The digital transformation of companies has long ceased to be considered an innovation, but rather a must. In fact, all industries are dealing with this topic today. However, the confidence with which companies operate in the digital space varies widely. Looking at the online offering from John and Jane Doe's perspective, it is clear that there is still room for improvement across the board.
Valuable insights – especially for public authorities – are provided by the so-called «eGovernment Monitor 2021» (in German), a study by D21 and the Technical University of Munich that has been conducted annually since 2012. It shows how awareness, satisfaction, use, and lack of accessibility change over time in connection with digital interactions with public authorities. The report focuses on the digital landscape of public authorities in the DACH region, i.e. Germany, Austria, and Switzeland. The spotlight for 2021 is specifically on the authorities' digital offering during the pandemic response.
Companies tend to know the users’ digital needs better than public authorities
The good news first: In 2021, 60 percent of the Swiss population used a digital offering from public authorities. The less good news: This number is stagnating. Why? According to the study, the satisfaction of the Swiss population with the e-government offering has decreased by 8 to 66 percent compared to the previous year. Germany recorded a decline of 15 to 47 percent and Austria of 13 to 66 percent. While approx. 75 percent of respondents in Switzerland consider it easy to use online services from private providers, only 65 percent do so in the case of e-government services. This suggests that private-sector companies are more aware of users' digital needs and are thus better able to meet them than public authorities.
The demand for e-Gov services is there … and increasing
For public authorities now would be a good time to boost their online offering as Jane and John Doe started to increasingly use e-gov services with the start of the pandemic.
Two-thirds of the Swiss population particularly appreciate being able to conduct business with authorities independently of time and place from their laptop or mobile device, whether they need a residence or tax certificate or want to register a vehicle.
The same should be possible for people with a disability. In fact, not all digital offerings are accessible by any means yet. This means, for example, that people with a disability are unable to fill out a web form or apply for supplementary benefits via PDF, so their only option is to go to the authority’s office. As the number of people with a disability in Switzerland amounts to 1.8 million, accessibility is key to a successful digital offering.
Using the window of opportunity to extend e-gov services
The study identifies a desire among the general population for more e-services, including from the authorities. For them, it is crucial to seize the opportunity and bring themselves up to date technologically and to score points with their (potential) users with efficient, secure and accessible digital services.