Citizens say “yes” to the fully digital State

8 December 2016


Citizens say “yes” to the fully digital State

At a time when the digital economy is revolutionising all areas, the State’s public services are falling in with the trend. For the second year running, Sopra Steria wanted to find out citizens’ expectations of the digitalisation of their authorities.

The State is addressing the whole population. It has the largest number of customers in the country. It’s therefore very logical that it should place the digitalisation of its services at the heart of its priorities. In 2015, Sopra Steria, in partnership with Ipsos, wanted to take French people’s pulse on the topic of e-administration. The survey delivered encouraging results. In 2016, it is going further and becoming a European barometer. It is now interested in four countries: Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Norway. In each of these countries, a representative sample of a thousand people were interviewed.

Faced with the digitalisation of public services, citizens are prepared, trusting and impatient

 First observations: citizens are prepared for a “fully digital” State. In the four countries questioned, the vast majority want services to be digitalised. 70% of the French think that the development of online services must be a priority. It’s 11 points more than last year. 89% of Norwegians share this opinion. However, this does not prevent European citizens from already feeling satisfied with the development of digital technology in their authorities (70% of the French and 75% of Norwegians feel that the digital transition carried out by the public services in their country is well advanced).

In other words, with digital technology, the more one has, the more one wants, and the more services one has, the more once uses them. And everyone is at the same level! Young people and older people, people who live in rural areas and those who live in towns and cities, civil servants and private sector workers… Everyone wants to spread digitalisation, even when they don’t feel at ease with the tools – 88% of the French agree with everything going digital, but only 66% feel independent. Supporting them in this area and planning resources seems essential.

Another key point: the confidence rating with respect to security of data and its confidentiality is improving. In France, with 41% having fears about security and 31% about confidentiality, respectively ten points and four points of reassurance have been gained in relation to 2015. This is a figure that Axelle Lemaire and the draft law for a digital republic aim to develop further in the right direction.

A desire for simplification and specific expectations: the French people at the forefront of the use of online public services

 Make no mistake however, although the panorama is objectively encouraging, the French, German, British and Norwegians also have expectations. In the four countries, for example, everyone is asking for simplified access to services. Instead of having to deal with several authorities, they hope for a single virtual port of call with a single point of entry – requests coordinated according to their life journey / their life events. They want it to be “tell it to us once”.

And they are not satisfied in all areas. Although tax is deemed to be very advanced, which is what the States want, in most countries, justice and the police are behind. And when one talks about health and the civil registry, where the interactions are most regular, citizens massively require improvement.

However, with 65% of citizens visiting the online public services, France is the largest user. Norway follows with 57%. The United Kingdom and Germany lag behind with respectively 35% and 34% of users. A figure which is explained, for Germany in any case, by a fear of the lack of confidentiality of data.

Digitalisation: accelerating the modernisation of the State

This barometer managed by Sopra Steria is arriving at a key point in time. We are a few months away from the presidential elections and there’s a strong betting that the digital transformation will be at the heart of the debates: Bruno Le Maire, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet and Emmanuel Macron have already taken up the topic and they have good reasons to do so. The digital economy is more distributed than the traditional economy. It is a wonderful opportunity for the State to reach its customers, a great opening for equal opportunity also as it is a factor of fair treatment. Finally, the quality of online administrative services affects the view the citizen has of its authorities. All these are reasons to take an interest in the report.

As Head of Consulting Business Development, my goal is to provide my team with the right tools to support our clients in their digital transformation. My conviction is that this requires both technical and business expertise, in order to approach digital transformation with its complexity.
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