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The Role of GovTech in the Era of the Digital+ Economy

Written by Kalyan Kumar, Chief Product Officer at HCLSoftware, and Rajiv Shesh, Chief Revenue Officer at HCLSoftware

We at HCLSoftware are about to take another big step forward on an epic journey — the global adventure called GovTech.

GovTech — which also goes by electronic government, digital government or e-government — is a global movement that leverages innovations in digital technology to improve delivery of government services and citizen engagement. Applying digital tools, data analytics, and cutting-edge systems and methodologies to public sector challenges, GovTech streamlines processes, boosts efficiency, and enhances the experience of governance.

 

A core premise of this movement is the need for digital transformation — the transition from traditional, paper-based processes to digital platforms — in this new, hyperconnected Digital+ Economy. The digitization of government can fuel faster, more accurate service delivery and improved data management, aligning government with the massive changes in the way we work, communicate, collaborate, and live our lives in the Digital+ era.

GovTech advocates are focused on three key priorities:

 

  • Governments and citizens share a powerful interest in keeping malicious actors at bay — and as government operations digitize, GovTech plays a crucial role in securing sensitive government data and systems against cyber threats. That includes everything from comprehensive cyberdefense strategies to deployment of AI and quantum security technologies. Securing digital processes — even something as simple as a driver’s license application — necessitates locking down endpoints, anticipating and repelling cyberattacks, and countering sophisticated scams.

 

  • Citizen engagement and service delivery. GovTech solutions often focus on enhancing the quality and accessibility of public services — making them more streamlined, transparent, and user-friendly. Digital platforms can also help to track government activities, foster accountability, and reduce corruption, while data-driven decision-making drives better outcomes and provides valuable insights into citizen needs. The result is better policies and greater citizen engagement.

 

  • Economic development and innovation. GovTech enables the development of online platforms and mobile applications for citizens to access government services easily — including such services as tax filing, permit applications, and dissemination of public information. Streamlining these processes and providing better data and planning tools improves economic outcomes across society.More broadly, GovTech encourages innovation by enabling governments to adopt new technologies and adapt quickly to changing circumstances. This agility is crucial to address emerging challenges and meet evolving citizen expectations. And GovTech-enabled innovations can be dramatic in scope. For example, GovTech contributes to the development of smart cities by integrating technology to manage resources, enhance infrastructure, and improve quality of life.

 

In practice, GovTech is a highly collaborative endeavor, with best practices and innovations shared among governments worldwide and productive partnerships joining governments and enterprises.

 

The upcoming World Economic Forum (WEF) conference in Davos will be the occasion for deepening such relationships and sharing resources and approaches on a global scale. Among other frameworks and relationships, WEF promotes sharing of innovations and best practices through a platform called Global Future Councils (GFCs), in which HCLSoftware participates. In fact, GFCs are just one of many ways we work with stakeholders globally to advance GovTech goals and guide governments’ engagement with the Digital+ world.

As we prepare to join with stakeholders from around the world in Davos — including GovTech advocates from places like Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, and Switzerland — three principles help us focus our attention and maximize our impact.

 

First, governments and other stakeholders must take the long view and play the long game. That means bringing diverse perspectives together to craft effective long-term strategies — then applying creativity and commitment to bring their goals to fruition. Plans should be holistic, favoring solutions that replicate easily and scale dramatically.

 

Second, GovTech interventions should be phased and milestone-based — showing citizens the benefits early, energizing protagonists of change, and inspiring confidence in the road ahead.

 

Finally, continuous communication is essential to share the vision and the plan for change clearly with stakeholders and citizens. In the innovative, multi-stakeholder model of governance we’re creating, participants won’t be passive recipients of GovTech’s benefits — but full partners in the future of government.