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Rami Mourtada

UAE ranks 3rd globally for superior digital government services

DUBAI, February 2, 2023

Strong adoption and delivery and higher implications for emerging digital government services have placed UAE in the 3rd position globally in providing superior digital government services, says a study.
 
According to a new Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study titled “Personal and Proactive Digital Government: Accelerating GCC Journey”, digital government services have become an integral part of residents’ daily life in the UAE. 
 
BCG’s study shows that the level of satisfaction of digital government services in UAE is in the top rankings of global net experience scores, marked at 79% for 2022. Additionally, the digital service offering in the UAE has been met with a positive response, with the country’s residents placed highly in terms of frequency of access. 
 
In total, 62% of UAE respondents revealed they use digital government services at least once per week, compared to the global average of 49%.
 
Customer expectations
“In 2022, Covid-related services have emerged as a benchmark for customer expectations, with their fast go-to-market times, frequent new feature updates, and advanced functionality. In fact, the most used digital government services in the GCC echo global patterns, with Covid-related services ranking #1 both regionally and globally,” said Rami Mourtada, Partner & Director, Digital Transformation, BCG.
 
“Overall, GCC countries (including UAE) offer more sophisticated digital government services, that equates to more complex transactions – including registering or using a job search, accessing Covid-19 services, and processing visa, residency, or work permits – which all rank higher in terms of usage than the global averages, where simple transactions like accessing information are still more common.” 
 
This level of integration is particularly significant in light of people’s high expectations. The vast majority of GCC residents expect their government to provide services comparable to the best private companies in the world or global digital leaders. 
 
These include auto-filling forms with available customer data, tailoring or recommending additional offerings, and even automating complex tasks like travel bookings or loan approvals. When governments enter this traditionally private-sector territory, they must make a balanced trade-off between convenience on one hand and concerns about privacy on the other.
 
Value exchange
“Beyond meeting compliance requirements such as providing bare minimum data, most residents are willing to participate in a 'value exchange', where providing personal data helps make their lives better or easier. A current regional example of personalisation is UAE’s DubaiNow digital platform consolidating 120+ government services, which enables customisation and notification of important events and deadlines. As enablers of increasing personalisation and proactivity, Artificial Intelligence like digital ID, will become more prevalent in the future of digital government services,” said Dr Lars Littig, Managing Director & Partner BCG.
 
The Digital Government Citizen Survey (DGCS) study, which includes citizens and residents – spanning 40 countries, 26 digital government services, and almost 30,000 individual responses – also highlighted other findings to understand the broader trends in digital government service delivery. 
 
Overall, GCC residents are satisfied with digital government services, appreciating benefits including understandable language, multiple platform accessibility, and easy access to information. Meanwhile, real-time support and assistance were identified as a pain point, with other concerns in the UAE relating to personal information security. 
 
AI growth
“As Artificial Intelligence sets to grow into a $118.6 billion industry by 2025, the UAE, is boosting its initiatives to drive market growth as part of the nationwide strategy established in 2017,” added Littig. 
 
“But clearly one approach will not fit all countries – each must find the level of personalisation and proactive delivery that meets their residents’ needs and expectations, without trespassing on boundaries and trust.”
 
To this effect, BCG has identified four factors which must form the foundation of any government's digital agenda:
 
•Trust and transparency - government must be transparent about how data will be collected, stored, accessed and used, and how breaches will be reported.
•Value exchange – customers are willing to consent for their data to be used for an exchange for good and services they value.
•No secondary use of the data – there should be a single purpose for each consent. Customers see secondary use or combining data as the creation of new data.
•Right to opt-out – customers value the right to withdraw consent or to opt-out of services. This process should be simple and complete.
 
Strong adoption and delivery
“The Covid pandemic has driven strong adoption and delivery, and with higher implications for emerging digital government services. Although the UAE government has performed well across many indicators, it cannot be complacent in a fast-paced, high-expectation, post-pandemic world. It has an opportunity to be a leader in advancing personalised, proactive service delivery. 
 
“Overall, the UAE should continue to track people’s evolving needs, while innovating and investing in technology that yields efficiency gains, community benefits, and most importantly, value for residents and residents,” concluded Semyon Schetinin, Managing Director & Partner, BCG.-- TradeArabia News Service
 



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