Digital transformation could save Australian governments $26.6b

Many transactions are still completed via phone, postal mail finds report

Australians conduct approximately 800 million transactions with federal or state government departments every year, with 40 per cent of these transactions still completed via phone or post according to a new Deloitte report.

The report, Digital Government Transformation: Unlocking the Benefits of Digitising Customer Transactions, was commissioned by Adobe.

It found that if these phone and mail transactions were reduced to 20 per cent over 10 years, it could lead to cost savings of $26.6 billion for federal and state governments.

Some of this money could be reallocated to be invested in new government ICT systems or initiatives to improve digital literacy, said the report.

“Traditionally, government transactions can require a lot of time and resources to process and complete,” states the report.

“This could range from interacting with someone at a counter to time taken for staff to sort through mailed in forms. Compared to a digital channel which is much quicker and is based on self-compliance, there is room for significant time savings for government.”

The report forecast that the total annual volume of online transactions will rise from 490 million to 648.4 million in 10 years

Meanwhile, phone transactions are forecast to fall from 139 million now to 70.3 million in a decade.

Postal transactions are forecast to fall from 97.4 million to 49.3 million in the next decade. Face-to-face interactions are forecast to fall from 84.1 million to 42.6 million.

Commenting on the report, Deloitte partner John O’Mahony said that government organisations can respond to pressures to improve productivity, save costs and better meet citizen needs by going digital.

“Citizens won’t want to interact with government via a website or mobile app unless it’s a great experience. It needs to be well-designed, simple and end-to-end, so they don’t log onto a website, only to be told to print off a hard-copy form and post it into a government department,” he said.

The report also outlined current digital developments in Australian government such as myGov which was launched in 2013.

It allows Australians to link a number of government services online with one username and password This includes Medicare, Centrelink, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Australian JobSearch, Child Support, the Department of Veteran Affairs and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull said he would like to see the myGov platform available for every department and agency in state, federal and local government.

“Imagine if you were operating a business and you could transact with your local government about your rates, garbage collection and other transactions. You would have one single trusted identity so that you can establish who you are and agencies know who you are,” he said.

“We are encouraged by the amount of enthusiasm for digital transformation, not just within the federal government but also with state and local government. We want this to be a national agenda so that Australia becomes one of the leading digital economics of the world.”

This year's federal budget included $254.7 million for a 'Digital Transformation Agenda'. That agenda includes the establishment of the Digital Transformation Office.

Read more: Turnbull's Digital Transformation Office reveals CEO

The DTO earlier this month announced its inaugural CEO.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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