Government 4.0
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Government 4.0

By Ralf Rotter, Head of Public Sector Services, Nokia

Ralf Rotter, Head of Public Sector Services, Nokia

How the Information- and Communication Technology of the 4th Industrial Revolution can support digitization of Government Operations

Governments offer very diverse services to citizens, ranging from ambulance services to waste disposal, from communal to international. This has led to diverse IT and communications infrastructures and siloed applications and databases.

Conversely, CIOs in the public sector face similar challenges: Increasing number of clients and transactions, proliferation of data, the need to collaborate with other government entities, improve citizen experience, “on demand, everywhere”, share rich content and multimedia - timely, relevant, and contextually comprehensive, increasing security-and data privacy threats etc., whilst budgets and headcount are not keeping pace.

But digitization in the wake of the 4th industrial revolution, although contributing to some of the challenges above, can also provide solutions.

"The risks of entering new realms – despite seeming complex at first - are very likely to be outweighed by the benefits of new engagement models and efficiencies"

Most visions of future Information and Communication Technologies – such as the Future X architecture by Nokia Bell Labs - have the following in common: An Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), distributed (edge) cloud, augmented intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, and high-performance networking including advanced LTE and 5G, protected with advanced security solutions.

So how to do more with less? The answer: automation! Often this may be a simple automation of processes such as robotic desktop or process automation, based on triggers and workflows, but will frequently evolve to data driven operations using analytics, machine learning, and AI, based on data lakes or knowledge graphs. Automation taxonomy can help describe this journey.

Whichever level of automation is chosen, it must be embedded in a future model of operations, which often includes trade-offs between the priorities of the government organization vs. the priorities of individual citizens. Often a start is made by automating tasks of low value to the organization which cannot be removed or diverted.

To help people support the change, it is advisable to involve them earlyon and understand where they would start.

However, when automating a process quickly, it is often ignored how many further similar steps the organization will need to take to reach the future vision. How to ensure integration, security and interoperability going forward – especially with communication systems? How to unlock the potential of new, not yet known cross-organizational opportunities, ensuring a connected systems approach? Many will find the need to choose suitable operations platforms early in the game. These platforms need to have open interfaces, whilst supporting important open standards - such as 3GPP.

The best integrated operations platforms will be independent from the use case. Hence, they will be easier to fund based on the initial use case only. The cost can and should be shared across organizations. Why waste time and money in developing a dedicated platform on premise, if there is one already available and provided as-a-Service? To ensure maximum security and interoperability at lowest TCO, there will be a bias towards vendors who cover most of the ICT architecture, end-to-end. CIOs will need to review their future ecosystem and seek for synergies. For example, why not share platforms between the communal fire brigade and the state police? Or why fund and deploy a private cloud, if a Communication Service Provider is just deploying a 5G edge cloud in the same location? It will be important to reach out to old and - more importantly - new players and think out of the box. The risks of entering new realms – despite seeming complex at first - are very likely to be outweighed by the benefits of new engagement models and efficiencies.

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