Significant room for improvement among government digital services

For government agencies to deliver high-quality results, effective business process management and constituent services is crucial, and digital services play a key role in delivering this performance. According to a recent report from The Boston Consulting Group, worldwide governments have made significant progress in this area. However, there is still a large amount of room for improvement.

Moving in the right direction
The research firm conducted a survey that included more than 12,000 participants from 12 countries. Among respondents, nearly 95 percent indicated that they have used at least one online government service within the past 24 months. Nearly one-third of these individuals use such services on a weekly basis. And 60 percent said that online government services are important.

User satisfaction rates for these online services varied significantly from country to country. In Russia and Malaysia, for example, this figure registered at 41 percent. Among U.S. respondents, though, satisfaction rates were much higher, at 61 percent.

Room to evolve
The report noted that while these results suggest significant improvement from past performance, they are also lower than they could be.

"Many governments are already well on the way to improving digital service delivery, but there is often a gap between rhetoric and reality," said Miguel Carrasco, a BCG partner and coauthor of the report. "Users are conditioned to expect innovative online services in such sectors as retailing, media and financial services, and they wish that their governments would get on with it."

Specifically, the report noted that many government digital services consist solely of information delivery and forms, but users, and particularly younger users, desire more interactive, in-depth capabilities. BCG found that millennial users had the greatest demand for government-based online services, but were also the least satisfied.

Help needed
These figures raise the question of how the U.S. government, and other governments around the world, can improve their digital service offerings.

There's no obvious answer to this question. Undoubtedly, agencies must devote more time, effort and money to these areas if they hope to meet users' evolving, accelerating expectations.

To improve their IT service management, agencies may also need to partner with third-party organizations that can help guide these efforts. Government bodies tend to struggle to attract the IT talent necessary to tackle such projects, so looking to the private sector for assistance could prove vital.

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