Apps have made their way across a variety of industries. However, their success does not stop in the business sector. They have even impacted how governments function. All over the world, governments are starting to see them as a necessary ally to improve governance in a complex world.
Thanks to the use of innovative technologies and the massification of mobile devices, citizens can have access to their governments directly from the palm of their hands. The challenge is to make these solutions work. To do so, governments need to develop apps tailored to citizens’ needs.
In this post we discuss e-Governance and how governments can use the power of Agile work and apps for their benefit.
What is e-Governance?
The world has changed a lot in the past decades due to the Internet and other computer-related technologies. Governments are no exception. Citizens now have access to real-time information through apps like Twitter, and others like Citizen are changing how neighbors interact with their communities. The use of technological tools to improve governments and their associated services is known as e-Governance, also referred to as eGov or e-Government.
Although historically there have been fears surrounding the use of technology for political purposes, governments are starting to realize that these tools can also be beneficial. Technology can be used to improve governance. When governments see citizens as users of state services, the result can be better journeys and experiences that can enhance political participation and societal life.
One of the many ideas of e-Governance that are having a strong social impact is open government data. This idea seeks to promote the availability of data on government-related matters. Its goal is to improve transparency, accountability, and create value to a diverse group of stakeholders by making it easy to access data.
By making data freely available, organizations and individuals can track critical metrics and propose solutions to problems. Anyone with a basic knowledge of data science and web technologies can build powerful tools from governmental data. Many universities worldwide are leading such initiatives. Their goal is to help citizens stay informed and to understand how to improve society through better public policies built on the available data.
Another way in which governments are evolving is through the use of smarter mechanisms to solve citizens’ daily problems. It is no longer necessary to visit town halls in order to get a certificate that can easily be downloaded from the web. Similarly, citizens no longer have to spend hours trying to request a specific government-provided service. Thanks to data-based e-Governance tools, it is now possible to improve such services while helping governments keep track of what matters to citizens.
There are many challenges e-Governance faces. In particular, there is a need for governments to move faster to meet society’s demands. This is also known as the challenge of maintaining an Agile e-Governance, or in other words, of implementing technological changes in a fast and cost-effective way to deliver solutions that work.
Governments all over the world are not famous for their agility. They often move at a slow pace, staying behind in terms of what society’s needs are. Enter the Agile methodology. Developed as a best practice of software development, Agile allows software projects to produce optimal results. Its principles can be extrapolated to project management and also to governments that need to build technology-based solutions that actually work and meet users’ expectations.
By adopting an Agile framework, governments can rapidly respond to the changes occurring in their surrounding environment. This approach helps eliminate tedious bureaucratic inefficiencies without compromising accountability.
In general, Agile seeks to make work smarter, not harder. These are some of its characteristics that can help e-Governance:
- Work in small cross-functional teams for specific tasks.
- Any service or product needs to be refined once deployed.
- Focus on customers (citizens). Rather than working in a top-bottom approach, governments first need to understand what citizens demand.
- A complex organization (like a government) works better in a decentralized and flexible network structure.
An essential aspect governments need to work on to become Agile is design. This skill can allow them to improve their solutions building methods.
e-Governance is not about the apps, but they sure are an important part of it. Apps are the most powerful way for citizens to interact with governments in a fast and effective way. The challenge here is for governments to create apps that deliver outstanding User Experiences.
Many governments are opting to outsource their apps to third-party developers. Using this strategy, they leave the technical parts of app development to experts and focus on the governance aspects. Additionally, this can help them develop quality products that citizens will surely appreciate. However, choosing the right app development partner is no easy task.
There are a lot of snake oil sellers trying to fool governments into purchasing poor quality apps. Because government officials sometimes don’t possess the necessary technological know-how to develop an app, they can be easily tricked into buying something that does not work.
At Koombea, we’ve been building world-class apps for various types of organizations since 2007. Our expertise has allowed us to develop a custom Agile methodology that can easily adapt to a company or a government alike. We see ourselves as our clients’ strategic partners; that’s why we always deliver the extra mile. Sharing our honest opinion on what works and what doesn’t, as well as guiding them through the e-Governance app development process, is part of our business philosophy.
If you are a government interested in developing an e-Governance app, do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.