It was just two decades ago that the internet was starting
to form, jump started by research organizations and universities. Even in the early days, it was clear that we
would be going through a transformation that would exceed the scale of change
brought about by the industrial
revolution in the 18th and 19th century. The
early seeds of what we know today as the internet came from agencies like DARPA
in the United States who played a major role in the development of computer
networking and NLS
( oN-Line System). When you take a step back and look at the landscape today; the
scope, scale and speed of change is truly inspiring. Governments in turn have recognized that the
internet and ever improving technology coupled with dedicated employees and
private partnerships play a major role to better serve their constituents. I would argue that countries and citizens in
many parts of the world are much better off today than ever before in human history
as a result.
Citizen Return on Investment
Citizens and constituents are much better informed and have
high expectations for services delivered by providers across local, state and
national/federal agencies. Education and more importantly anytime access to
information have empowered constituents to demand and secure services that have
helped improve our lives. Governments and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs)
in both developed and developing economies have recognized the benefits of
public private partnerships. They have helped jump start nascent businesses and
service provider models by actively engaging their constituents in order to
deliver improved services and measure the impact of the investments.
One example is the “Save
the Childhood Movement” set up by Kailash Satyarthi to help free
children across India from bonded labor and ensure they have the opportunity to
get a basic education. These efforts were recognized by the Nobel Committee
that awarded the Nobel
Peace Prize for 2014 jointly to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai,
the education activist from Pakistan.
Financial institutions have also recognized that they can
play a role in shaping peoples’ lives and potentially creating new jobs. One
such example is UPaisa in Pakistan that has provided mobile financial services
across the country including remote and rural areas across Pakistan.
Role of technology
We can agree that the focus on measuring outcomes relative
to stated goals has become a major priority not just for businesses but also
for government agencies. Technology has played a major role in driving this
transformation for both governments and their constituents.
Agencies in turn have recognized that they can leverage
technology to better connect with their constituents and thereby better understand
their needs. The healthcare exchanges set up in the US are an example where
constituents are now empowered to shop around and find an insurance plan that
can better meet their needs. The jury is still out on the efficacy of this program.
We are still in the early stages of the journey with a lot of room for
improvement going forward.
Technology services and insights powered by analytics and
delivered via mobile devices to constituents have helped level the playing
field between urban and rural areas. Constituents are a lot better educated
about the role of government agencies and what they can expect from these
agencies. Public Private Partnerships and technology have helped pave the path
for this transformation.
What have we learnt?
Technology, despite all it flaws, is a major enabler for
positive change. The New
Zealand Department of Conservation has partnered with SAP to enable
their rangers, who often work in rugged and dangerous environments, to report
back to the agency on state of the natural resources using mobile devices and
thereby focus on keeping visitors safe. This helps boost tourism and in turn
builds confidence in the services provided by the agency. Another example is
of Indiana, which has partnered with KSM Consulting and SAP to pull
together all agency and resources data together to enable data driven decision
making and thereby better allocate resources to meet constituents’ needs.
In summary, public private partnerships that leverage ever
improving technologies like mobile and analytics have raised living standards
for all. Constituents today are more empowered and better informed than ever
before to demand improved services.
Governments in turn have recognized that technology coupled with
dedicated employees and private partnerships play a major role to better serve
I look forward to hearing from you on your experiences on
this topic. To learn how governments worldwide have partnered with SAP to
better serve their constituents and improve citizens’ lives, visit SAP
for Public Sector.