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Governments around the world have started to rely on more digital government services. Ideally these new websites offer fast and efficient solutions. But the shaky rollout of HealthCare.gov served as ...

Governments around the world have started to rely on more digital government services. Ideally these new websites offer fast and efficient solutions. But the shaky rollout of HealthCare.gov served as a prime example of how digital government is not always good government. A new report from the Boston Consulting Group describes how different countries are approaching digital government. The authors surveyed over 12,000 users about their experiences and satisfaction with using online government services. The survey collected results from 12 different countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Australia, and France. The report finds that satisfaction varies throughout the world.

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Boston consulting group digital government Document Transcript

  • 1. Digital Government Turning the Rhetoric into Reality
  • 2. The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and the world’s leading advisor on business strategy. We partner with clients from the private, public, and not-for- profit sectors in all regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their enterprises. Our customized approach combines deep in­sight into the dynamics of companies and markets with close collaboration at all levels of the client organization. This ensures that our clients achieve sustainable compet­itive advantage, build more capable organizations, and secure lasting results. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with 81 offices in 45 countries. For more information, please visit bcg.com.
  • 3. June 2014 | The Boston Consulting Group Digital Government Turning the Rhetoric into Reality Miguel Carrasco Peter Goss
  • 4. 2 | Digital Government Contents 3 Introduction 7 Digital Services Today Plenty of Users and Wide-Ranging Demand Some Digital Services Are More Important Than Others The State of User Satisfaction The Bar Will Be Raised 14 Overcoming Barriers to Digital Use Ease of Use Is Not Always So Easy The Growing Impact of Mobile Privacy: The Third Rail? 18 Turning Rhetoric Into Reality: What Governments Can Do Focus on Value Adopt Service Design Thinking Lead Users Online, Keep Users Online Demonstrate Senior Leadership and Commitment Build the Capabilities and Skills to Execute 22 APPENDIX 24 Note to the Reader
  • 5. The Boston Consulting Group | 3 Getting better—but still plenty of room for improvement: that’s the current assessment by everyday users of their govern- ments’ efforts to deliver online services. The public sector has made good progress, but most countries are not moving nearly as quickly as users would like. Many governments have made bold commitments, and a few countries have determined to go “digital by default.” Most are moving more modestly, often overwhelmed by complexity and slowed by bureaucratic skepticism over online delivery as well as by a lack of digital skills. Developing countries lead in the rate of online usage, but they mostly trail developed nations in user satisfaction. Many citizens—accustomed to innovation in such sectors as retailing, media, and financial services—wish their governments would get on with it. Of the services that can be accessed online, many only provide information and forms, while users are looking to get help and trans- act business. People want to do more. Digital interaction is often faster, easier, and more efficient than going to a service center or talking on the phone, but users become frustrated when the services do not per- form as expected. They know what good online service providers offer. They have seen a lot of improvement in recent years, and they want their governments to make even better use of digital’s capabilities. Many governments are already well on the way to improving digital service delivery, but there is often a gap between rhetoric and reality. There is no shortage of government policies and strategies relating to “digital first,” “e-government,” and “gov2.0,” in addition to digital by default. But governments need more than a strategy. “Going digital” requires leadership at the highest levels, investments in skills and hu- man capital, and cultural and behavioral change. Based on BCG’s work with numerous governments and new research into the usage of, and satisfaction with, government digital services in 12 countries, we see five steps that most governments will want to take: 1. Focus on value. Put the priority on services with the biggest gaps between their importance to constituents and constituents’ satisfac- tion with digital delivery. In most countries, this will mean services related to health, education, social welfare, and immigration. 2. Adopt service design thinking. Governments should walk in users’ shoes. What does someone encounter when he or she goes to a government service website—plain language or bureaucratic legalese? How easy is it for the individual to navigate to the desired information? How many steps does it take to do what he or she came to do? Governments can make services easy to access Introduction
  • 6. 4 | Digital Government and use by, for example, requiring users to register once and establish a digital credential, which can be used in the future to access online services across government. 3. Lead users online, keep users online. Invest in seamless end-to-end capabilities. Most government-service sites need to advance from providing information to enabling users to transact their business in its entirety, without having to resort to printing out forms or visiting service centers. 4. Demonstrate visible senior-leadership commitment. Governments can signal—to both their own officials and the public—the importance and the urgency that they place on their digital initiatives by where they assign responsibility for the effort. 5. Build the capabilities and skills to execute. Governments need to develop or acquire the skills and capabilities that will enable them to develop and deliver digital services. This report examines the state of government digital services through the lens of Internet users surveyed in Australia, Denmark, France, In- donesia, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Rus- sia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the UK, and the U.S. We investigated 37 different government services.1 (See Exhibit 1.) Almost 95 percent of the respondents to our survey have used at least one online government service in the last two years. An average of 32 percent use online government services more than once a week. Over- all, we found relatively high satisfaction levels, especially with basic in- teractions. Satisfaction falls away and frustrations rise, however, among more digitally experienced younger users, who have higher expecta- tions for the online experience, and among people who try to engage in more sophisticated tasks and transactions. (See the sidebar “Defin- ing Satisfaction and Importance.”) We also discovered the following: •• The services with which users are least satisfied are sometimes the ones they consider the most important, including those related to health, immigration, welfare, and justice. •• Users in developing countries access more services online and access them more frequently. Users in these countries also place greater importance on online service delivery. •• While there are wide variations among countries, governments generally compare well with the private sector. People like the direction governments are heading in; they want them to do more. •• Governments face changing patterns of usage and demand. The Millennial generation—18 to 34 year olds, who now outnumber baby boomers—have higher expectations than older people. Millennials are the most frequent but least satisfied users of online services. •• Governments need to design services to work across different platforms and devices. More users are accessing services on
  • 7. The Boston Consulting Group | 5 Source: BCG 2014 Digital Government Satisfaction Survey. Exhibit 1 | The Survey Covered 37 Online Government Services Category Service Communities and culture 1. Participating in community consultation/online surveys 2. Voting in (parliamentary) elections 3. Applying for or renewing permits for hunting, fishing, etc. 4. Accessing public parks and sporting facilities 5. Accessing cultural, heritage, or similar facilities 6. Accessing public-broadcasting services 7. Reporting maintenance issues at public facilities Education 8. Accessing, enrolling in, or interacting with a public school 9. Accessing, enrolling in, or interacting with a public university Health 10. Searching, registering, or accessing health care records 11. Searching for, registering for, or accessing health care services Housing 12. Applying for or renewing a planning or building permit 13. Searching, registering, or updating tenancy agreements Immigration 14. Applying for or renewing a passport 15. Applying for or renewing a visa or a residency or work permit 16. Accessing passport control and immigration services Justice 17. Accessing or reporting incidents to emergency services 18. Accessing police records or reporting an incident 19. Contacting or submitting documents to a court 20. Accessing legal aid or legal services Registries 21. Applying for or renewing an identity or proof of age card 22. Updating address or contact details when moving 23. Searching for or registering a certificate of birth, death, or marriage 24. Searching for, registering, or updating company details 25. Searching, registering, or updating property registries 26. Registering to vote or updating details on electoral roll Social services 27. Applying for or renewing a concession card 28. Applying for or receiving a financial benefit 29. Making payments to retirement or government schemes 30. Searching for, registering for, or using an employment service 31. Accessing public-housing services or subsidies Taxation and customs 32. Making payments for customs duties on imports or exports 33. Filing tax assessments or submissions 34. Making payments for taxes, rates, fines, or penalties Transport 35. Applying for or renewing or replacing a driver's license 36. Searching for, registering, or updating a vehicle registration 37. Accessing real-time public-information services
  • 8. 6 | Digital Government laptops, smartphones, and tablets. Future usage will trend toward more tablets and Internet-enabled TVs. We also look at the current state of digital government-service deliv- ery, the areas where user satisfaction falls short, the barriers to wider and better delivery, and what governments can do to encourage more widespread use of digital services. Despite making good progress, for most governments, the big chal- lenges still lie ahead. The breadth and depth of demand will increase substantially in the next few years—breadth in terms of both num- bers of users and the range of services they wish to access online, and depth in terms of how much they want to do, the devices they want to use, and the increasing sophistication of the interactions in which they seek to engage. This combination will raise the bar for every gov- ernment in both service design and technological know-how. But the potential payback—money saved, efficiencies achieved, and enhanced competiveness with other nations—is enormous. In research under- taken jointly with the Secure Identity Alliance, BCG has estimated the potential efficiency benefits of e-government programs globally at up to $50 billion a year by 2020. It is worth doing something about it. Note 1. The BCG survey of government digital services involved 12,450 respondents in these 12 countries. Surveys were conducted in late 2013 and early 2014. In each country we surveyed, we asked users to rate their usage of and satisfaction with the online delivery of 37 different types of service. We also asked them to rank the importance of online delivery of each service—now and in the future. (The exception was Singapore, where the survey instrument was slightly different; for this reason, Singa- pore is not included in some of this report’s exhibits and the appendix.) For each type of service, users were asked to rate satisfaction and impor- tance on a seven-point scale: 1 = not satisfied/important; 2 = rather unsatisfied/unim- portant; 3 = somewhat unsatis- fied/unimportant; 4 = neutral; 5 = rather satisfied/important; 6 = somewhat satisfied/ important; and 7 = very satisfied/important. In order to assess firm levels of satisfaction and importance, we counted only the “very satisfied/important” and “somewhat satisfied/import- ant” responses when we compiled the results. Users whose opinions were “soft” (rankings of 3, 4, and 5 on the scale) were all considered as “neutral.” Defining Satisfaction and Importance
  • 9. The Boston Consulting Group | 7 People are doing more online. Almost 80 percent of the respondents to our survey access the Internet more than once daily for personal use. More than 75 percent use three or more devices for online access. As we observed in our report on digital satisfaction in the U.S., people share a consistent set of priorities and expectations for online interactions. (See Delivering Digital Satisfaction: U.S. Consumers Raise the Ante, BCG Focus, May 2013.) These are the result of people’s real-world experiences, their personal understanding of what technology can do, and what online leaders such as Amazon, Apple, Google, and others have demonstrated can be delivered. For example, online processes are often quicker and more efficient than offline encounters involving long lines, extended call-wait times, and unsatisfactory service. Consumers appreciate the medium’s mobility, interactivity, and ability to make things fun. More and more these days, they also expect the digital experience to be local (recognizing where they are), personal (tailored to their individual needs and preferences), social (shared with their friends)—and always on. Plenty of Users and Wide-Ranging Demand People use the Internet to access a wide range of government services. Some access these services a lot. As noted, an average of 32 percent of respondents in the 12 countries sur- veyed use online government information and transaction services once a week or more. Al- ready, at least half of users in most of the coun- tries surveyed want digital channels to play a greater role in the delivery of key services. The average user accesses 10 kinds of government service. The average user accesses ten different kinds of service. Online channels are used most for transportation information, tax filings and payments, and health and employment ser- vices. They are used least for property, legal, customs, and emergency services. While us- age patterns are broadly similar across the 12 countries surveyed, there are some significant variations. High percentages of users in Saudi Arabia and the UAE access services related to residency and employment. Both these coun- tries have large populations of foreign work- ers. Accessing cultural institutions and pub- lic-broadcasting services is a popular activity everywhere. There is high correlation between the num- ber of services used online and the frequency Digital Services Today
  • 10. 8 | Digital Government with which they are accessed. Usage tends to be highest in developing countries, many of which do not have legacy IT systems and channels. (See Exhibit 2.) Users in these coun- tries access 50 percent more government ser- vices on average than those in developed na- tions—12 types of services compared with 8. A higher proportion of developing-country re- spondents (40 percent versus 27 percent) use online government services at least once a week. Developing-country respondents find online delivery of government services more important, and they express greater interest in more digital delivery of these services. We found little correlation between income levels and service access, with usage fairly evenly spread across the income scale. City dwellers tend to be more active users. Retired and unemployed people are the least fre- quent users of online government services; students are the most. Usage is evolving. Millennials are much more likely than older people to access government services online. These people grew up in a digital world, and their ranks are set to swell. In the U.S., for example, adult Millennials will outnumber non-Millennials by 22 million in 2030. Just as many people already use smartphones as use desktop PCs to go online. Governments will increasingly be interacting with more digitally savvy citizens on an expanding variety of devices, especially tablets, smart TVs, and wearables. (See Exhibit 3.) Some Digital Services Are More Important Than Others Almost across the board, substantial majori- ties of users see online services as important, and as we shall see, they are looking for gov- ernments to improve the quality of their of- ferings. On average, 60 percent of users rank online government services as important. 11 11 9 9 9 17 13 13 15 12 7 8 8 5 6 10 9 11 9 9 0 10 20 30 40 50 % responses Ø 40 Russia 36 Malaysia 38 Indonesia 41 UAE 41 Saudi Arabia 46 Once a week2 to 6 times a weekOnce a dayMore than once a day 12 17 11 10 9 11 7 12 12 8 10 5 5 5 7 5 4 4 3 3 7 3 5 2 4 33 0 10 20 30 40 50 % responses Ø 27 UK 18 Netherlands 20 1 U.S. 21 Australia 26 France 28 Denmark 37 Singapore 36 Developing countries “How oen do you access government services online?” Developed countries Source: BCG 2014 Digital Government Satisfaction Survey. Note: Response options were: more than once a day, once a day, two to six times a week, once a week, one to three times a month, less than once a month, once every three months, once or twice a year, less than once a year, not at all. Responses indicating usage less frequent than once a week are not shown. Because of rounding, not all numbers add up to the totals shown. Exhibit 2 | Users in Developing Countries Use Online Government Services More Frequently
  • 11. The Boston Consulting Group | 9 That said, all services are not regarded equal- ly. Many more users view services such as fil- ing tax information, paying taxes, and apply- ing for passports and driver’s licenses as more important than paying customs duties, applying for a building permit, or checking police records. (See Exhibits 4 and 5.) Online housing services and school enrollment are especially important to Indonesian users. So- cial services are very important in the Neth- erlands. Users across Europe want the ability to file tax assessments, while this is not rele- vant in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, where in- dividuals do not pay income tax. Overall, people in developing countries are heavy users of services that have a signifi- cant impact on life and livelihood, such as those related to health care and education. They are embracing the Web for much more than reasons of convenience; they are using it to improve their well-being and earning ability. Governments in developed countries have done a more complete job of bringing full- service capabilities online, especially in areas related to taxation, transportation (vehicle registration, driver’s licenses), personal and business registration, and cultural and leisure activities. However, the Internet can still play a much bigger role in these countries. A great deal of information is available online, and some countries are moving aggressively to implement transactional capabilities, but in many nations, full digital interaction has yet to be developed. More users in developed countries are satisfied than in developing nations. The State of User Satisfaction Satisfaction rates are generally high—but they could be much higher. The percentage of users who are satisfied with online gov- ernment services ranges from 41 percent in Russia and Malaysia to 61 percent in the U.S. Generally, more users in developed countries are satisfied (42 to 61 percent) than in developing nations (41 to 52 percent). Users recognize that governments are making an effort. Nearly four in five users believe that online government services have im- proved over time. Developing-country govern- ments get particularly high marks—almost 85 6 14 2423 4240 70 82 68 26 31 38 56 71 37 84 88 “How many Internet-accessible devices do you use now and how many do you think you will have access to three years from now?” 69 20 40 60 80 100 % responses, global average 0 Desktop computer Smart TV Game console E-readerTabletMobile phone SmartphoneLaptop computer Wearable device FutureCurrent Source: BCG 2014 Digital Government Satisfaction Survey. Note: For each device, respondents could answer zero, one, two, or three or more. Responses of zero were excluded. Singapore excluded. Exhibit 3 | Tablets, Smart TVs, and Wearables Are Expected to Have the Highest Growth Rates over the Next Three Years
  • 12. 10 | Digital Government The online channel is used least for property, legal, customs, and emergency services 10.9 11.3 11.3 13.0 13.6 14.4 14.6 15.2 15.4 15.8 0 15 30 % responses Voting in (parliamentary) elections Searching, registering, or updating property registries Accessing passport control and immigration services Accessing police records or reporting an incident Contacting or submitting documents to a court Accessing or reporting incidents to emergency services Making payments for customs duties on imports or exports Searching, registering, or updating tenancy agreements Applying for or renewing a planning or building permit Applying for or renewing permits for hunting, fishing, etc. Source: BCG 2014 Digital Government Satisfaction Survey. Note: Survey participants were asked, “We would like to know if you have used the Internet for the following interactions with government at least once in the past two years.” Respondents could answer yes or no. Usage indicates at least some part of a transaction done online. Not all services in every country allow end-to-end transactions online. Singapore excluded. Exhibit 5 | The Ten Least Frequently Used Online Services 28.0 28.7 38.7 40.6 42.4 42.9 45.8 52.0 58.7 61.4 Searching for, registering for, or accessing health care services Accessing public-broadcasting services Searching for, registering for, or using an employment service Participating in community consultation/online surveys Accessing real-time public-information services 0 20 40 60 80 % responses Making payments for taxes, rates, fines, or penalties Filing tax assessments or submissions Accessing cultural, heritage, or similar facilities Searching for, registering, or updating a vehicle registration Searching, registering, or accessing health care records The online channel is used most for information, tax, health, and employment services Source: BCG 2014 Digital Government Satisfaction Survey. Note: Survey participants were asked, “We would like to know if you have used the Internet for the following interactions with government at least once in the past two years.” Respondents could answer yes or no. Usage indicates at least some part of a transaction done online. Not all services in every country allow end-to-end transactions online. Singapore excluded. Exhibit 4 | The Ten Most Frequently Used Online Services
  • 13. The Boston Consulting Group | 11 percent of users say service delivery is im- proving, compared with 72 percent who see improvement in developed nations, although developing countries are probably starting from a lower base. Governments compare well—in some cases, better than might be expected— with the private sector. Governments compare well—in some cases, better than might be expected—with the pri- vate sector. Overall, the quality of online pub- lic- and private-sector services is roughly equal, although there are wide variations across countries. While the role of the public and private sector is different in each country, we take the results to indicate a strong vote of confidence in governments’ efforts so far. (See Exhibit 6.) In just about every country, there are a few key services whose importance is regarded as high but satisfaction with their delivery is low. Governments can make a quick impact by concentrating their efforts on improving and expanding delivery in these areas, which often include services such as employment, health care, and social welfare that are espe- cially important to users’ lives and liveli- hoods. (See Exhibit 7.) The UAE, for example, has introduced an on- line transactional platform that allows both nationals and residents to more efficiently manage the administration of their health care. Online capabilities include issuing and renewing health cards, identifying health care providers, and scheduling appointments. The online platform also provides services to health care providers, among them a data- base of citizens’ immunization records, an in- fectious-disease reporting system, and a ser- vice to facilitate the approval of medical advertisements. 100 50 0 50 100 22 % responses 14 42 16 4 8 44 20 8 8 34 16 6 5 24 16 4 2 24 19 5 4 22 23 3 5 25 24 11 3 20 24 5 18 21 5 2 2 15 24 4 17 5 2 14 33 27 31 UAE Malaysia Indonesia U.S. Denmark Australia Netherlands Russia UK Singapore France Saudi Arabia Much better than the private sector Somewhat better than the private sector Somewhat worse than the private sector Online government services are perceived to be... Much worse than the private sector Source: BCG 2014 Digital Government Satisfaction Survey. Note: Respondents were asked, “Thinking about how government online services compare to private-sector online services from banks, telecoms, insurance, retail, hotels, and airlines, which of the following statements most reflects your view: Compared to the private sector, government online services are generally ... ” Respondents could choose from 1 to 5, with 1 indicating “much better” and 5 indicating “much worse.” Exhibit 6 | The Quality of Government and Private-Sector Online Services Are on Par, with Large Differences by Country
  • 14. 12 | Digital Government Saudi Arabia achieves above-average satisfac- tion ratings for immigration-related services, many of which include end-to-end capabili- ties. Almost two-thirds of users are satisfied with the process for applying for or renewing visas and residency and work permits. Simi- larly, 60 percent are satisfied with their access to passport control and immigration services. Indonesia has introduced an enrollment por- tal for primary and secondary schools that provides fairer, more equal, and more trans- parent access to the country’s schools, easing the application process and reducing the po- tential for impropriety or corruption. Stu- dents can complete the registration process online and track the selection process through final approval. The portal has been made the default process so that in most cases, students who choose to apply manually still have their data loaded onto the website for processing. The Bar Will Be Raised Governments will face challenges similar to those of businesses that need to serve cus- tomers seamlessly through multiple online (and offline) channels, platforms, and devic- es. They will need to “set out their store” across the full range of online connectivity. The most immediate, and perhaps the most important, challenge is coming to terms with the transformative effects of mobile technolo- gy (see “The Growing Impact of Mobile,” be- low), but the impact of technological ad- vancement extends well beyond individual interactions. The Internet, social media, and mobile devic- es greatly amplify users’ opinions and their effect. Governments can expect that as more younger users access services, positive experi- ences will prompt them to let their universe of friends—real and virtual—know that there is a better way of engaging with the public sector. A bad—or even just a disappointing— 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 27 2 26 1 Importance Satisfaction level 16 7 9 8 37 4 31 618 17 20 5 19 22 13 25 24 36 14 23 30 11 10 29 34 32 33 28 3 35 21 15 12 Low High Low High Taxation and customsTransport HousingImmigrationSocial servicesRegistriesCommunities and culture Justice EducationHealth Usage25% Applying for or renewing or replacing a driver’s license Filing tax assessments or submissions Applying for or renewing a passport Searching for, registering for, or accessing health care services Applying for or receiving a financial benefit Searching for, registering for, or using an employment service Participating in community consultation Accessing real-time public-information services Accessing public parks and sporting facilities Source: BCG 2014 Digital Government Satisfaction Survey. Note: Regarding satisfaction, respondents were asked, “How satisfied are you with the use of the Internet in delivering each kind of government service?” Respondents could choose from 1 to 7, with 1 indicating “extremely dissatisfied” and 7 indicating “extremely satisfied.” Both 6 and 7 were considered to indicate satisfaction. Regarding importance, respondents were asked, “How important or not is using the Internet for you personally in accessing the following services from government?” Respondents could choose from 1 to 7, with 1 indicating “not important at all” and 7 indicating “extremely important.” Both 6 and 7 were considered to indicate importance. Singapore excluded. Exhibit 7 | Online Delivery of Health Care, Social, Education, and Immigration Services Is Important but Not Satisfactory
  • 15. The Boston Consulting Group | 13 experience, on the other hand, can turn any user into a vocal critic, who can spread the negative word through social media, reviews, and blogs. And that criticism can go viral. Governments have their work cut out for them. Facilitating license or permit renewals and providing public-transport information are important services, but they are relatively easy to provide. Helping people access health care, providing education and training, and assisting in a job search are much more com- plicated tasks. Everyone’s need is different.
  • 16. 14 | Digital Government Overcoming Barriers to Digital Use Users value digital delivery of government services. Some 60 percent say it is important. Almost 55 percent would like more services to be delivered online in the future. These numbers rise in areas that are viewed as especially significant, such as accessing health care (64 percent say it is important; 59 percent want future delivery) or using an employment service (69 percent say it is important; 62 percent want future delivery). There are barriers to increasing online use, however. As we have observed elsewhere, many of these have to do with broader issues such as telecom infrastructure, broadband penetration, the cost of access, and education, but a good number of impediments are service-specific and within the purview of governments to address. (See Greasing the Wheels of the Internet Economy, BCG report, January 2014.) Users are quite clear on where they would like to see improvement: ease of use and the protection of personal data and privacy online. (See Exhibit 8.) Two-thirds of the respondents to our survey experienced problems while using govern- ment online services. More than 60 percent cited issues related to website navigation and 6 11 15 15 16 20 25 25 33 34 47 51 More personalized or tailored services to my needs and preferences Greater reassurance on the privacy of my information Receiving more communications from government online Simpler, easier-to-use websites “Select the three types of improvement you would like to see” More or better applications for tablets Video tutorials on how to access services More or better applications for smartphones Access to more reviews from consumers/users like me 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 % responses More or better use of video conferencing Better access to live-chat assistance More online consultation options Ability to sign in to websites with a single user name and password Source: BCG 2014 Digital Government Satisfaction Survey. Note: Singapore excluded. Exhibit 8 | Most Users Would Like to See Improvements in Privacy Protection and Navigation and Design
  • 17. The Boston Consulting Group | 15 design. Almost a third encountered problems with help and support. (See Exhibit 9.) Ease of Use Is Not Always So Easy Providing easy access and the ability to find and compare options are among the top driv- ers of digital satisfaction. Users want easy-to- navigate websites, intuitive user interfaces, one-click transactions, and easily accessible online support and service, and they have come to expect such interactions from any on- line entity with which they interact frequently. These are critical issues for governments to address. However complex the actual delivery mechanism, the digital experience should be simple, seamless, and secure from the user’s point of view. Governments should not under- estimate the impact of basic improvements in the user experience, such as providing the ability to access all services with a single digi- tal credential, regardless of department or agency, or a website that gets users where they want to go. Such experiences are not necessarily difficult to provide, but taking the kind of unified, co- ordinated approach to design and delivery is- sues that they require does not come natural- ly to government bureaucracies. Doing so quickly, especially when problems emerge that straddle departmental dividing lines, is a further challenge. In some cases, providing the capability for end-to-end digital transac- tions may require a policy change—and the political sponsorship to implement it. Con- cerns over security, risk, legal issues, and com- pliance can all conspire to slow things down. There are good models to emulate. French us- ers can access some 30 services with a single user name and password through the website mon.service-public.fr. The Australian govern- ment last year launched its myGov portal, which offers simplified registration and au- thentication processes, quick access to a range of services with one user name and password, and easy linking to existing accounts and con- nections to new services. Some 2 million Aus- tralians now have a myGov account. Singa- pore’s SingPass program provides a single online authentication system through which users can access 270 different services from 58 government agencies using one identifier and password, starting from one point of depar- ture. SingPass has a more than 90 percent uti- lization rate, with better than 80 percent satis- faction among users. It saves time, provides a high degree of convenience, and addresses a specific consumer need—simplifying interac- tion with essential government agencies. (See the sidebar “Evolving Approaches to Integrat- ed National Portals.”) The Growing Impact of Mobile The rapid rise of mobile usage raises both the complexity and the stakes for governments and their digital strategies. 13 13 16 17 17 19 21 23 33 The service I needed is not available online 0 10 20 30 40 % responses I couldn’t remember my user name or password I needed help but none was available at the time I didn’t have all the information or paperwork I experienced technical difficulties or issues completing my request I didn’t understand the instructions or didn’t know what to do I could not find what I needed The overall process took too long or was too difficult No problem or issue “Select three areas where you have had problems online” Source: BCG 2014 Digital Government Satisfaction Survey. Note: Singapore excluded. Exhibit 9 | Two-Thirds of Users Faced Problems Using Online Government Services, Especially with Navigation
  • 18. 16 | Digital Government Many governments have instituted online portals to their services. All seek to connect users with information and services in an efficient manner. Integrated portals will continue to evolve, but governments considering enhancing their own online— and mobile—offerings can learn a lot from these leaders. Once users log on to Australia’s www.my. gov.au, they can seamlessly access content across six different government health and welfare services. The Department of Human Services sought user input in the design process to ensure that myGov would be intuitive and logical for users as well as simple (no more than four navigation steps required), fast (most end-to-end transac- tions take under five minutes), and respon- sive. Another portal, australia.gov.au, connects citizens to the information and services of some 900 government websites and state and territory resources. It offers extensive information on the government of Australia and its activities. Through South Korea’s integrated portal, www.korea.go.kr, citizens can find links to almost all government services and browse websites according to topic or by agency or department at both the national and local-government level. They can also create a customized experience by inputting their age and gender and the services of interest. Downloadable content (including for mobile devices) includes information relating to e-learning and employment. Mobile integra- tion is strong. Many of the linked e-govern- ment services have complementary apps for devices running both Android and iOS. QR codes (a form of barcode) are consistently available across websites, allowing a user, for example, to link to a downloadable app relevant to the service in question. Singapore’s government portal categorizes content by user group: citizens and residents, nonresidents, and businesses. The portal for citizens and residents, www.ecitizen.gov.sg, is a true integrated portal with strong search capabilities across a wide range of interactive transac- tional services. Online payment is empha- sized; the capability is offered for a wide range of services. Transactional services other than payment are more limited, although they do extend to services such as applying for passports and identification cards and registering for overseas travel. The U.S. general-service website, www.usa. gov, is well regarded. (The UN’s E-Govern- ment Survey 2012 found it to be “perhaps the best example of a highly integrated portal.”) The portal arranges content according to user needs rather than government structures (for example, it provides links to “consumer protection” rather than to federal and state law- enforcement and regulatory functions). It starts from a general level of information for those who do not know exactly what they’re looking for and adds prompts to assist user navigation. Content is easily searchable if a user is unable to find what he or she needs by browsing. The site provides clear ways to communicate with the government for technical assistance and on policy issues. While the portal does not host transactional services, it contains links to state and department websites, which do have transactional capabilities. The big challenge that these and other governments face is continuing to improve the navigation experience while at the same time bringing online an expanding range of transactional activities. Evolving Approaches to Integrated National Portals
  • 19. The Boston Consulting Group | 17 Numerous factors are converging to give mo- bile the capabilities, scale, and reach achieved by few other technological advanc- es. These include devices with computing power and memory that come close to rival- ing desktop PCs, increasingly ubiquitous net- work coverage, smartphone and tablet func- tionality akin to that of a Swiss Army knife, geolocation capabilities, and vibrant applica- tion-development ecosystems with large and growing user bases. Combine these factors with two demographic realities—the matura- tion of the Millennials, whose primary online experience is mobile, and the fact that the vast majority of the world’s population lives in developing markets, where the Internet ex- perience is mostly mobile—and it’s easy to see that as the next billion consumers come online, it will be through an Internet-enabled smartphone or feature phone. Consumers will increasingly want to access government services like they do any others. Just like companies in the private sector, gov- ernments need to expand their outreach models beyond PCs and websites. Our survey showed that people are looking to do more on smartphones and tablets. For the last two years, French taxpayers have been able to file their taxes using their smartphones, and 80,000 did so in 2012. More than nine out of ten users express satisfaction with France’s online tax-paying service. Even as they determine how to bring more services online and offer greater interactive capabilities, governments also need to think in terms of designing apps, services, and con- tent to work across multiple devices—a PC at work, a laptop on the road, a tablet at home, a smartphone on the move anywhere. The demand for digital design expertise and tech- nological capability, whether developed in- house or contracted for outside, will only con- tinue to increase in the coming years. Privacy: The Third Rail? Privacy and personal-data protection are key issues for all users but especially for those ac- cessing justice, health care, and community services. This issue goes to the heart of all manner of online activities. For governments, because of their role and the unfortunate his- tory of some, it is perhaps the most funda- mental issue that they need to address. People want to do more on smartphones and tablets. We have written elsewhere that high-profile data breaches and missteps involving personal data have led to a decline in trust in how gov- ernments (as well as other organizations) pro- tect and use information, including personal data. (See “Rethinking Personal Data: Strengthening Trust,” BCG article, May 2012.) Concern about the use of personal informa- tion is present everywhere, although the level of apprehension, and of trust, varies widely by region and country. There are multiple aspects to this issue but the most basic is protection and security: How can personal data be pro- tected and secured against intentional and un- intentional security breaches and misuse? The U.S. has several times investigated options for online voting, especially for its armed forces stationed abroad, but has not proceeded be- cause of concerns over the security of the pro- cess. The Australian Taxation Office plans to use voice-matching technology to identify indi- viduals phoning in, which, in addition to mak- ing voice communication more secure, saves up to 45 seconds in both user and staff time per call. Unless users of government services can be assured that strong and appropriate protections are in place, they will be hesitant to hand over the data necessary for service ac- cess and delivery online. We have also argued that to earn the right to use data, companies must do two things—and the same applies to governments. (See “Why Trust Is More Important Than Ever,” BCG vid- eo, August 2013.) First, they must establish clear policies about data use that spell out how and when they will request permission to use data, the steps they will take to oversee its use, and the protocols and metrics that will deter and detect violations. Second, they must be transparent with users. They should be up- front about their policies, describing them in plain, simple, nontechnical language, as well as about the safeguards designed to uncover and report any potential problems.
  • 20. 18 | Digital Government Turning rhetoric into Reality What Governments Can Do While countries are spread all along the adoption curve, it’s clear from what users say about the importance of, and their satisfaction with, the digital delivery of government services—as well as their expectations for the future—that just about every government can do more to provide a better, more effective digital experience. Here is a five-step roadmap that any govern- ment can follow to improve digital service de- livery. Focus on Value Given limited resources, governments should concentrate their efforts on addressing the biggest gaps—the services that are most im- portant to constituents and the ones with which they are currently least satisfied. In most countries, this will mean e-health, on- line services for social security and welfare, online education services and e-learning, and digital self-service for visa and immigration services. It is good to set bold targets and ambitious timetables, as countries such as the UK, Denmark, Australia, and Qatar have done. Such goals—so long as they are backed up with action—will focus attention on delivery and send a strong message to both govern- ment officials and citizens that change is on the way. Adopt Service Design Thinking This may be the most important—and for some, the most difficult—step to take, since good service design does not always come easily to the public sector. Designing a seam- less and fulfilling end-user experience is not an accident but is rather the result of adopting tools, practices, and techniques from the growing discipline of service design thinking. Governments need to put themselves in the shoes of the users of their services. What do people encounter when they go to a govern- ment service website on a PC or a mobile de- vice? How easy is it for them to navigate to the information they seek? How much “clut- ter” do they encounter en route? How many steps does it take to do what they came to do? The answer, of course, is that far too of- ten, the user experience is far too difficult. Analysis of existing data on user interactions can yield surprising opportunities for simple changes that make it easier for people to find what they need. For example, by know- ing how users got to where they ended up, designers can make it easier for people to find what they are looking for. If content on government websites is never accessed, get rid of it! Listening to users express their frus- trations, and simplifying processes wherever possible, will go a long way toward address- ing their concerns.
  • 21. The Boston Consulting Group | 19 While IT, legal, and security departments all have roles to play, don’t let them drive their particular concerns over the user experi- ence. The conservative and risk-averse na- ture of government is not an ally in the digi- tal world. Lead Users Online, Keep Users Online The agencies that are succeeding in migrating customers online are doing so largely by pro- viding seamless end-to-end capabilities and closing down alternatives by phasing out over-the-counter or over-the-phone services for most users over time. Too many agencies allow a user to start a process online but require completion through an offline channel, such as printing and mailing a form. Or they require offline proof of identity in order to access services online. These steps add cost, frustrate users, and undermine confidence in a government’s commitment to online service delivery. Do online retailers ask customers to go to a store to establish a digital account? Do they require mailing a check to complete a purchase? The best online experiences are end to end: they start with the one-time establishment of an online identity or account (as with online retailers) and then enable the user to com- plete his or her business, including identity verification and the submission of any neces- sary documents or information, through a va- riety of digital methods. The user never has to leave his or her computer—or smartphone or tablet. In France, for example, tax assessments are pre-filled with available data by the govern- ment. Some 2 million families choose not to receive any paperwork associated with their tax filing, preferring a completely online ex- perience, and 90 percent of company taxes are paid via online services. A commitment to “no wrong door” policies does not mean having to offer every service through every channel. This is costly and un- sustainable in the long run. Governments can guide users online as they phase out offline channels over time. Demonstrate Senior Leadership and Commitment Digital services need a senior-level champion who will make the commitment to moving government services online a top-three priori- ty. Governments signal the importance and the urgency that they place on their digital initiatives by where they place responsibility for the effort. The ruler of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, declared earlier this year, “I want every citizen to perform govern- ment transactions via mobile phone.” The UK’s digital strategy is overseen by a cabi- net-level minister, Francis Maude. Leaders at this level are able not only to set clear strate- gy, agendas, and policy with aggressive tar- gets and timelines but also to help ensure the essential cooperation and coordination among departments and agencies. The best online services are end to end. Equally important, if governments want citi- zens to change their behavior, they need to change their own. They can hardly expect people to go online and stay online if agen- cies are still mailing out paper letters and statements. Governments should begin the transition to electronic communications as soon as possible. Build the Capabilities and Skills to Execute Governments, like private-sector companies, need to develop or acquire digital capabili- ties. This is especially difficult in the public sector because digital talent is not naturally attracted to public service. What skills a gov- ernment does have are often fragmented across departments and agencies. Delivering digital services is likely to require a strong central team to drive the strategy. The team may benefit from having a senior leader from outside the public sector. It may be necessary (and more cost effective) to con- tract with outside service providers.
  • 22. 20 | Digital Government The UK has had some success by starting the development of its digital strategy with the strong engagement of leaders in the sector. The government created a separate unit to work on the project—Government Digital Service—that is distinct from other ministries and agencies and able to develop its own practices and culture. An advisory board of external experts was brought together to support the new unit. The unit itself has worked to capture the innovative and entrepreneurial culture that is a hallmark of successful digital companies, to the point that, according to the Wall Street Journal, it is now described in some of the UK’s leading technology forums as “the UK’s most innovative start-up.” (See the sidebar “UK Goes Digital by Default.”) Digital transformation is a journey that will take planning, time, and continuing adjust- ment. Governments should keep two issues front of mind. One is the need for strong poli- cies and procedures to protect user privacy and personal data. The second is the need to assist those without ready digital access or The UK government launched a compre- hensive digital strategy in November 2012, combining 11 “central principles” and 14 “concrete actions” (later expanded to 16) to build a framework for reengineering government and redesigning digital services. The program is anchored at the cabinet level. The strategy is clear-cut: transitioning the UK to a government that is digital by default, which is defined as “digital services that are so straightforward and convenient that all those who can use them will choose to do so whilst those who can’t are not excluded.” The plan is expected to result in savings of £1.7 billion to £1.8 billion a year. The program started with the publication of the digital strategy, followed by the target- ing of 25 “exemplar” services for end-to- end digital reengineering. These included services related to registration, immigra- tion, justice, and social services, among other areas. The process comprises four design phases for each service: discovery (learn), alpha (prototype), beta (test), and live (achieve outcomes). The following are some key attributes of the UK’s strategy: •• Senior leadership and investment are committed for an extended period of time. •• There is a concrete vision with clear and aggressive goals, including a target of 80 percent digital service. The strategy commits the government to specific actions. Progress is reported quarterly. The first wave of 25 exemplar services are being moved online, and all large new or redesigned digital transactional services that go live after April 2014 will be digital by default. •• A specialized Government Digital Service team has the mandate to further the digital-by-default agenda and maintain the central website, gov. UK. A core central team separate from traditional government structures and constraints focuses on driving the overall vision forward. The websites of UK government depart- ments have been consolidated into one gov.UK point of access. The next phase is the digital transformation of the exemplar services—1 service has already gone live, 15 are in the beta phase, and another 6 are in the alpha phase. Ministers have started to explore how to open up government transactions so they can be delivered easily by commercial organizations and charities. The government is making sure that no one gets left behind as it goes digital, helping departments think about what they can do to get service users online. UK Goes Digital by Default
  • 23. The Boston Consulting Group | 21 the ability to use digital tools. There will al- ways be a significant percentage of people who are disabled, disadvantaged, or regional- ly isolated. Face-to-face and telephone chan- nels will continue to play a role in providing support to these citizens. Governments can give themselves a pat on the back. They have brought a large number of services online, and they have done a good job moving to more digital deliv- ery. They are recognized for their efforts by users. But they cannot rest on their laurels. People are impatient. Having seen the poten- tial, they are eager for more. As users gain so- phistication—and as sophisticated users grow in number—expectations will only continue to rise.
  • 24. 22 | Digital Government % responses 57 4660 52 4148 41455261 42 UAE SAUDI ARABIA MALAYSIA RUSSIAINDONESIAAUSTRALIA DENMARKFRANCEUKU.S. NETHER- LANDS Satisfied with services, average (%) CommunitiesandcultureEducationHousingHealthJusticeImmigration 63 57 64 53 60 55 57 60 61 53 64 63 58 62 56 71 51 57 54 53 63 61 50 66 69 56 64 55 59 50 49 46 53 58 59 49 52 54 53 49 46 52 48 49 50 54 54 52 43 46 46 56 52 59 60 50 50 53 48 51 49 44 45 55 53 33 36 62 42 50 47 44 54 50 39 38 38 44 41 45 45 39 42 58 46 58 65 58 40 42 44 42 46 53 36 43 43 45 54 49 36 38 47 54 31 43 51 32 32 45 51 44 47 31 49 43 31 38 41 48 31 40 32 36 45 40 37 35 46 41 47 36 44 34 37 42 46 42 43 35 38 29 38 Accessing passport control and immigration services Applying for or renewing a visa, residency, or work permit Applying for or renewing a passport Searching, registering, or updating tenancy agreements Applying for or renewing a planning or building permit Searching for, registering for, or accessing health care services Searching, registering, or accessing health care records Accessing, enrolling in, or interacting with a public university Accessing, enrolling in, or interacting with a public school Reporting maintenance issues at public facilities 58 52 52 51 51 47 46 39 39 31 44 Accessing public parks and sporting facilities 64 66 62 56 55 58 42 48 52 38 55 Accessing public-broadcasting services 66 65 61 60 48 60 39 41 58 34 45 Accessing cultural, heritage, or similar facilities Applying for or renewing permits for hunting, fishing, etc Voting in (parliamentary) elections Participating in community consultation/ online surveys 52 59 54 50 50 57 56 49 48 50 45 44 36 39 35 40 37 39 38 52 42 35 Contacting or submitting documents to a court Accessing legal aid or legal services 51 57 52 57 55 55 43 40 52 54 40 38 35 46 38 44 33 41 35 36 34 42 Accessing police records or reporting an incident Accessing or reporting incidents to emergency services Satisfaction with Online Government Services Appendix
  • 25. The Boston Consulting Group | 23 57 4660 52 4148 41455261 42 UAE SAUDI ARABIA MALAYSIA RUSSIAINDONESIAAUSTRALIA DENMARKFRANCEUKU.S. NETHER- LANDS Satisfied with services, average (%) % responses RegistriesSocialservicesTaxandcustomsTransport 74 77 75 70 56 56 65 62 57 71 74 75 69 53 55 55 58 70 72 71 65 65 47 51 46 55 59 68 57 55 74 38 51 54 48 51 58 57 62 57 51 62 42 46 51 70 54 62 60 49 48 49 46 50 53 55 61 57 39 50 54 42 39 46 45 48 42 37 51 49 40 45 61 42 48 59 30 51 52 49 31 39 46 50 47 34 46 40 44 44 63 41 43 56 31 40 56 36 35 Accessing real-time public-information services Searching for, registering, or updating a vehicle registration Applying for or renewing or replacing a driver’s license Making payments for taxes, rates, fines, or penalties 60 54 53 44 50 45 39 53 27 36 36 Making payments for customs duties on imports or exports 70 65 69 77 44 70 42 44 61 58 49 Filing tax assessments or submissions Accessing public-housing services or subsidies Searching for, registering for, or using an employment service Making payments to retirement or government schemes Applying for or receiving a financial benefit Applying for or renewing a concession card 67 66 66 57 51 56 38 46 51 44 36 Updating address or contact details when moving 59 51 48 42 43 37 36 37 39 40 34 Searching, registering, or updating property registries 66 55 57 43 55 45 43 45 39 42 34 Searching for, registering, or updating company details 62 60 55 67 51 43 51 48 32 39 35 Searching for or registering a certificate of birth, death, or marriage 62 57 56 55 60 63 61 53 38 47 40 Applying for or renewing an identity or proof of age card 60 75 64 48 49 37 51 49 31 48 31 Registering to vote or updating details on electoral roll Source: BCG 2014 Digital Government Satisfaction Survey. Note: Respondents were asked, “How satisfied are you with the use of the Internet in delivering each kind of government service?” Respondents could choose from 1 to 7, with 1 indicating “extremely dissatisfied” and 7 indicating “extremely satisfied.” Both 6 and 7 were considered to indicate satisfaction. Singapore excluded.
  • 26. 24 | Digital Government About the Authors Miguel Carrasco is a partner and managing director in the Canberra office of The Boston Consulting Group. Peter Goss is a principal in the firm‘s Melbourne office. Acknowledgments The authors are grateful to the following BCG partners and colleagues for their assistance in the preparation of this research and report: Andrew Asten, Agnès Audier, Craig Baker, Adrian Brown, Christopher Daniel, Aurélie Granger, Emmanuel Huet, Daniela Jozic, Sergei Perapechka, Carmen Roche, and Swapan Taneja. They are also grateful to the BCG Center for Consumer and Customer Insight for its assistance with the Digital Government Satisfaction Survey. Finally, the authors would like to thank David Duffy for his help in writing the report and Katherine Andrews, Gary Callahan, Kim Friedman, Abigail Garland, Gina Goldstein, and Sara Strassenreiter for their assistance with its design, editing, and production. For Further Contact For further information about this report or the Digital Government Satisfaction Survey, including country-by-country data, please contact one of the authors. Miguel Carrasco Partner and Managing Director BCG Canberra +61 2 6243 2800 carrasco.miguel@bcg.com Peter Goss Principal BCG Melbourne +61 3 9656 2100 goss.peter@bcg.com note to the reader
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