Government organizations face growing pressure from citizens to deliver more efficient public services. Here’s how low code can empower eGovernment initiatives.
If there’s a silver lining to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s how it led to the acceleration of digital transformation, particularly in sectors that have traditionally lagged behind when it comes to innovation. The government sector is one of those sectors, with bloated bureaucracies facing growing criticism from both the media and the general public.
Although governments might not manufacture goods or sell services, their job is to secure and protect the rights of their citizens. To that end, citizens and businesses alike rely on essential government services ranging from renewing public documents to filing tax returns to voting in elections. How governments deliver those services is falling under increasing scrutiny.
Governments face an urgent and growing demand from their constituents to provide innovative digital services that are more accessible and efficient to the general public. Enter the new era of eGovernment, in which the application of digital communications and online platforms leads to increased efficiency, transparency, and citizen participation.
However, despite the rapid advancement of eGovernment initiatives in recent years, there’s still plenty of room for improvement at regional, state, and national levels. Most governments worldwide are still struggling to modernize and replace legacy applications to integrate next-generation digital ecosystems.
The combination of low-code software development and open-source licensing is the perfect solution to the challenge. While low code is ideally tailored to governance across agencies and digital environments and public sector collaboration, open source ensures digital sovereignty in a world where the vast majority of the world’s proprietary technology is owned and operated by US-headquartered tech giants.
How are governments using low code?
Done correctly, low-code development is effectively synonymous with rapid innovation. This must now become a top priority for government organizations at a time of growing apathy and falling engagement with government services in many countries. If services remain too bloated and heavily reliant on traditional manual processes, citizens become less likely to file taxes on time and correctly, renew public documents, and more.
Fortunately, there is promise on the horizon thanks to the widespread availability of low code platforms and an increasing shift towards open source. According to the UN eGovernment Development Index, Denmark is leading the global race with a score of 0.9717. However, the US sits at tenth place, with a score of 0.9151, making clear that there’s room for improvement. In the US, the availability and quality of state-level government services varies significantly.
Here are some ways government organizations can leverage low code to keep up:
One of the most important characteristics of any eGovernment solution is consistency. It’s imperative that citizens know what to expect and what they need to do whenever interacting with vital government services, such as tax filing and document renewal. However, while such processes might be clearly defined, reliance on manual operations inevitably increased the risk of human error. Low code is ideal for automating routine workflows, especially those that are essential to the functions of the state and where errors can lead to serious consequences.
The coronavirus pandemic saw an urgent need for innovative digital solutions, such as contact-tracing apps and vaccine passports, which had to be developed quickly to have the desired effect. That said, coronavirus won’t be the last pandemic, and it’s important that governments be prepared for the next one. Low code makes it possible to quickly and easily develop apps to assist in pandemic response, as well as responses to other emergencies.
Unsurprisingly, the government sector is one of the most data-heavy of all, but data is of limited use without the means to organize, govern, and gain insight from it. Data-driven insights are vital for driving informed decision-making and assessing everything from a voter apathy to fraud in elections to the severity of things like epidemics and other natural disasters. An API-centric low code platform that allows you to connect any data source is the ideal solution for building analytics dashboards.
The sheer number of people involved in government projects adds complexity and breeds bureaucracy, along with all the delays and overspending that tend to come with it. Indeed, eGovernment initiatives themselves can end up being delayed due to poor project management. However, a low-code platform is ideal for quickly building tailored project management solutions that allow participants to set up tasks, set priorities, update deadlines, track expenses, and more.
While getting internal government operations up to speed should be a top priority, successful eGovernment programs are largely defined by the ways citizens interact with them. For example, digital self-service portals can allow citizens to do everything from filing their tax returns to renewing passports, ID cards, or driving licenses. With the ability to integrate any data source and easily improve and adapt application functionality, an open low-code development platform is the perfect match for self-service portals.
Accelerating digital sovereignty
There’s rising concern among governments that they and their constituents are losing control over their data and, by extension, their capacity for innovation. Given that most of the world’s data ultimately falls under the control of US-based tech giants, the need for digital sovereignty couldn’t be clearer. In fact, it’s now a top strategic priority for the European Union.
Governments are responsible for overseeing the implementation of digital sovereignty on the national level, as well as introducing and enforcing privacy regulations like the EU’s GDPR or California’s CCPA.
Admittedly, most low code development platforms are closed source and owned by companies based in the US, Salesforce and its Lightning platform being a prime example. However, open-source alternatives, such as Corteza or Mendix, also exist, thus allowing governments to enjoy all the benefits of low code without being tied to a contract with a company headquartered in another state or country.
Digital sovereignty must be front and center in any eGovernment initiative. The lack of it has already resulted in massive controversy before. For example, the UK was recently forced to back out of its agreement with Chinese tech giant Huawei to implement 5G networks in the country due to digital sovereignty and privacy concerns.
No government initiative, including an eGovernment project, should be entirely beholden to a private or public company in another jurisdiction – especially that of a rival state. Fortunately, the combination of open source and low code allows governments and nations to innovate at their own capacity, independently, and in line with their own legal and governance policies. With data now being the world’s most valuable resource, that fact cannot be ignored.
Planet Crust is the principle creator behind the Corteza open-source low-code development platform. We provide training, support, hosting, and consulting services to government bodies seeking to facilitate more efficient and accessible interactions with their citizens. Try Corteza on-premises or in the cloud today.