improvement and expansion. These ingredients include:

  • Citizen segmentation: Dividing citizens and beneficiaries into reasonable groups to customize the experience.
  • Citizen Orchestration: Manage citizen expectations during the referral process, identify success milestones, and design the overall experience.
  • Intervention: Proactively intervene in an appropriate way to move that segment of citizens to the next milestone of success.
  • Impact Measurement: Measuring the success of citizens as well as measuring the impact of the citizen success strategy in a holistic way.
  • Citizen Service & Communication: Communication proactively guides people and beneficiaries or provides feedback to resolve an issue.
  • Citizen Analytics & Instrumentation: Collects data on citizens' interactions with government, throughout their lifecycle.
  • Operationalisation: Using data collected in instrumentation, analysis based on government citizen success strategies, and take appropriate actions.

3. Built on E-Participation: Electronic participation is a concept that has been widespread for nearly two decades. Evolution evidence points to the rapid expansion of e-participation as a tool to engage and strengthen cooperation between governments and citizens.

The United Nations defines e-participation as “the process of engaging people through ICT in policy, decision-making, design and service delivery to make it participatory, inclusive and relevant intention”. Its goal is to improve access to information and public services and to promote participation in policy making, in order to empower individual citizens and for the benefit of society as a whole.

E-participation is not only a subset of e-governance and participation, but is closely related to elements of governance such as citizen participation, transparency and accountability.

Fig. 3. Relations among e-participation and selected governance concepts

4. Data-Driven: Another characteristic of successful digital governments is that they are data-driven, leveraging their national data assets to generate insights to help improve decision-making and develop cases. using artificial intelligence and advanced analytics.

In the public sector, the role of data in the ongoing digital transformation has gone against the legacy of technology, lack of skills and regulatory hurdles. A number of countries have made significant progress in strengthening their capacity to strategically use data to improve policy making, service delivery or performance management (OECD, The Path to Becoming a Data-Driven Public Sector).

According to the OECD’s 2019 “Government at a Glance” report, most countries have improved or maintain their performance in data management and utilization since 2017. Already have improvements in countries like Ireland have introduced Open Data and Public Service Data strategies. Countries, including Poland, Latvia, the Czech Republic and Greece are catching up thanks to strong political leadership at home and support from the EU. A truly data-driven public sector recognizes data as a key strategic asset with protected value and measured impact. As a result, mature digital governments provide a coherent, intergovernmental approach to data governance as well as a data architecture that reflects standards, interoperability, and semantics between agencies. government agency. In addition, mature digital governments are developing the necessary data regulations and the necessary data infrastructure to support data publishing, sharing, and reuse.

5. Government as a Platform: The term “Government as a Platform” is used to refer to a common core infrastructure of shared digital systems, technology and processes on which user-centric government services can be easily developed. This includes the whole ecosystem of shared APIs and components, open-standards and canonical datasets as well as the services built on top of them and the governance processes that
maintain accountability.

This is a key characteristic of Government 5.0 and ensures that mature digital governments are:

  • Equipped with the right building blocks to improve the quality of citizens’ experiences.
  • Avoiding duplications and reducing costs.
  • Creating a shared digital infrastructure.
  • Designing end-to-end services around the needs of citizens rather than the organisational structure of the government.
  • Identifying the right burning platforms and focusing on the right challenges.
  • Maintaining transparency and accountability.
  • Preventing lock-ins due to dependence on one type of technology.

6. Open by Default: Mature digital governments are open by default, which means that government data, government knowledge assets and government policies and procedures are made publicly available to citizens and the private sector at no cost, unless there are privacy, security or legal reasons not to release the data.

An open by default approach describes the extent to which an agile and proactive government uses and shares digital technologies and tools to communicate, engage, collaborate with, and build bridges between all actors in order to collect insights towards a more knowledge-based public sector (OECD, Government at a Glance, 2019).

The principles of open data support countries in their efforts to build more transparent, accountable and participatory governments that can restore citizens’ trust and promote inclusive growth.

7. Ease of Policy Formulation: At last, mature digital governments have the procedures in place to formulate and roll out policies and regulations for the digital age. In the quickly evolving world of digital technologies, existing regulations and policies are often found lacking. Regulating for the digital world requires a fine balance between safeguarding personal privacy and democratic values while still encouraging entrepreneurship and not harming competition. Moreover, digital regulations need to consider the ecosystem at large and the needs of every player rather than just being single-sided. Therefore, regulating for the digital age will present unique challenges for both the regulatory bodies as well as for the economic players.

Mature digital governments are able to formulate policies and regulations that are built for the digital age, widely accessible and easy to comprehend. Effective digital policies should outline the mechanisms of compliance and should provide choices for government agencies, wherever possible, in terms of potential actions, technologies and engagement strategies, thus enabling government entities to make informed decisions with complete knowledge of the trade-offs.

III. The Benefits of Achieving Government level 5.0.

Governments that have taken a whole-of-government, people-centred approach, digital and e-participation features are well positioned to reap a variety of benefits. Such governments are positioned to achieve enhanced cooperation after breaking down barriers between government agencies.

This facilitates information sharing and improves efficiency and allows governments to leverage synergy between government agencies. Mature Government 5.0 also understands their citizens better and achieves better results. They can develop digital services that benefit from technologies used in private sectors such as banking and commerce. This requires an ongoing process of technology development, in which governments continually assess current technologies and the value they bring, as well as the corresponding regulatory and policy-making challenges. As a result, mature digital governments are better positioned to find new solutions to policy challenges and explore new business models.

Mature digital governments are more focused on optimizing investments. The government has achieving digital maturity is often better at matching government agencies' procurement experiences across the board, in order to optimize government spending and investment on digital initiatives.

This also has the added benefit of allowing greater engagement with external partners to develop new products, delivery models. Outsourcing or delegating the work to third-party vendors can sometimes be a better way to provide civic services, often more efficiently and at a lower cost to taxpayers. Armed with innovation, investment optimization and flexibility, mature digital governments are well positioned to commercialize a number of public services to develop new revenue streams.

Furthermore, technology and digital will contribute significantly to economic growth. According to OECD, an increase in the Digital Ecosystem Development Index (which measures improvements in a country's digital infrastructure, digitization of production, and digital regulatory framework among other factors) would improve GDP by 1-3% in different regions, as shown in the table below.

Fig. 4. The improvement of GDP by Digital Ecosystem Development Index in different areas

IV. Some suggestions for policy for Vietnam

From the analysis and synthesis of international experience, we propose suggestions for policy to promote and improve the policy of building digital government in Vietnam as follows:

  1. Developing a digital government policy framework to assist the Government in analyzing and formulating a framework for the development of policy recommendations, helping to make the transition from e-government to digital government. The OECD has developed a digital government policy framework (OECD 2014, Recommendation of the Council on Digital Government Strategies). This policy framework clearly outlines the necessary requirements and steps to develop a digital government. Based on these criteria, the governments of countries can clearly understand the requirements to develop a digital government that is suitable for their national socio-economic and cultural conditions. Spain is one of the countries that has passed a law on direct public service, thereby forming the basis for the development of the digital government. Through a clearly defined legal system, departments can quickly implement and apply, avoiding misunderstandings and wrong responses to digital government requirements. Reduce implementation time as well as policy design for agencies, departments and sectors in implementing digital government transformation. To do this, the Government of Vietnam should develop its own law on digital government and have clear requirements when developing and implementing digital government. From there, it will serve as a basis for making and proposing supporting policies, encouraging the development of digital government to suit each context and the economic development of the country.
  2. Building a legal framework for mandatory enforcement when implementing digital government at all ministries, departments, branches and localities at all levels. This helps to increase the accountability of the implementer, promoting the implementation of digital government. The development and introduction of sanctions in digital government enforcement and implementation will also contribute to accelerating digital government enforcement at all levels and sectors, helping to improve disparities among stakeholders. Avoid the problem of data interruption due to asynchronous deployment between agencies and organizations.
  3. Raise awareness and promote propaganda about digital government with people, officials and businesses. In Mexico, people are directly involved in the digital government development process. Or as the Colombian Government established Urna de Cristal with the purpose of promoting citizen participation to use digital government services. This contributes to building a digital government in line with the actual requirements of the people. From there, it also encourages people and businesses to participate in using digital government related services.
  4. Regularly organize training to improve the computer skills and qualifications of cadres, civil servants and public employees, organize the examination of the qualifications of cadres, build a reward and punishment framework for the results. the results of the test of the staff's ability to work on the digital platform. Except for factors related to technical machines, people are also an important factor in building and perfecting digital government. Qualified human resources to meet the requirements of digital government operation is an urgent requirement. Therefore, training human resources capable of operating is a mandatory subject.
  5. Prioritize the allocation of funds for building IT infrastructure to state agencies in remote and isolated areas. Prioritizing budget allocation to regions and localities with digital government systems is significantly different from the national average. Based on Chile's experience, Vietnam needs to actively build digital government in mountainous and remote areas to create fairness for people across regions, realizing the goal of "no one is left behind". In island and mountainous areas, it is recommended to regularly send people with extensive experience in digital government construction (from places where models have been successfully implemented) to work directly. Reduce difficulties and errors in the implementation process at localities.
  6. Organize a monitoring mechanism, regularly review public service provision sites of ministries, departments and branches at all levels. There should be an agency to regularly inspect and urge localities in the implementation of this function. At the same time, also point out errors in the implementation process to correct mistakes quickly, avoiding wasting resources and time.
  7. Regularly evaluate and survey the needs and feedback of service users to adjust and build the digital government platform quickly and in line with reality. Level 4 on online public services should finished in time.
  8. Organize international cooperation and cooperation with businesses to improve the efficiency of using and updating the application of technical technology. In addition, allowing domestic enterprises to participate in the digital government development process also partly reduces the burden on the government in implementing and researching and developing digital government.
Текст статьи
  11. E-Participation-News
  15. OECD (2014), Recommendation of the Council on Digital Government Strategies.
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