The concepts of digitization and digitalization in the public sector cover a whole range of activities around building an efficient economy based on data and services delivered through electronic channels. This economy is, above all, designed to be efficient and friendly for citizens. It requires both: applications for citizens to use when in contact with government bodies and analytical solutions, that allow governments to interact appropriately with citizens, rationally manage budgets and identify areas, that require intervention and improvements. However a certain amount of digitization of processes is required before analysts can really bring value because they need a reasonable amount of data. This takes time to build up.
Poland on the road to digitization
Poland reached this point a few years ago, following successful computerization of key ministries and agencies. Its first effective large-scale analytical project was to support the implementation of censuses by the Central Statistical Office. The project found that data could be collected from state registers, with suitable checks for quality and compliance, and then be supplemented with information from other sources. This eliminated the need for major financial outlay. The success of this project suggests that analytics are likely to be used in the future, and become a regular part of the arsenal of public statistics tools.
Poland is also running a number of activities designed to digitize processes in health protection. These include various initiatives, from the construction of solutions supporting the operation of individual institutes and hospitals, to analysis of the risk of fraud in the National Health Fund. Each of these initiatives shows the importance of proper organization of data management processes, to help staff to understand the value of data. This may be particularly true in healthcare because more effective services mean better health for patients. It is therefore essential to use every means possible to improve services, including the ability to analyze data, the culmination of digitization of business processes.
Maturity in building a digital state
The Ministry of Digital Affairs is responsible for central implementation and coordination of the digitization of state administration. It is using a modern approach to developing the use of data, focusing on data openness, together with regular checks to see if data can be re-used. The second element is supported by central organization of data through a system of State Registries. The unified registry data are available for multiple business processes, providing the opportunity to create convergent services, designed around citizens and their goals, rather than the convenience of the state administration structure. This focus on the citizen should be an integral principle of digitization.
The Ministry of Digitization is active in improving skills and options for using analysis of data collected. The planned Integrated Analytical Platform will be a solution enabling the integration of advanced data analysis into every decision-making process. The ambition is to enable organizations to find solutions to currently intractable issues, where finding the answer requires bringing together data from several different areas of the administration, often for the first time. Projects like this show both ambition and the high level of maturity that has already been achieved in building a digital state.
The Ministry of Finance has also strengthened its digital operations in recent years, for example, by automating the filing of tax returns by citizens. The increase in the volume of available data is an opportunity to use analytics to reduce the risk of fraud, including in VAT and excise. Several solutions have been created in recent years, and are providing real benefits for the state budget, while also improving the competitiveness of the economy. The Finance Ministry is providing a model for other institutions to follow in the design and implementation of safe solutions.
Communication is just the beginning
Digitization has greatly improved communications with citizens, but this is by no means the end of the process. It is, in fact, just the beginning of the road towards an efficient and citizen-centered state. The final goal will be to deliver effective business analytics, allowing the state to optimize operations, reduce costs, tighten settlement processes and proactively deliver to meet the changing expectations of citizens.