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Now the pandemic requires accelerating the digital transformation of the public sector

Now the pandemic requires accelerating the digital transformation of the public sector

According to the latest development report digital which the United Nations has just published, the region shows progress in this regard. “The pandemic Covid-19 has presented policymakers at all levels of government with unprecedented challenges in responding to the critical needs of their countries. The results of the 2020 Survey are encouraging and show a significant acceptance of digital services in different geographic regions, countries and cities. Data-centric and e-participation approaches have been improved, and the focus on digital capacity building has increased. However, progress faces new and existing challenges and risks, such as cybersecurity and data privacy. Some considerations are especially urgent or important in developing countries, including countries in special situations. These include the lack of digital infrastructures, sustainable E-Government platforms, and limited resources to implement digital government policies. Although E-Government has reached sophistication in leading countries, digitization is still relatively new on the national agendas of some countries ” express Liu Zhenmin Undersecretary General Department of Economic and Social Affairs United Nations.

UN experts show that the countries that invested the most in their digital agendas in recent years are the ones that now best serve their population in the Covid19 pandemic. Applying the same logic, we could say that the same has happened with the different public sector organizations that invested resources in their digital agendas preparing them for different anticipated and unforeseen situations. There is no doubt that the current health crisis has made it possible to verify that digital optimization at the national level strengthens democratic governance. Before the pandemic, Argentina had the digitalization of procedures in almost 100 services and procedures of the national public sector. That greatly relieved the population.

In addition, the current context is not only characterized by the pandemic – which has considerably accelerated the digital transformation – but also by the speed of the disruptive changes that are taking place: the exponential changes in what coexist with the fact that people organizations are designed to cope with linear evolutions. For this reason, when the speed of change far exceeds the adaptability of private companies or public organizations, they generate obstructions and resistance. We are facing a technological challenge, but also organizational management.

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The work carried out in recent years was able to substantially improve the provision of services that some public bodies provide to citizens, for example AFIP, ANSES, PAMI, Migrations, RENAPER, ANDIS, Production, Work, Health, Consumer Defense, IGJ, Registry of Automotive Property, Social Development and Superintendency of Work Risks, among others.

Those positive experiences paved the way for the new national authorities to propose to continue on that path. As expressed by the Deputy Chief of Cabinet of the Nation, Cecilia Todesca Bocco, saying “We have to be prepared for the exit from the pandemic; we have to ensure that citizens can do their procedures better, so we must simplify them. When this quarantine ends and people have to face their backlogs, we have to be able to respond and connect all the windows of the State ”.

Increasing the digitization of services requires a firm political decision, an analysis with evidence comprehensively addressing the readjustment of work processes, training of human resources, technology transfer and budgetary reinforcements, the adaptation of regulations to obtain the provision of adequate expertise and infrastructure in record time; as well as the need to sustain face-to-face and virtual care, promoting assistance and accompaniment to the most vulnerable sectors affected by the digital divide.

The digital transformation of the State requires officials to acquire new skills. The countries that made the most progress in digital government have invested in human talent in less traditional areas of the public sector. There are a large number of public employees, working in the same way, with the same structures, with the routine of rigid regulations, they cannot deliver different value proposals, which is what the citizen demands as a result of changes in the environment. Here the design of organizational requalification comes into play as an advantage coupled with the indisputable need for more training. What kind of capacities, people, talent, collaborators, suppliers and technology we have or need. Questions that must be encouraged to answer as soon as possible. That generates resistance to change. In addition, other situations arise, where the obstruction of some people within the Administration is explained because they do not understand the real dimension of the new technological scenarios and it affects their particular interests of “management” or “influence peddling”. And they continue to fight to maintain their positions of micro-power through hidden spaces in some public organizations that do not usually coordinate well with each other, where they still get some particular advantage because they work with paper files and take advantage of people thanks to the labyrinth of unnecessary bureaucratic rules. Once these barriers have been overcome, digitization breaks down those ghettos, improving the quality of life of workers and citizens.

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“I urge E-Government leaders to remain steadfast in their missions in the digital transformation of their countries, constantly innovating even in difficult times. Partnerships are more important than ever, between governments and the private sector, and between countries in the same region or between national digital government teams ” emphasized the Under-Secretary-General, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations.

In that order of priorities, the Technological Linkage Units – UVT – Law 23,877- have been accompanying this digital transformation process for years, offering human resources and concrete tools for collaboration from civil society or from National Universities.

Now in 2021, from an initiative that brings together technological and industrial centers, scientific institutes, professional associations, business chambers and national and private universities, to promote the formation of a collaborative ecosystem that promotes regional growth, we generate VinTecAr 4.0 the First Pole Virtual Technology of the country. Whose immediate recipients of the work carried out by our entities are the organizations throughout the country – public and / or private – that receive technical assistance from our teams. But the final recipient of our activity is always the citizens who receive better attention and quicker responses to their needs. In this way, the accelerated process of digitizing the dependencies of the Public Administration provides a notable reduction in operating costs due to automated management, as we see day after day in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, where the flow of continuous and constant information between the administration and the population generates greater trust and transparency.

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This alliance for digital development was formed with the associations Forum of Science and Technology for Production (FOROCyTP) together with the Center for Development and Technological Assistance (CEDyAT), which worked with their professional teams to articulate ideas and summon other entities of the system national innovation company with a recognized track record to promote the different proposals for federal integration. Today, they are part of VinTecAr 4.0: the National Interuniversity Council (CIN), the César Milstein Institute of Science and Technology (ICTM), the Association of Metallurgical Industries of the Argentine Republic (ADIMRA), the Argentine Nanotechnology Foundation (FAN), FUNDETEC, which is the Foundation for the Professional Council of Engineering in Telecommunications, Electronics and Computing (COPITEC), the Argentine Aeronautical and Space Chamber (CARAE) and the Chamber of Informatics, Electronics and Communications Industries of Central Argentina (CIIECCA), among others .

Taking advantage of the accumulation of technological capabilities and specialization in digital matters facilitate an immense development potential that will make it possible to capitalize on the multiple experiences experienced during the pandemic and then apply them in the general reactivation. The need to learn from successful cases is unavoidable in order to strongly promote the knowledge economy from Argentina to the world. This is what we are doing from technology-based civil society. The important thing is not to delay any longer.

Executive Director of VINTECAR 4.0. Vintecar 4.0 is made up of entities of the country’s National Innovation System that have taken the foundational step to help public organizations, private companies and entrepreneurs, to make the most of new technologies to transform themselves into companies or institutions driven by emerging disruptive trends.