Consultants at McKinsey estimate that countries globally can save $1 trillion annually by digitizing government. Yes, Trillion-With-A-T. Those savings could go a long way towards funding needs such as education, health, transportation, and infrastructure. What companies are tapping into this huge opportunity?
How Does Digitizing Government Help?
As I’ve written previously, government could be a leader in digital goods and services. Much of modern government comprises activities that are going digital in the private sector. Think logistics, insurance, collections and payments, and publishing. We expect our shippers, insurers, banks, and content providers to operate efficiently using digital approaches. We want them to offer online services through websites and mobile apps.
The McKinsey consultants point to digital technologies improving how governments deliver services to citizens, operate behind-the-scenes processes, make complex decisions, and share data.
Going digital helps by removing friction in distribution, which is one of the key activities of marketing. Send and receiving goods, services, and payments digitally is simply faster, more efficient, and more secure.
Digital communications makes it easier for government agencies to gather and analyze citizen feedback. Without this type of market research, our governments struggle to meet our needs and improve.
This opportunity isn’t limited to the developing world. In their manifesto (which is appropriately available in digital form), the authors of Digitizing Government say that the U.K. could redirect at least 46 billion pounds annually into other services by digitizing government.
Companies That Are Digitizing Government
Where there is opportunity of this size, you’ll find entrepreneurs and investors trying to capitalize. Here’s a sample of companies I’ve found that are working to bring digital efficiency to citizens.
- Compology is taking on the un-sexy task of making garbage collection more efficient. By placing cameras and sensors inside garbage dumpsters, they gather and analyze data about the waste stream. Tracking dumpster locations and emptying dumpsters only when they’re full saves ratepayers up to 30 percent in fees.
- Nava began as the group who helped fix the U.S. HealthCare.gov website after its launch in 2013. The group organized themselves as a public benefit corporation and now tackle digital transformations for veterans and Medicare recipients. They also work at the state and local level.
- OpenGov founders studied how governments handled budgeting in the aftermath of the Great Recession and saw there had to be a better way. The company offers a cloud-based solution that transforms how governments budget, measure performance, and engage the public.
- Tyler Technologies has been around since the mid-1960s. For three decades they operated several industrial and distribution businesses. In the late 1990s, they decided to focus the company on serving the unique information management software needs of local governments. Now they offer digital solutions for courts, public safety, taxes, records, schools, and other local functions.
- WaterSmart provides analytics and customer service software for water systems. Because most of us receive our water from local governments, WaterSmart is by default helping to digitize government.
Is your city or county is using these companies or ones like it? If your government services seem stuck in the last century, or the one before that, it’s time to ask your representatives to start digitizing government.