The digital revolution in public administration

At a glance

Project leader: Prof. Dr. Caroline Brüesch , Dr. Martina Flick, Dr. Alexander Mertes

Project team: Dr. Achim Lang

Project start date: 01-10-2016

Short description

The digital revolution in public administration

The digitalisation of countless areas of life forges ahead, and public administration is not spared. In international comparisons, Switzerland boasts good prerequisites for being able to tackle this phenomenon. Infrastructure in general, as well as broadband internet coverage, is particularly good, and workers are highly educated. However, despite this positive starting point, the opportunities that digitalisation brings with it have so far not been adequately utilised. The WEF’s ‘Global Information Technology Report’ shows in exemplary fashion that the Swiss government does not assume a role as an ICT driver. Measured according to its use/application of ICT solutions, as well as its success in developing and implementing digitalisation strategies, the Swiss government is ranked in only 43rd place internationally. But in relation to the quality of the administration’s online offerings, Switzerland is ranked internationally in only 64th place.

The digital revolution in public administration represents a comprehensive process of change, which affects a number of areas:
• At a strategic level, it needs to be clarified how the various administration organisations position themselves in the framework of this digital shift
• At the level of the entire organisation, a cultural shift from classical to digital administration should be initiated
• On a legal level, there are for example questions relating to data protection
• At an organisational/technical level, process sequences should be documented, for example, and the technical realisation of digital services must be implemented
• At management level, employees’ involvement in the process must be shaped

A further point, which is stated by practitioners in particular, is the discrepancy between the public sector’s requirements for digital solutions and the offerings from the private sector. Here there seems to be considerable differences in perception in relation to the societal challenges and those that stem from them for providing the technical requirements needed for addressing the solution.


Project objectives

The objective of the project is the reappraisal of the topic under consideration of the above-mentioned aspects. In doing so, the positions of the relevant stakeholders, as well as their perception of the opportunities and problems, should be ascertained and analysed. On this basis, recommendations for action for the public administration, but also for private IT companies, will be developed and presented at a conference, as well as scattered across various publications. It is important that a common view of the problem is developed, upon which the digital services can be adapted. The IVM should position itself here as a facilitator between these two worlds.

Due to the frequent interdisciplinary nature of topics in the area of digital change, potential for interdisciplinary, interdivisional cooperation opens up. Opportunities for cooperation should result within the framework of dialogue with experts in the other departments, in which possible projects or products can be identified for further clarification.