Developments in digitization happen fast and citizens expect municipalities and other government agencies to increase the level of digital services they provide. However, the central government has not developed a particular vision for this Digital Transformation (DX). We recently talked to Daniel Perrier and Michel van Teijlingen to summarize the major differences between the different municipalities.
What Does this Digital Transformation Encompass?
Perrier: “It is very clear that there is no ready-made definition, so we see that many government agencies have trouble clarifying what this transformation means to them. Meanwhile society is making increasing demands on the government, like digital self-service portals, DigiD and access to data for individuals and companies. Some municipalities are tackling the digital challenges together and have come quite a way, but others are still barely at the level of digitizing data.
Governments have trouble breaking free from their old structures and that is sometimes an obstacle to innovation. A good example in the ‘government world’ is Estonia, a relatively young country that doesn't carry that burden. They started off doing everything digitally from day one. Any global citizen can open a bank account or start a company in Estonia without having to be physically present.”
What is Needed for a Digital Transformation?
Perrier: “We subscribe to the philosophy that this transformation is based on the three pillars strategy, technology and culture. In recent years technology has come so far that this is no longer a problem, we can use it to solve any problem. However, organizations are often not quite ready to start thinking differently, which is why they run into issues at a strategic and cultural level. One pitfall is the fact that organizations approach the problem from the technological angle. This means they will often invest in knowledge and technology, but are not so focused on embedding those new people in their culture and strategy.
Van Teijlingen: “Governments are required to issue a tender if they make purchases over a certain amount. A positive development is that although in the past government agencies were very focused on existing products or brand names, these days they make the functionality of what they want to purchase much more of a priority.”
What Does the Market has to Offer?
Van Teijlingen: “Whereas before, large organizations would only try to sell their own products, they now have more of an eye for solutions that the market really needs. We also work together with strategic partners to take on the client’s problems in other areas and to stay flexible in the rapidly changing market. For example, we offer a joint knowledge platform; it no longer makes any difference to the clients who provide that platform. So we're no longer just talking about the transaction, but also about adoption, the actual use of the applications.”
What Does that Mean for You?
Perrier: “From a traditional software re-seller we have grown into a service provider that supplies software as well as applications and associated services, like training and inspiration sessions, and help to develop an appropriate strategy. These last few years SoftwareONE has made significant investments in this area. We want to help clients with the technology and strategy aspects and indirectly, via partners, with the cultural aspect as well. By doing both it is possible to make a real transformation.”