The Czech authorities are not prepared for the crisis. ISFG experts advise what to do with it

Blog | 19. 5. 2020

How can the digitalisation of public administration help employees and citizens in a crisis? And what should proper digitization look like? These were the main questions of the first ISFG webinar, which took place at the end of April. Michal Rada, an expert in the field of eGovernment and modernization of state administration, and CEO of ISFG Ivana Hančíková, presented the most common challenges and problems faced by the Czech authorities and presented solutions that should help speed up and facilitate the digitization of Czech state administration.

How can the digitalization of public administration help employees and citizens in a crisis? And what should proper digitization look like? These were the main questions of the first ISFG webinar, which took place at the end of April. Michal Rada, an expert in the field of eGovernment and modernization of state administration, and CEO of ISFG Ivana Hančíková, presented the most common challenges and problems faced by the Czech authorities and presented solutions that should help speed up and facilitate the digitization of Czech state administration.

Our first webinar for all interested officials and experts addressed the topic of eGovernment and the digitization of state administration. Ivana Hančíková, CEO of ISFG and Block33, and state administration digitization expert Michal Rada discussed the most common problems faced by the authorities and strategies and tools that could help them streamline operations and cope with possible crises in the future. “Many people and organizations feel that when they work online now, they are digitized. But there is a difference between the two. Online does not necessarily mean digital, “said Ivana Hančíková.

Together with Michal Rada, they agreed that the functioning is accelerating and, in general, the pressure to digitize is increasing not only in the private but also in the state sphere. “Those who prepared in time are better off now. In the current crisis, they have a great advantage, “said Rada. 

Too many demands but too few tools and methodologies…

Rada and Hančíková also pointed out that while the requirements and obligations of municipalities are increasing, a unified methodology and appropriate tools from the state are still lacking. Municipalities and authorities are thus more dependent on their own initiative. “That’s why we have put together a professional team that will be able to help and apply complex digitized solutions directly into practice,” Ivana Hančíková presented a new expert project Block33.

In addition to the lack of a unified and clear methodology and open-source tools, the situation of public administration in the current crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus, according to Michal Rada, is complicated by a number of other factors. For example:

  • Insufficient or unsuitable hardware. Many officials only have a desktop computer. They now have to work on their own home computer and solve everything over a remote connection, which poses both a security and a technical risk.
  • A number of closed systems. If systems are not open-source, it is often difficult to ensure functional integration. The exchange of information among the various tools does not work, which takes officials time, requires a lot of extra work, and reduces work efficiency.
  • Paperwork. Many processes still exist primarily in paper form. The forms must be filled in and approved manually, then processed and turned into an online form. This gives room for errors and unnecessary time delays.
  • Bad communication. Many authorities rely primarily on personal communication to pass on the key information. In a situation where employees found themselves at home, in many places, there was a lack of tools and processes that would ensure smooth communication. And not only within the organization but also for communication with the public.

The current situation thus pointed to the fact that the Czech state administration is not sufficiently prepared for a longer quarantine. “The problem is that if the private sector is digitized but the public sector is not, then it will not work. And the goal is to create such an ecosystem that will ensure the sustainable functioning of the state, “Hančíková explained.

State administration in 4D

According to Michal Rada and Ivana Hančíková, the first steps that the Czech public administration should focus on are 4 D, ie:

  • Digitization of documents – to have the maximum number of documents in electronic form.
  • De-duplication – or removal of duplicates.
  • Discovery – creating an archive and the ability to trace documents and information back decades.
  • Digital storage – available anytime, anywhere.

At the same time, however, both experts advise digitizing gradually. “Choose one or two things to try. It is definitely not a good idea to decide to digitize everything at once, “said Michal Rada.

The full webinar recording with a number of other useful tips, recommendations, and practical examples can be found here.

If you have any questions or need to consult with experts in the field of digitization, do not hesitate to contact us at any time!

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