Digital by Default - One-size-fits-nothing?
eGovernment initiatives have grown quite happy about "Digital by Default" approaches.
Certainly digital solutions ought to have substantial potential for both improving services (e.g. instant answer) and cost-savings (e.g. saving postal mail).
The discussions of these are however quite primitive focussing on first order syndrome issues such the problem of "forcing" elderly citizens and others without internet access to use digital channels. Not really a problem as it is easily solved by maintaining service points for those that simply cannot use computers.
So - in principle - I am al for the "Digital by Default" approach. If it wasnt for the fact that it is turning into an economic disaster due to serious mistakes in implementation ignoring the vital issue of empowering citizens.
What I have yet to see is the discussion considering the fact that unless very strict attention to principles and buidling openness and flexibility into the technical design, it represents a massive centralisation and lock-in preventing both innovation and security.
It eliminates choice - choice to improve, choice to ensure separation, choice to have different means for different public sector servoces, choices to upgrade, choice to - yes anything.
After enourmous resources have been vasted on integrating a lot of public sector services to digital bottlenecks and portals, we realise that we have dropped all flexibility, security and principles to achieve one-time-values that ANY digital solutions would have provided.
In other words, because citizens choices was eliminated and massive centralisation of all services through bottlenecks, we effectively destroyed any potential for demand-driven innovation processes to function.
This gets even worse when we make the same mistake in cross-border structures, where we say that all public sector services in all countries have to abide to the same least common denominator and one-size-fits-nothing as we see in e.g. eIdentificition.
What this shows is WHY the public sectors just continue to grow.
The Command & Control Economics approach is simply so deeply engraved into the thinking that nobody understands or even begin to consider the importance of Citizens Empowerment and choice even for such simple issues as choice of means of communication with the public sector.
It turns into managing citizens instead of servicing society. Reducing citizens to a "ressource" or a profile subjected to increasing centralised control.
There is not ONE public sector - it is a lot of very different functions that need mechanisms to change. There is not ONE citizen need for integration - every citizen will have different needs.
What we get is one-size-fits-nothing. First order benefits killing potential for continous improvements - if you do the math, you will see that the business case including the lost savings potential and vastly increased legacy not only kills the business case, but make it hugely negative. It LOOOSE money instead of saves.
In Denmark, we have worstcase implementations of almost any aspect of digital interactions with public sector - cheap, bad, unsecure, central monopolies - without any consideration as to the consequences.
The by far most rational economic decision would be to distmantle these before more systems integrate. But no - because first order syndrom financial claims of savings that will never materialise have already been built-into public sector budgets.
What we also get is mockery of fundamental principles. The message is - citizens are not sovereign entities, they are property of the state.