Prioritization is the key to digital transformation

Governments need to prioritize the process of transitioning from paper processes to digital, writes Pui Chi Li of Xerox Corporation

Tags: Digital transformationSmart governmentXerox Corporation
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Prioritization is the key to digital transformation Pui Chi Li is Head of Middle East Marketing Operations at Xerox Corporation.
By  Pui Chi Li Published  May 8, 2018

When the UAE’s eGovernment was first conceptualized back in the 1990s, internet penetration was a bare five percent, yet the UAE still upheld its ambitious vision, turning its land into an innovative and smart living hub for residents and businesses.

The most recent launch of ‘Dubai Paperless Strategy’ by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, is aimed at fulfilling UAE’s 2021 Vision of becoming one of the best countries in the world through becoming a highly competitive economy whilst providing a sustainable living environment.

Moreover, digital transformation plays a significant role in the advancement of the overall level of living conditions and helps UAE government achieve its vision. Innovative digital technologies simplify and enhance day-to-day processes thus create better living and working environments for the citizens and residents of the country. However, for this vision to be realized fully and efficiently, governmental bodies will require to adopt the right approach, take steps and utilize technology to drive the seamless digitalized economy.

There are many steps that governments can take to achieve successful transformation and they are directly linked to the technology in use, culture, and policies. Governments have hundreds, maybe thousands, of processes and priorities. But they only have limited resources and capabilities. So, it’s hard to address digital transformation all at once. Governments need to prioritize.

The essence of digital transformation

In its narrowest sense, ‘digital transformation’ means ‘going paperless’. More broadly, it means re-imagining and re-engineering the way you operate. In between, there’s a spectrum of other meanings for digital transformation. None is ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ because ‘transformation’ is so relative. So much depends on where you’re starting from.

A key element that governments will need to identify to deliver a successful Paperless Strategy is the transition from a print-dependent economy into a digital-based one. Below are three key steps that governments should take to achieve successful and seamless transition.

The first step is about assessment and optimization. Governments need to start by auditing, tracking, measuring and analyzing their use of paper. ‘Optimize’ might mean digitizing, or it might mean re-engineering paper-based processes first. But it should follow assessment — and be based on its insights to assure results.

The second step to cover security and integration. Organisational leaders should never forget the bigger picture! Cost, security, and agility are the key drivers of digitization. The results which are sought after won’t be achieved if governments do not uphold security and make sure that technology, process, and people can seamlessly synergize.

The third step should be around automation and simplification. Before automating any processes and making them simpler, more digital and paperless, it is important to check-off step one and two from the list. Furthermore, governments need to make an assessment before they automate digital processes to ensure the desired results are achieved.

The next phase of identifying the correct transformational approach for digitization is a strategy. As an example, Xerox constantly innovates to create better and less-paper environments for different organisations. One of the essential methods to achieve a paperless environment is printing only when required. Relatively, ‘information digitization’ at the earliest stage of government establishment will play an important role in paving the way towards digital transformation.

Streamlining processes saves time and cost

There are several very basic and simple strategies for governments to use less paper, significantly less.

First, government employees need to print only when they must. Second, employees should print on both sides of the paper whenever possible. Xerox Corporation was the first to enable two-sided printing and copying because of the evident advantage of cutting paper use in half on every print and copy job. Employees can set two-sided printing as the default on print drivers in order to save more paper. Third, employees need to print in color only when it is required. Using color is a much more effective way of communication when used responsibly.

Scanning is another simple-to-use capability on almost every multifunction device nowadays. It is the fastest way to deliver hard-copy information to a distribution list, ideal for review teams to share markups and revisions, avoiding the cost of overnight delivery, fax lines and the associated cost and use of paper. Furthermore, scanning is clearly a key to a paperless strategy which governments can easily adapt. The same digital document can be shared instantly and travel to as many destinations at the same time as needed, whereas paper documents must be duplicated and distributed individually.

In conclusion, the digital transformation will help UAE achieve the goal of utilizing resources efficiently. They will be able to enhance quality, performance, and interactivity of urban services that will facilitate cooperation between citizens and government at the same time.

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