ŠAVŠ/TAČR Digital Czechia in a Digital Europe
Another prerequisite for successful digitalization is the comprehensive replacement of current official procedures with processes that are more efficient and will be based on digital technologies. Very often, however, the digitalization of public administration is more associated with the mere ICT automation of currently existing processes, in an effort to transfer physical questionnaires and forms online. This creates nothing more than a digitalizing illusion or façade, which on the outside only overlaps the same bureaucratic procedures and processes. A common problem of even optimally set transformation processes is the reluctance or inability of internal bureaucratic structures to implement changes. If a more comprehensive transformation of processes within public administration and services is to take place, and not only to the ICT automation of currently applied processes, investment in the ongoing training of civil servants in the field of ICT is a prerequisite. If the Czech Republic aims to increase its citizens’ interest in online services, it must primarily focus more on the quality of the services offered in this way instead of only the quantity itself. Along with citizens’ satisfaction with the services already offered, it also creates a strong demand for further expansion of the digitalization of public administration and services. The digitalization strategy should thus identify services that are (1) of the greatest interest to its own citizens and (2) services that are the most time-consuming from the point of view of civil servants. Such a pragmatically focused identification of services is a characteristic feature of successful digitalization processes at the European level (see United Kingdom, France, Germany and Norway). In order to increase citizens’ interest in using digital public administration services, financial incentives that motivate citizens to use them should also be included. Such incentives can take various forms, though one of the options would undoubtedly be, for example, a significant percentage reduction in the price of a given service where the citizen decides to arrange or fill out forms online. The Czech Republic could thus take advantage of the fact that the sensitivity of the domestic population to price differences is significantly higher than the average of other markets. A frequent shortcoming of the digitalization of public administration and services is the excessive concentration on individual contact points between the citizen and the government offices, instead of focusing on the digitalization of the whole process. The digitalization of a specific service must mean that the whole process from start to finish is digitalized from the end user’s point of view and fully accessible through an online interface. User satisfaction with digitalized public administration and services decreases significantly when the user is forced to communicate with the authorities by telephone or in person at any point in the whole process.
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