ŠAVŠ/TAČR Digital Czechia in a Digital Europe
Digitalization as a complete transformation and necessary ICT skill
The digitalization of public administration and services is often unsuccessful, not only because it is not sufficiently focused on the end user, but also because the digitalization process is perceived and implemented exclusively in terms of ICT automation. The fundamental prerequisite for successful digitalization is a comprehensive replacement of current official procedures, more efficient processes that will be based on digital technologies. Unfortunately, the reality of digitalization of public administration is very often more associated with the mere ICT automation of currently existing processes – in an effort to transfer physical questionnaires and forms online. Ultimately, this creates the mere illusion, or facade, of digitalization that only superficially duplicates the same bureaucratic procedures and processes. 14 Furthermore, a common problem with optimally set transformation processes is that, paradoxically, it encounters the reluctance or ability of internal bureaucratic structures to adopt changes and successfully implement them. These results unambiguously follow from a study in the United Kingdom (conducted between 2015 and 2017 and involving up to 4,500 civil servants), where significant progress has been made in recent years with regard to the digitalization of public administration and services. As many as 62% of the surveyed officials identified a lack of ICT skills as the main obstacle to the successful digitalization of public administration. The lack of financial resources for digitalization itself came in second place. (55% of officials cited this reason as one of the main obstacles.) 15 Therefore, if the processes within public administration and service are to undergo a more comprehensive transformation beyond ICT automation of currently applied processes, investment in the ongoing training of civil servants in the field of ICT is a necessary condition. The results of the study confirm that any investment in a deeper digital transformation may prove to be more or less in vain if at the same time there is insufficient support for the development of ICT skills of civil servants. Gradual implementation and interest of citizens The United Kingdom can also serve as a good example for the process of digitalizing public administration and services itself – the United Nations Survey 2016 (UN E-government Survey 2016) even placed the United Kingdom in 14 Duneja Rajesh, Pichai Hariprasad, Lasku Agron, Kilefors Petter, Digitalization of government services, We want an “experience” – not just great IT. 15 Government Digital Trends Survey 2015-2017 – infographic, Sopra Steria: Delivering Transformation: Together, see https://www.soprasteria.co.uk/en/newsroom/publication/government-digital-trends-survey- 2015-2017-infographic.
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