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An innovative tool to measure the benefits of digital transformation in Milan

11 minute read
Digital government services are featured, Whether delivered electronically, via smartphones or other digital devices, Easy to use compared to traditional means that require the personal presence of the customer or service applicant at the headquarters of the government entity.
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Digital government services are featured, Whether delivered electronically, via smartphones or other digital devices, Easy to use compared to traditional means that require the personal presence of the customer or service applicant at the headquarters of the government entity. On the other hand, the benefits of digital transformation are rarely measured systematically and accurately. Allows knowledge of the economic, social and environmental feasibility of each digital service or type of service, Or even the total cost of digital transformation. This failure to study the benefits is due to the time, effort and cost required in the process of developing the mechanism for this, and apply it to every digital service, Then compare it with its traditional counterpart. This is despite the importance of this knowledge in policy and strategy formulation, setting priorities, decision-making, Whether it is at the government level or the business sector.

This need prompted the Municipality of Milan in Italy to develop a tool that measures and calculates the outputs and benefits of digitizing traditional services in terms of savings in time, effort, and cost. and emissions harmful to health and the environment.

Dubbed the "Digital Sustainability Model", this tool aims to provide clearly important data and information to the city's residents. Government departments and institutions, decision makers, It is part of the city's digital transformation plan.

The tool compares the service in both cases, Digital and traditional, To know the benefits and impact of change. Data collected from various service sectors is used, Such as waiting times for customers at customer service centers before they receive the service. Milan municipal officials use this data in the design and implementation of public policies. Due to the volume of investments spent on the development of government systems and services.

It is noteworthy that the development of the initial or pilot version of this tool was mainly part of the integrated digital transformation project launched by Milan in the summer of 2016. With the aim of simplifying government operations and providing better and easier to use services to citizens. It was tested for the first time at the civil registry office in Milan.

When applying the Digital Sustainability Model to the Service, It turns out that the digital version saves the effort of mobility in the city on the citizen at a rate of about an hour, Physically, he saves approximately €4.40 (US$5.20) for each certificate he requests. On the other hand, The Civil Registry Office saved about 8 minutes of time to issue each certificate – or a total of 45,000 hours in 2019. Digital certificates also contributed to savings of 1.2 million euros (or 450,000 papers) in the use of paper. In addition, 49 tons of carbon (or the equivalent of planting 3,266 trees) are avoided.

The municipality then expanded the application of the tool to measure the benefits of digital transformation in other areas including a document management platform, electronic payment of service charges, and the system of issuing licenses for excavations in the city. The latter included accurate information and maps of the locations of water pipes, electrical cables and other underground infrastructure. The results of these studies have not yet been released, But the Municipality of Milan ultimately intends to apply the tool to all departments, services and projects in the city.

On the other hand The project organizers realized that the option to use traditional services must remain available, albeit in a limited manner or for a specific period of time. To ensure that none of the societal groups that cannot use the digital services for various reasons are excluded.

As some services could not be fully digitized, for legal or legislative reasons, Efforts are underway to use the results of measuring the benefits of digital transformation to convince legislators of the need to overcome legal obstacles. To compensate for the environmental impact of that part of traditional services that will continue to exist, The municipality is considering the possibility of planting more trees.

The project underlined the importance of having a large amount of data available to ensure the success of both the "digital sustainability model" and the city's digital transformation. This prompted them to work on developing interoperability, As well as what they described as a "smart data collector", Where there are various types of data that contribute to the development of new digital services, This requires connecting all government agencies to participate in data making.

Although the tool for measuring the benefits of digital services was developed with the support of external IT consultants, and those who have verified the correctness of its measurement of the required indicators, However, the officials stressed the need for an internal cadre with the required competencies. be able to set priorities from the perspective of government, It manages digital transformation projects, measures the benefits of digital services and supervises the various phases of those projects. This would also avoid some potential challenges, Such as the incompatibility in technical specifications between the systems approved by government agencies and those provided by external suppliers.

This tool highlighted the importance of change management within the government entity, Whereas the goal of digital transformation is to facilitate procedures and improve services, And not to lay off employees. This was confirmed when the services of the Civil Registry Office were converted to digital services, This shift did not result in any reduction in the number of staff. There is a constant need for service staff who will provide assistance to those who cannot use digital services or to those with urgent requests. What may happen in this context is only a change in job specifications and roles.

The most important feature of this tool is that it is built on an advanced system in progress to provide data interoperability in the future, This will allow the possibility of communication and sharing of the latest information between the various entities that will use the system. In addition, the tool is being developed as an open source that provides the possibility of being used by other cities and municipalities around the world and benefiting from it.


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