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Satisfaction with e-government rising, but usability issues persist

BCG survey shows growing adoption and satisfaction with online government services

Satisfaction with e-government rising, but usability issues persist
The UAE should increase digital channels to government to meet growing user demand, says Mourtada.

Users of online government services in the UAE report high levels of satisfaction, but three quarters are suffering from usability problems, according to a survey by Boston Consulting Group.

The 2016 Digital Government Survey showed that the UAE ranked fourth overall worldwide in satisfaction with online government services, and that there has been a 39.5% growth in the number of users accessing government services at least once per week over the past two years.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they used government online services once per week or more, and 29% said they used them daily.

However, 73% of UAE users faced a problem while using e-government services. The most pressing concerns for surveyed citizens were that the service they needed was not available online, the overall process was too long or difficult and they could not find what they needed.

In Saudi Arabia, usage of government services has increased by 33% since 2014, with 61% of people surveyed saying they used services once per week or more. Saudi ranked seventh, out of 21 countries, for overall user satisfaction with government services.

The survey, gather responses from 13,570 individuals across 21 countries and 26 digital government services, with the aim of benchmarking citizen perspectives on their use of digital channels for government services.

The 2016 survey addressed digital government user access, adoption, satisfaction, privacy and security concerns.

In terms of user satisfaction, the US ranked highest, followed by Australia and the UK. The survey showed an increase in the use of wearable devices to access government services. Globally, information, taxation, and employment services are most widely used digital government services, and significant improvement in service satisfaction has been noted over the past two years.

Millennials, full-time students, lower income brackets and urban dwellers are the least satisfied with e-government services, and concerns over privacy are a leading deterrent for adoption.

In the UAE, accessing real time information on government services, e-gates and applying for ID cards showed highest rates of satisfaction, while submitting court documents, applying for ‘permits' and making payments into government pension schemes ranked lowest.

In terms of usability, the main problems reported were that services users needed were not available online, the overall process was too long or difficult and they could not find what they needed. Users also reported problems with lack of paperwork or information, lack of online help and lost passwords or login details.

UAE citizens are comfortable sharing personal information on government digital channels, motivated by efficiency benefits and improvement of services. Theft or loss of information and its misuse are seen as the biggest risk of sharing information digitally. UAE users generally agree with three privacy expectations - there should be an independent regulator enforcing standards around collection and use of personal data,  visibility on personal information access by organizations and the ability for citizens' to seek compensation from organizations who misuse their information.

"The proliferation of technology and digitalization of UAE citizens is evident, by the substantial increase of frequency of usage in digital government services when compared to 2014. The adoption of internet services has seen a particular high growth in wearable devices, which mirrors global trends. This points towards the need to advance and increase channels for citizens to access government service," said Rami Mourtada, Principal and Digital Transformation Lead at BCG Middle East.

"UAE must put forth key actions for the immediate future to improve its digital government offerings to citizens, and there are four key imperatives to consider. The first is to review the government digital strategy and develop a roadmap to meet demands for digital services; second, develop common standards for digital services across government bodies; third, establish a clear approach to improve satisfaction and perception of digital services across key user segments; and finally, strengthen and promote the regulatory environment overseeing the national digital infrastructure to build digital capabilities across citizen-facing government entities."

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