Governments’ Use of IT and Digital Tech Amidst Pandemic, An Eye-Opener?

It took a coronavirus pandemic for governments to comprehend the significance of using information technology in ensuring continuity of critical operations.

 

The UK government’s computerised systems, for one, are notorious for lapses and glitches. Computerised systems in most governments are mostly robust, only as far as handling increased volumes of internal revenue transactions are concerned.

Yet offices in labour departments, national health services and other state agencies have been slow to adopt advances in computer technology. Such technological advancements, particularly in IT, could have enabled them to quickly respond to the demands posed by the coronavirus outbreak, before it rapidly evolved into becoming a global pandemic.

A lot of government data were not easily accessible, as many were collected via spreadsheets stored in the hard drives of individual employees. Notwithstanding that too many government transactions are still being processed on paper. It took a global pandemic for government leaders in all levels, to start communicating by way of conference calls, in order to make quick decisions.

Waiving Government Protocols and Restrictions to Temporarily Adopt Digital Technology

Inasmuch as a crisis involving a quickly-spreading, infectious disease requires fast actions and responses, many governments were caught unprepared. They were forced to waive procurement and security protocols to permit temporary shifts to digital technology.

Procurements of licenses for teleconferencing platforms and other programs long asked for, but unable to pass approval, finally found their way in all levels and departments of government administrations. Although work in some government offices are being carried out by way of remote collaboration technologies, it cannot be ignored that some remote work being accomplished in homes and mostly on personal devices, present serious security concerns,

After all, not all jurisdictions have enough resources to use in supplying their employees with laptops, since governments had to prioritise use of funds where they are most needed, particularly in health care systems.

After the crisis brought on by the pandemic has been overcome, will governments allow those improvements in information and communication technologies become permanent? or let them stay as mere aspects of emergency preparedness and responses?

Costs and Human Impact are the Main Stumbling Blocks

Keep in mind that any change for the better requires substantial funding, especially where IT infrastructure development and maintenance are involved. Although such cost concerns can be reduced by procuring licenses for cloud-based platforms, there is also the matter of human impact.

As there will be less work to do in a computerised workplace, the condition also suggests fewer people will be hired at government offices. Implementing those changes at a time when people are just coming out of a health crisis with hopes of getting back to their old jobs, is simply heartless.

Juiceland, the sponsor of this technology article, agrees with future plans of  governments, to adopt full utilisation of scalable technology; but only when combined with corollary programs that will enable public servants to acquire knowledge and skills that will allow them to find employment in the private sectors.