How public administration can become 100% digital

The digitization of our societies also concerns States which are trying to keep pace with technological advances. This concern was at the heart of the 8th World Government Summit in Dubai. During the event, representatives of authorities from more than 140 countries talked about invisible technology and artificial intelligence with the idea of ​​exploring ways to further digitize their administrations and better meet user expectations.

Mohammed Bin Taliah is the head of government services within the government of the United Arab Emirates. He points out that “Technology has already been at the service of humanity for some time” before specifying: “We try to use it to improve the services and make them easier for the user, but also to bundle the services, simplify them, reduce the steps for the user and make sure that he gets what he wants in much less time,” he adds.

“Thanks to artificial intelligence, we can provide services to users before they ask for them”

The UAE Digital Governance Strategy 2025 defines key performance indicators and sets ambitious targets such as the digitization of 100% of public services by 2023. “We are working on a concept we call proactive services,” says Mohammed Bin Taliah. “We use artificial intelligence to enable the delivery of services on behalf of users without their requesting them,” he explains. “Thus, thanks to the “user journeys” and our knowledge of their individual needs, we are able to predict what they want and provide them with services before they ask for it,” he says.

Invisible technology

The concept of invisible technology, for example, is gaining popularity. “You don’t have to notice the greater presence of technology in your life; the only thing you have to see is an exponential improvement in the quality of service,” assures the Minister of the Emirates for Artificial Intelligence Omar Al Olama. “With the introduction of artificial intelligence into the workings of government, you will have access to proactive service delivery, you will achieve higher quality results that will make you feel like the government understands you, understands you and delivers you tailor-made services, adapted to you as an individual,” he points out.

Question of competitiveness between cities or states

But how do such breakthroughs actually make a difference for us? Dubai has appointed an adviser to look at the issue from an end-user perspective. This is Ali al Awazzi whose mission is to identify the needs of people who live there and find how to meet them through technology.

“The pandemic has shown us the need for this efficiency and this connection, but also the importance of data and the flow of information to provide the most advantageous and useful services to citizens around the world, and especially at the level of cities if they want to be competitive with each other,” says Ali al-Awazzi. “They need to deliver services as efficiently as possible, but also take into account the well-being of the people there: it’s not just about economic well-being,” he insists.

An artificial intelligence virtual assistant for the citizen

In Europe, there are successful examples of digital governments such as Denmark. But there is also Estonia where for citizens and entrepreneurs, the use of digital tools is a way of life. Almost all public services are accessible online, from voting to setting up a business and signing official documents.

Estonian government chief data officer Ott Velsberg says the idea is “to make the government more transparent, proactive and user-centric. For example, we try to eliminate and automate as many tasks as possible and of course digitalization is also part of this process,” he continues. “One of the latest initiatives we are developing is “Bürokratt”, an artificial intelligence virtual assistant for the citizen,” he describes.

“We need bold strategies that go beyond the digitization of services”

Raymond Khoury is a partner in the consulting firm Arthur D. Little and author of the 2022 Emirates Report on the government of the future. He believes that countries that do not make progress in this area will find themselves lagging behind.

“In this report,” he specifies, “we are highlighting the building blocks that we believe enable you to become a government of the future and this goes beyond digital technologies. There is a myth that if you put digital technologies in place you automatically become a government numeric: this is not the case,” he says before concluding: “It needs to come from the highest levels first, it takes bold leadership and bold strategies that go beyond digitizing your services.”

During this World Government Summit, the municipality of Dubai has announced that it will amplify its digital dimension by joining the metaverse. It will collaborate with the private sector to create a futuristic, human-centric version of the city that exploits the possibilities offered by this virtual double of the physical world.

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How public administration can become 100% digital


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