By Shannon Hawksworth

The digital future of government services is on the horizon

Digital transformation, government services, digital services,

Digital services are here to stay

Australia is advancing towards becoming a digital nation at lightning speed. Our government has a dedicated Digital Transformation Agency whose aim is to drive digitisation of services and be in the top three digitised nations by 2025.

Infact, around 47 percent of federal services are on track to be digitised, with a view to make the Australian government one of the top three digital governments in the world.

We talk to Shannon Hawksworth from our Solution Engineering team to find out about the key trends and innovations that are emerging in local, state and national service delivery across government agencies in Australia. 

Digital delivery almost overnight

The pandemic stretched government services in every direction, to find ways to keep services available to the nation, agencies turned to digital service delivery to maintain basic services and meet customer needs.

Many agencies were already looking for online delivery; the social distancing requirements during COVID-19 accelerated these projects.

“All of a sudden, new innovative digital services emerged at speed, unlocking vital services such as telehealth, remote learning, and contactless digital payments,” says Shannon Hawksworth. “The most vital services had to be delivered quickly, now we have a window of opportunity to explore innovations and efficiencies in more traditional government agencies. This is where government and technology providers can work together to ensure citizens can access their services.”

Key trends

Many of the key trends are twofold, citizens have become more digital savvy, and services have become more widely available across local, state and federal agencies. There are more services available, and these are at different stages of sophistication.

  • Digital government services are making up ground in development and offer online experiences similar to the private sector customer service model. 
  • People prefer to use a single identity to simplify how they navigate across government services.
  • There is a significant opportunity to improve digital accessibility across all government agencies and services.
  • People want to know that their data is secure, so agencies are building privacy and security into online services.

Digital government services have come a long way

Right now, we are seeing that people are becoming more tech-savvy and willing to trust digital services. For example, Australians now choose myGov for regular services such as Medicare, ATO, Centrelink and National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), My Health Record, Australian JobSearch, among others. According to the Australian Government’s roadmap, by 2030 the country will operate with digital identities and frictionless services. 

“There are a raft of services available now, which were at most an idea pre-pandemic. Telehealth is an excellent example, where doctors can virtually consult patients within their own home,” says Shannon. “Australians are starting to embrace a digital economy. It’s exciting to see the next generation of smart, personalised services which are already available and we can all look forward to the innovation that will continue in the near future and beyond.” 

Hybrid services brings resources together seamlessly

Governments are now looking for more ways to offer both in person and virtual services. Across government agencies there is an increased focus on quality customer experience, drawing from demand. People now expect to be able to interact with most organisations digitally. These would include using modern channels, such as social media, instant chat, video, apps and AI features, which effortlessly resolves inquiries in the quickest time possible. “The modern customer expects help on their terms, gone are the days where people should sit on hold for an hour. ” Organisations need to consider shifting into more integrated and higher quality customer experiences. 

“The pandemic has shown us that we need a hybrid model, both in person and online services.” Naturally there are many services which can only be delivered in person, such as medical procedures, initial identity verification, court proceedings and social worker visits. In the new normal, the opportunity here is to simplify access to booking systems and streamline operations, so these can be delivered in a more efficient way. 

At the moment, there is an abundance of technology to support frictionless in person services alongside the convenience of digital offerings, whilst providing personalised services to customers and enriching the employee experience.

Building digital identity

As the nation shifts towards a digital world, identification will be crucial. 

For decades, governments have relied on old systems to identify people, where a physical presence is generally required for verification and authentication. Digital identities are quickly becoming adopted across departments for swift delivery of services. In some Australian States, a digital drivers licence has been implemented and allows people to validate their identity virtually.

“Digital identity is the key to unlocking virtual services. This requires strong security measures, as well as privacy policies, to be in place, to protect the integrity of personal information. Agencies don’t have to reinvent the wheel, they can implement available enterprise grade systems that are integrated to verify identity and ensure sign-in security.” 

Next steps for digital government services

The challenge with government services is the sheer scale and complexity of the projects. This is where digital transformation expertise shines.

As government agencies look for ways to streamline their processes, people are demanding more tailored experiences both online and in person.

There is a window of opportunity to leapfrog into virtual solutions, and Australians are the first in line as beneficiaries.

To discover the scale of this vision, Infosys explored what is next for digital government services regarding hybrid customer service in Australia and New Zealand.

Discover how Simplus delivers digital solutions across State and Federal Governments to simplify their digital engagement.

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