The global pandemic accelerated digital transformation. From automating city services to the acceptance of telehealth by care providers and patients, new modernization initiatives are being steadily deployed across local, city, state/provincial, and national governments. This sets the stage for the long-term digital transformation of government administration. The cloud enables more government employees to work remotely and securely, and it is enabling agencies to share valuable insights across departments. Singapore developed its Postman service, a cloud-based communications tool now used by various local agencies, including its Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health, to message citizens. In the US, the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Department of Housing and Urban Development all deployed robotic process automation to meet demand for labor-intensive services. In emerging markets, the Digital Impact Alliance, a United Nations Foundation initiative with the mission of advancing digital inclusion worldwide, is helping governments build and scale digital programs. One of its first projects: collaborating with the Smart Africa Alliance, a partnership of 32 countries on the continent all working to implement government digital systems that don’t require capital-intensive investments. In the next several years, governments around the world will invest in updating systems and bolstering digital infrastructure. Spain announced a $22 billion investment to accelerate digitalization and a public-private partnership worth $62 billion. In Italy, the government approved $2.25 billion for a digital overhaul of the health care system. The US government approved $65 billion for a nationwide broadband upgrade. However, increased digitalization will inevitably increase the vulnerability of government systems: Every aspect of local and national governance, as well as statecraft, can be exposed to manipulation.
Accelerating government digitalization