Digital innovation giving government services a boost

By CSIRO

8 August 2013

3 minute read

By Dr Ian Oppermann

Finger touching digital screen

Digital innovation offers new ways to transform government service delivery. Image: iStock photo.

Technology has transformed the way we use services. Whether we realise it or not we’ve become accustomed to accessing everyday services at our fingertips. Most of us have done online banking, bought books on Amazon, rented a movie or downloaded a song from the iTunes store, read news online and used a cloud service to store and share our photos, so why can’t we access the all government services we need online?

There are many factors that influence efficient delivery of services, from management skill to use of innovative work practices, but digitally enabled technologies offer major opportunities when it comes to transformative change and productivity improvements for government.

Currently there is a productivity gap of around 10 to 15 per cent of total expenditure in the delivery of government services. Despite the demand on governments at all levels to improve productivity, this gap remains high. We’ve so used to the relentless march of Information and communications technologies (ICT) transforming industry sectors. Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and others changed how buy and consume books, news, music and entertainment. Facebook, LinkedIn and Trip Advisor have changed how we engage with each other, find jobs or chose where to holiday.

So why not transform government service delivery too? Quite naturally, people expect government services to keep pace with the service innovation they see in other areas. Why do you need to go into an office to renew your driver’s license?

Digital technologies can not only make the delivery of services more efficient, they can also be used to transform how services are delivered, how personalised services become, and can put data driven evidence into the hands of those making policy.

Man on phone using computer

Digital technologies enable the personalisation of government services. Image: iStock photo.

Governments are already offering a much wider range of services online. We’ve seen the widespread uptake of cloud services, the open data revolution creating value from government managed data and the use of crowd-sourced analytics to inform decision making. All of these take advantage of the increasing availability of broadband.

This was originally published as an opinion piece in The Australian. Read the original article.

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Dr Ian Oppermann is the Director of CSIRO’s Digital Productivity and Services Flagship and is a panelist on Government Service delivery at the Australia 3.0 Forum.