In business, being a follower is not always great, but in the case of the Peruvian government it has proven to be a good way to start #winning in their digital transformation process. In is not rare to hear citizens characterize government-related processes with adjectives such as bureaucratic, slow, time-consuming, complicated, and Peru’s government is no exception. Throughout the years, government procedures have been inefficient and significantly time consuming. All of that is starting to change.
Internet access in Peru has increased dramatically and has reached 45.5% of the population in 2016. Although this may seem low for developed countries, in only one year, there was an 11% increase in the percentage of the population that uses the internet. This trend is expected to continue and thus new opportunities arise. This has not only been noticed by businesses, but also by the Government. Following the example of Mexico and the United Kingdom, Peru has started to build a digital platform to enhance the interaction with the citizens. Gob.pe is now in beta testing and is hoping to ease the life of Peruvians by leveraging technology.
Through the use of design thinking and agile methodologies, the government’s Innovation Unit seeks to provide a “unique point of access to the government’s information and services”. Defying previous practices by which government services where designed with regulation as a starting point, this new approach starts with field studies to recognize the citizen’s needs and uses digital technologies to try to address their key pain points.
Although the webpage is still in beta mode, it already provides digital alternatives to some common bureaucratic processes. For example, the “most frequently visited” page is for information on the driver’s license revalidation process. The webpage not only provides a description and requirements of the process, but presents two alternatives: online and in-person. Simple instructions make the benefits clear, the in-person process requires citizens to take time off other activities two or three times, while the online option only requires the person to pick-up the new valid license.
Gob.pe is creating significant value for the citizens, value that is then captured by the government in many different forms. The initiative first and foremost reduces the complexity of navigating government bureaucracy and finding information. Citizens are hence increasingly satisfied and have more time to engage in different activities, there is no need to wait in line anymore. Moreover, digital procedures mean no presence needed, and hence less transportation costs for the citizen. In parallel, the government benefits from less movement of people and hence a decrease in traffic, as well as a decrease in labor costs related to providing in-person information. The value the government creates is hence captured in cost efficiencies and higher citizen satisfaction.
Government digitalization does not come without challenges. Regulation will have to change to accommodate the new digital initiatives and changes in government officials may shift the limited budget away from initiatives that are not seen as core to their policies, to name just a few. All the same, at this point in time there seems to be broad political support for the initiative, which has allowed for the formation of a capable team that is gaining traction. Time will tell if the digital initiative that is currently winning will be able to navigate and break government bureaucracy.