Europe’s digital transformation is progressing in all EU countries, but there are still significant differences between them. According to McKinsey’s report “The rise of Digital Challengers”1 for CEE countries the economic benefits of digital transformation are enormous: up to €200 billion in additional GDP by 2025. Thanks to the cooperation of EU member governments, advanced programs are implemented. Their goal is to increase the availability of digital services. Examples of such activities in Poland are the gov.pl portal and the SEPIS (System Ewidencji Państwowej Inspekcji Sanitarnej) – project, implemented in cooperation with the KPRM (in polish “Kancelaria Prezesa Rady Ministrów”, ang. Prime Minister’s Office ) and BlueSoft experts.
Why is digital transformation so significant for EU countries? Thanks to this transformation, governments can improve the ecosystem for new companies, implement modern technologies in the public and private sectors, build and promote systems that will make the education of the youth easier or even use digital tools to increase public revenues.
The digitization of the public market brings many benefits to the government. Digital interactions with people are less time-consuming and increase administrative efficiency. Speed and flexibility in delivering public services (such as unemployment benefits or medical benefits) are crucial for both citizens and institutions. Unlike physical offices, digital ones are open to citizens 24/7 – and remain open even during public health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
The private sector also plays a vital role in digitization. Public and private sector organizations must choose the digital technologies, strategies and processes that will help them achieve their goals, remain competitive and meet customer needs.
Europe digital transformation – digital single market strategy
One of the cooperation priorities between EU countries and the European Commission is Europe’s digital transformation. The transformation aims to provide more efficient public services and better knowledge sharing. As part of this effort, the Digital Single Market
Strategy was created, which is based on three pillars:
- easy access to digital services and goods,
- development of the digital environment in the EU,
- online (government) services as a driver of growth for countries.
EU efforts are focused on: e-government, health and social services, urban planning, 5G expansion, and digital skills development.
The “Join, Boost, Sustain” initiative, which was created to help countries and the EU support a sustainable digital transformation in Europe, has been signed by more than 60 national, regional or city leaders. By signing the declaration, the leaders agreed to extend existing digital solutions. The expansion will take place on a European scale to transform as many cities and communities as possible into intelligent and sustainable places.
Digital transformation in CEE region – KPI’s
Over the past years, many EU countries have made progress in digital development. Despite the dynamic EU digital transformation, there is still a growing gap between the leaders and the lowest performing CEE countries. Poland is an overall leader in digital transformation – still in CEE much further along the transformation than Germany, France or Austria. To bridge the gap, KPIs of digital transformation in CEE countries were established.
It assume, among others, the development of:
- services and digital skills among citizens,
- digital tools in enterprises,
- training offered in digital technology,
- e-government solutions.
It is also crucial to increase the number of IT specialists, improve ICT regulation, and stimulate the startups market.
EU digital transformation – changes in the Polish government system
Poland is ranked 24th out of 27 EU member states in the 2021 edition of the DESI (Digital Economy and Society Index Digital Economy and Society Index) for 2021.
Poland has made progress on many DESi indicators in 2020. However, considering changes in other countries, Poland’s overall position did not change in 2021.
The Covid-19 pandemic heavily influenced Poland’s digital transformation. The education system that changed from onsite to remote required digital skills and remote learning hardware and software. Multiple funding projects have been launched to meet the demand and assist all those involved in the transition to remote learning.
As part of the EU digital transformation, the Polish government digitize its public services. One of its key activities is the modernization of the gov.pl portal – the digital service hub of the Polish government. The gov.pl modernization project envisages unifying the information system and increasing accessibility to government publications and services. It enables better interaction between citizens and the administration and increases satisfaction with the quality of e-services. It also improves public resources’ safety and standardizes and facilitates the presentation of information in various administration units.
GOV.PL & SEPIS – digital transformation in Europe
Through the gov.pl portal, citizens can use e-services made available by the state. The COVID-19 pandemic caused many of them to be adjusted to current conditions. One of the necessary actions in shaping the digital transformation in Europe was also the workflow improvement of the State Sanitary Inspection (Główny Inspektorat Sanitarny). To facilitate the process of implementing the nation’s COVID protocol, the SEPIS project was established. It aimed to reduce the workload of the Sanitary Inspectorate staff and digitalize epidemiological processes.
Shaping the digital transformation in Europe – KPRM & BlueSoft with SEPIS
BlueSoft consultants working for KPRM were involved in the SEPIS project, which is an example of progress in digital transformation. The team faced the challenge of streamlining and digitizing records system and management of epidemiological processes. It was a huge challenge to streamline processes affecting everyone in the country without allowing any downtime of these critical systems.
The outcome of these activities:
- the paper form of a COVID-19 decision is no longer required,
- provide tools for citizens to self-register in quarantine and proximity,
- integration of the API management system with the systems of the National Institute of Hygiene and involved entities,
- automation of interviews between patients and officials during a pandemic.
At the end of 2021 BlueSoft successfully implemented the second phase of eDowód (electronic ID). Currently, it is focused on creating the Passport Document Register and the possibility of electronic submission of passport applications. These changes are to be implemented already in 2022. The goal is to create a system covering the most important registers such as identity cards, PESEL, marital status, and contact details.
SEPIS has been recognised as the best IT tool developed for pandemic control. This distinction was awarded by the United Nations (UN), which honoured the efforts made during the creation and development of the system. The UN Public Service Award is the most prestigious distinction that can be obtained, thanks to the achievements related to the improvement of the public service. SEPIS is proud to receive this unique award, granted for improving the performance of public administration in Poland.
SEPIS is an example of efficient digital transformation in Europe, which was possible thanks to EU funding. For the first time in public administration in Poland, an administrative decision was fully registered automatically. Such actions show that digital transformation within the EU brings tangible benefits to citizens and governments. Many social groups (people with disabilities, people with mobility problems, and those who do not have the financial resources to travel) will benefit from reducing the waste of time associated with traveling to administration buildings.
The digital transformation of the economies and societies of European countries is constantly gaining momentum. New systems and data-driven business models will increasingly impact all sectors of the economy. BlueSoft is a pioneer in the development of key technologies for citizens. The software it has created has changed the face of digital transformation during this most difficult period for all. Accelerated and more efficient public administration has brought many benefits to citizens and officials struggling to cope with the hardships of the pandemic.The creation and use of modern IT tools is pushing the boundaries of possibility around the world.