Also referred to as e-government, digital government services can be defined as services available to the public and business community that utilize information and communication technology. The digital services for governments themselves deliver far more open and efficient services to both parties thanks to the ease and convenience of the latest technology.
Digital government services do not require an employee to be waiting by the phone or sitting at a desk to begin an application or process, which frees up staff time for more important projects. Digital services for governments can range from business license renewals and fishing license applications to filing tax returns and so on. Most processes a government can make available online would be considered a digital government service.
However, offering digital services involves far more than just making forms accessible to citizens online. Local governments should consider the specific needs of their citizens and put care and attention into digitizing the services citizens use most, rather than focusing on getting all services online quickly with little concern for quality or usage.
What are the Benefits of Digital Government Services?
The most obvious beneficiaries of digital government services are citizens. Many community members expect to be able to quickly and conveniently access the services they need from wherever they are. Not only that, but citizens want to be able to easily request information they need from their government entities with the help of digital technology.
This convenience can also foster far more civic engagement and participation within the community. The benefits of digital government services don’t end there, as governments that transition their services online often see benefits that extend far beyond better service delivery and community engagement.
Other benefits of digital government services include:
- Improved internal productivity and efficiency, as government employees have more free time for important tasks instead of the more tedious, mundane tasks like filing paperwork.
- Better collaboration between departments, as important documents can easily be accessed in a digital repository and shared.
- Reduced labor costs and paper usage as digital government services can help eliminate paper-based workflows, saving governments money and helping the environment.
With digital government services, governments can do more with less and serve their communities much better than if they were to continue to rely on more traditional forms of service. Additionally, in a world where mistrust of government seems to be at an all-time high, these digital services for government can help increase transparency and improve the relationship between the community and its governing body.
The traditional method of providing services involves numerous paper-based workflows, little to no insight into the business processes, heavy investment in people and time, and no access to reporting data. The benefits of digital government services don’t just help alleviate all these problems, but they also improve the relationship between governments and their citizens.