ŠAVŠ/TAČR Digital Czechia in a Digital Europe


Strengthening cooperation through stakeholders When digitalization of public administration and services, emphasis must be placed on efficiency and the end user. As mentioned above, digitalization efforts that do not sufficiently integrate and reflect user requirements or complaints end in failure. Therefore, when creating digitalization processes, the public administration should purposefully strive to involve as many interest groups from the private sector as possible. Austria is, in this particular respect, proceeding very successfully. Since 2005, e-government and the digitalization of public administration and public services have been the responsibility of Digitales Osterreich (Digital Austria). Its main advantage is not only the high capacity to protect and centrally manage ongoing and planned projects (located at the Federal Chancellery) but, above all, that its members are representatives of the Austrian public administration, Länder, key and strategic companies, the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, Austrian towns and municipalities and finally the main social insurance association. 31 It is Austria’s ability to integrate almost all segments of society into the digitalization process that is one of its main achievements. In 2018, Austria even ranked sixth among the 34 countries included in the research in the EU Benchmark. For this reason, it is described in e-government as one of the most progressive and innovative countries. 32 With the concept of digital Austria, Vienna thus sought to address the previous decentralized structure of digitalization processes 33 – a phenomenon that the Czech Republic is also encountering in many respects. In practice, Austria is also moving towards the goal of continuously and systematically building a network and database of all potential institutions and organizations that are at least to some extent stakeholders in the digitalization process. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) also assesses these efforts very positively, highlighting in particular the platform’s ability to avoid potential duplication and to allow NGOs to comment on both planned and ongoing projects. The OECD report emphasizes that Austria’s ability to plan, coordinate and implement digitalization projects together with the private sector is the key to its success. 34 The Czech Republic should undoubtedly strive for greater involvement of the private sector in creating policies for more effective digitalization of public administration and services. However, the first step should be to ensure a sufficient supply of information 31 Vogl Gunter, business and economic section of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Austria, 10/09/2018, personal email correspondence. 32 EUBenchmark 2018,DigitalesOsterreich, see https://www.digitales.oesterreich.gv.at/-/eu-benchmark-2018. 33 Actors, Digital Austria, see https://www.digitalaustria.gv.at/akteure/. 34 Digital government toolkit – Digital Government Strategies: Good Practices – Austria: Platform Digital Austria, OECD, see http://www.oecd.org/gov/austria-digital-austria.pdf.

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