Technology Promising A Brighter Future For E-Governance
Govciooutlook

Technology Promising A Brighter Future For E-Governance

Neeraj Kulkarni, CIO & IT Director, Bureau of Information Technology, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development

Neeraj Kulkarni, CIO & IT Director, Bureau of Information Technology, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development

What are some of the major challenges and trends that have been impacting the e-Governance space lately?

Government agencies are adopting various e-Governance initiatives, tools, and techniques the most prominent challenge that these organizations face is that of security of the enormous amounts of data that is accumulated as a result of these initiatives. Traditional paper and file-based governmental operations have transitioned to use computer processing, electronic forms to collect data that was previously collected on paper. The electronic data collected often contain personally identifiable information such as date of birth, addresses, bank account numbers, etc. for an individual. With the increased use of cloud-based computing, such personally identifiable information is stored in the cloud and vulnerable to data breaches. Even when the data is not stored in the cloud, the use of the internet exposes the on-premise data to vulnerabilities such as viruses and hackers.

The challenge of data security, as governmental agencies increase the use of e-Governance, the other major challenge that I see emerging is the usability of these e-governance services offered by the government agencies. Societies are comprised of a wide variety of populations that exhibit a broad breadth of computer literacy and digital dexterity (the ability to effectively and efficiently use computer programs). E-government services must be developed and deployed for use by this wide breadth of the populace. Considerations have to be made for accessibility standards, multi-language use, and use by the elderly and less computer-savvy while developing e-Governance applications.

The challenge that I come across and encounter is the challenge with the availability of internet in all geographies and lack of free internet services. Government agencies have to take into consideration the internet availability while deploying E-Government services.

Agencies provisioning e-Government services have to also account and budget for on-going support and maintenance of IT infrastructure and software of these services. Agencies have to ensure to keep the IT infrastructure and software frameworks current and not accumulate technical debt.

Emerging trends, blockchain, and use of cryptocurrency are the two most remarkable trends that I see in the e-Governance space. Blockchain presents tremendous possibilities for almost real-time data sharing and processing that can simplify government service delivery and make it seamless. Think about your tax returns being prepared automatically and presented to you for verification using blockchain to aggregate information from your payroll provider, get your mortgage payment information from the lender, the education expenses from educational institutions, and investment income from financial institutions to apply the right deductions and calculate taxes – everything automatically. You won’t have to worry about spending your time in the first three months of every year preparing tax returns

Are some government agencies (for example, Ohio) that are accepting cryptocurrency for paying certain government dues. However, it remains to be seen the extent of acceptance of cryptocurrency in government organizations, now that the initial promise of the cryptocurrency platform may be waning away.

“A citizen has multiple points of interaction with the government agencies and uses a variety of programs ranging from filing tax returns, applying for driver’s license to obtaining a hunting license”

What keeps you up at night when it comes to some of the major predicaments in the E-Governance space?

Challenges posed by data security keeps me awake at night. Data breaches and exploitation of vulnerabilities has become so pervasive and ubiquitous. The recent massive data breach at public and private organizations makes it increasingly difficult to have a sound sleep at night without having to think about the security of data that is collected from our citizens. The risk of a data breach is ever so high either from an external hacker or through an internal threat.

Can you tell us about the latest project that you have been working on, and what are some of the technological and process elements that you leveraged to make the project successful?

We are looking into the concept of No Wrong Door for delivering our programs/services to citizens. As WI DWD continues to evolve its programs and services, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the participants desire an integrated approach to utilizing the services provided by WI DWD. This integrated approach, referred to as No Wrong Door, provides participants with a universal gateway to government and community programs. It enables participants to approach the Department with the problem they need to address rather than a preconceived idea of programs or services they should receive. To work under the No Wrong Door approach, various program and service delivery units with our agency and other state agencies administering different programs and services will need to coordinate and collaborate while providing services to participants seamlessly. Implementing mobile-enabled web-based applications through the No Wrong Door approach will involve the use of strategies and techniques such as microservices, enterprise application integration, data sharing, and business intelligence analytics.

Which are some of the technological trends which excite you for the future of e-Governance space?

Microservice and Analytics are most promising for the future of e-Governance. A citizen has multiple points of interaction with the government agencies and uses a variety of programs ranging from filing tax returns, applying for driver’s license to obtaining a hunting license. These citizen interactions have to be made simpler, streamlined, efficient, and secure. Utilizing technologies such as Blockchain, Microservices, and data analytics with a No Wrong Door approach will not only help make these citizen interactions with government agencies streamlined but will also help the government agencies deliver these services effectively and efficiently.

Would you like to give a piece of advice for the CIO community as to how should they approach this industry?

The focus of user experience and data security as you tries to develop and enhance E-government initiatives. E-government is not just about using technology. As CIOs and technology users, our endeavor has to be made effective and efficient technology to deliver citizen services.

How can budding and evolving companies reach you for suggestions to streamline their business?

The best way to reach me is using the contact information on our website: https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/do/bits/

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