Thursday, August 11 2022

The digital transformation in public administration is at a turning point and there are great opportunities to accelerate.

a efficient, agile and intelligent Public administration must become a reality as soon as possible; digitization is the main path that businesses must take to get there. The transition to digital can no longer be postponed; It’s time to actespecially in this complicated time, when much of the world has experienced an unprecedented health emergency, which has triggered serious economic consequences.

However, the panorama before us is not entirely negative. This crisis was a real turning point. As always, in the midst of so many difficulties, the new opportunities to seize have already emerged with great force. In this “new world”, most of the new opportunities are related to digital transformation, especially in public administration.

Situation of public administration in Italy after the Covid phase

In Italy, the post-Covid-19 period can turn into a great opportunity to fill some of the gaps that still separate us from the highest European standards. It is above all a unique opportunity to get ahead of the competition.

To examine the current situation in Italy, the latest DESI report (Digital Economy and Society Index, available here), which monitors the evolving digital agendas of all European countries, is a good place to start.

In the general classification, Italy is far behind: 24th out of 28. Italy must be able to catch up on several fronts: connectivity, human capital, efficient use of internet services, integration of digital technologies by businesses and digital public services.

The good news is that progress has already started. The proof is in the numbers: Italy’s overall score fell from 38.9 in 2018 to 43.9 in 2019; this is an increase of 5 points, compared to 2.7 points of the European average. During the last year of research, Italy has recorded the most significant growth.

What to do now, after this emergency period? Consolidate this trend; and speed it up. Public administration has a central role to play in this regard, and it must become increasingly crucial. The dynamics of the PA, in fact, have a decisive impact on almost all types of businesses, on the administrative and economic system in general, and above all on the lives of all citizens. That is why it is essential to get out of here.

It’s a question of “dematerialization”

Digitization and dematerialization are not synonymous. And that’s really important when it comes to public administration. The difference between these two concepts has a decisive legal and operational impact.

So what are we talking about when we talk about dematerialization? In short, it is a process by which physical documents are replaced by a paperless, digital system where digital versions assume the same legal and probative value as their physical counterparts.

For the Italian public administration, dematerialization started with Legislative Decree No. 82 of March 7, 2005 (source, which sanctioned the birth of Italy Digital Administration Code (CAD). Since then, things have come a long way, as evidenced by the 29 DAC updates. In particular, an important turning point in this area was the introduction of electronic invoicing, which is a really central theme. For transactions between companies and the Public Administration, it is estimated that digitizing the entire order cycle could lead to savings of € 6.5 billion each year (source:

More generally, with dematerialization, the electronic document replaces the paper document. The digital signature replaces the handwritten signature; traditional mail is replaced by E-mail; and Certified electronic mail (PEC) replaces registered mail and fax. And above all, the digital archive replaces the traditional paper archive. All this translates into a rise in power Efficiency, important cost savings and also time saving invested in the relations between the Palestinian Authority and the citizens. Then there is the increase in security and reliability, the ease of sharing information and documents. (to learn more about the many advantages of the digital document over analog, see this article on our blog).

That’s not all; with digitization (and dematerialization) Public Administration becomes “closer” to citizens. We will learn about this in the next paragraph. And, later in this article, we’ll take a look at a successful case study. Let’s see all the benefits and opportunities of digital transformation in public administration.

The citizen at the center: how to learn from the best Customer Experiences

The role of the client is very different from that of the citizen. The customer knows that if the quality of a service or a product does not satisfy him, he can turn to another company. Of course, companies also know this and act on it.

The citizen, for his part, operates within a determined and established regulatory framework, which, ideally, should be both transparent and easily accessible. However, in the midst of all these decisive differences, there are some touchpoints that must be taken into account. That is why the most enlightened public administrations are starting to take an increasing interest in the dynamics of Customer Experience in the private sector, by imitating its best practices, especially on the digital side.

What does this mean in concrete terms?

First of all, this will require focusing on the friendliness digital services, which must be friendly, available 24/7, optimized in omnichannel mode, with particular attention to mobile. Therefore, public administrations must be able to take advantage of the tools of data collection, analysis and interpretation. This allows them to get to know “citizen-users” better, their characteristics, their online behavior, their needs.

Such knowledge of the target audience is the first step to continuous improvement of its processes and services, and To establish an effective and fruitful dialogue, tailored from a face-to-face perspective. All this impacts the perception that citizens have of any type of administration., especially in critical or emergency phases (such as the current one).

Another key word to keep in mind is “disintermediation”. Here, the procedures that have wasted the time and patience of citizens, and the senseless spending of public resources go away! Today, disintermediation goes through a Public Administration which knows how to operate online – with functional and practical websites – and which is also at ease on social networks, where the administration facilitates communication with citizens, also via dedicated applications.

It is clear that in order to implement a coherent, effective and comprehensive strategy, public administrations will have to work with specialized companies that have specific expertise in this area. The end result of these operations, of this digital transformation of the relationship between PA and citizens, is the creation of a close relationship of trust, from which everyone benefits.

Dialogue with citizens through personalized videos: the case of the Municipality of Cesena

Today, it is fundamental for Public Administrations to establish a tailor-made, individualized and digital dialogue with citizens. Let’s look at an example that relies on two ingredients: the medium of video and personalization. The combination of these two ingredients takes communications to a truly unprecedented level of efficiency.

Forbes, in a item, defined the combination of video and personalization as “The ultimate marketing breakthrough brands need”. It’s not just for brands, however; the public administration also needs such tools to communicate with citizens.

The Municipality of Cesena has decided to implement the digitization of all points of contact between citizens and the administration, from discovery and access to services, to the management of acts and documents, to the fulfillment of tax obligations . By collaborating with Doxee, he was able to go even further, through customization for the collection of the Tari tax.

In this scenario, the citizen receives by e-mail a video designed especially for them (thanks to the collection of data, from the information collected during their registration on the site), and information about their ownership. This communication explains in detail how the tax is calculated and how the revenue generated is used. Another fundamental element of communication: It is interactive. Through a personalized call to action, the citizen is immediately and simply prompted to perform a variety of actions, from updating property data, to customer service, to the payment process (tFor more information, see the case study, here).

In this way, a traditionally slippery and unpleasant point of contact is transformed into an opportunity for dialogue between the Palestinian Authority and the citizen, transparent and a pledge of confidence.

Here is, in conclusion, the real revolution of digital transformation in public administration: put the citizen at the center of things.

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