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“… Economies around the world have taken steps making it easier to start a business – streamlining procedures by setting up a one stop shop, making procedures simpler or faster by introducing technology…. Among the benefits have been greater firm satisfaction and savings and more registered businesses, financial resources and job opportunities.”

(Doing Business 2014: Cyprus, pg 19)

Although information technology is directly referred to here, we ought to have a look into this. Why? Because something very important is mentioned by Doing Business: the focus of IT usage is not only on the provision of relevant services in a single point of contact for investors. Doing  Business also says it is about procedures – apparently aiming at streamlined government processes.

So establishing a Web portal for a one-stop shop would only be one part of the game: the quality of services and the ranking in “starting a business” is determined by the complexity of the process, the time it takes to run the process, and the cost. If you think of easy access to relevant online services, you must also think of the whole process and all relevant parties involved in this process.

We need to think through to the end how to use IT most effectively here. From the experience of SAP and our clients in the public sector, many of the process steps you need to conduct for getting a certain license, a certain piece of information, or a certain permission or certificate are very similar. So why don’t we consolidate those similar tasks in a single system? The consolidation potential comes from reusable signatures, case and record management applications, document management, and so forth.

An SAP client in Western Europe runs this type of uniform process platform for all the contacts with citizens – with measurable success. Among the results you can find:

  • Expected productivity gains of 15% over 10 years
  • Forecast savings of €2.5 billion over 10 years
  • Customer satisfaction in top 25% of councils
  • 60% of cashable savings expected from improved procurement and payment practices
  • Lower local tax increases than other comparable organizations

And from a technological point of view, this organization now has an IT system with improved system integration, providing a “single version of truth,” eliminating conflicting data, and reducing the number of IT systems through improved system integration.

Another client saves more than 90% in establishing new online services in its city’s portal by reusing already existing modules.

These examples show how meaningful information technology can be when you want to market your country or your city as a good place to start a business.

“When [our clients] need information or to fill out forms, applicants no longer have to leave their homes or heed fixed office hours. The … portal is always open.“

Project head of a public sector client in Germany, with a portal established for investments in a certain industry segment

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