Kiandra Insights

Digital government explained

Meghan Lodwick - PR & Communications Manager
Meghan Lodwick
PR & Communications Manager
March 31, 2023
Meghan Lodwick
PR & Communications Manager
March 31, 2023
Six colourful icons each representing a component of the OECD sit against a blue background

There are several ways to define the term ‘digital government’. On face value, it can be thought of as government agencies moving information and services online, but that’s only a small part of it. A digital government goes beyond moving processes and procedures online and really tries to change how it functions to deliver better value.

Essentially, the work of a government’s digital transformation is more than just putting forms online. It includes evaluating the needs and interests of its people and adapting accordingly. Common digital services range from filling tax returns to renewing a driver’s license to applying for a pet license. Nearly any government form or service can be offered digitally.

Traditionally, government services have been delivered in person, by individual departments in different locations, and often using paper forms. With digital services, government can deliver information and services to people anytime, anywhere, and on any platform or device.

Digital government vs e-government

Digital government and e-government are often used interchangeably, but they are quite different. Simply put, digital government is about using digital technologies to create public value, where e-government tends to mean how government use ICT as a tool.

Digital government refers to the comprehensive digital strategies and structures set up by the government to care for the needs and concerns of its citizens. E-government focuses on the actual information and communication technology (ITC) utilised to make the governments' goals a reality.

An example of a digital government approach is the myGov re-architecture project. Rather than just modernising a legacy tool, the aim for the future development of myGov will have a user focus so it is easy to use, secure, leave no one behind and deliver smart, tailored services that meets people’s needs. There is a full strategy at play as opposed to re-tooling a platform.  

The government total experience (TX)

Interactions facilitated by government digital services can take place within three main categories: between or within a government agency to another government agency, between the government and a citizen, or between the government and a business. This makes concepts like total experience (TX) important in supporting a functioning digital government.

Total experience is a strategic approach designed to improve the engagement of people by providing with modern tools across multiple channels and touch-points that enhance overall experience and equity. According to Gartner, a total experience approach for digital government means “moving away from a singular focus on customer experience improves the chances that governments can improve the quality of their services and capacity to deliver on their mission in the future”.

Digital government approach

In Australia, the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) aims to puts the needs of people and business first by going beyond having simple online services and investing in cutting-edge technology to provide a personalised experience that is stable, secure, reliable, and ultimately anticipates the needs of every user.

Their digital government strategy website states: “A digital government functions in a way that is digital by design - driven by the needs of users and making the most of data. This aspiration will change how the Australian Government functions today, and will result in significant social, policy and economic outcomes”.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) provide resources to help governments implement best practice in digital government. The organisation also provide the OECD Digital Government Policy Framework, which explains a mature digital government:

  • is digital by design when govern and leverage digital technologies to rethink and re-engineer public processes, simplify procedures, and create new channels of communication and engagement with stakeholders
  • is data-driven when values data as a strategic asset and establishes the governance, access, sharing and re-use mechanisms for improved decision-making and service delivery
  • acts as platform when deploys platforms, standards and services to help teams focus on user needs in public service design and delivery
  • is open by default when makes government data and policy-making processes available to the public, within the limits of existing legislation and in balance with national and public interest
  • is user-driven when accords a central role to people’s needs and convenience in the shaping of processes, services and policies; and by adopting inclusive mechanisms that enable this to happen
  • is proactive when anticipates people’s needs and respond to them rapidly, avoiding the need for cumbersome data and service delivery processes.

These six dimensions from the OECD are a good starting point to any strategy and mission for all governments when it comes to being more accessible, inclusive and equitable online.  

If you are keen to understand more about digital government approaches and discuss the opportunity of a digital transformation, Contact Us to discuss the possibilities.

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