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Digitisation is the key to citizen happiness

5 Minutes
Daniel MacGregor Business Development and Government Services Director

Since the release of the iPhone back in 2007, we’ve had access to more information in the palm of our hands than ever before. Recognising the potential of this technological advancement, businesses throughout the globe began utilising the smartphone to reach their customer more quickly and more efficiently, placing considerable effort in the development of apps and web portals to facilitate this objective.

Today, almost every business has its own route directly to their customer at any time of the day via their phones.

Today, almost every business has its own route directly to their customer at any time of the day via their phones. 

The push to develop applications that promote a positive user-experience and thus lead to an increase in the likelihood of a transaction has meant that the private sector is filled with innovative, easy to use, optimised applications that evolve based on usage patterns, business needs and proportionate to smartphone design. But, due to the lack of competition, government services present opportunities for improvement.


The COVID-19 pandemic only accelerated this need for improved government service digitisation, as personal touchpoints were almost entirely removed, particularly during the nationwide lockdown and sterilisation programmes.

As a step towards a greater future, Dubai announced in July the establishment of the Digital Authority in preparation for the country’s next phase, and this month, the government announced the 'Principles of the 50' which paves the strategic roadmap for the country's new era of political, economic, and social development. With great focus on technology and digitisation, the 7th principle was dedicated to th­e digital, technical, and scientific excellence of the UAE which will define its new development and economic frontiers, and the solidification of its position as a capital for talent, companies and investments in these sectors which will make it the capital of the future.

Additionally, a recent study, performed at the behest of Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, highlights the best and worst performing entities within the UAE government with regard to their digitisation efforts. In what is an illuminating survey with 55,000 respondents, the best and worst 10 entities were highlighted in the press.

serco institute report

The findings complement a similar study performed by Serco Institute and Serco’s user-centred design organisation, ExperienceLab, identifying the link between high quality digital services and customer satisfaction:

It is clear then, that digitisation of government services still has some way to go to meet the expectations of the public, set by the more competitive and ever-evolving nature of the private sector. Though, as highlighted by the survey, some entities are pushing the envelope in this space, plainly there are still areas of improvement. Sheikh Mohammed has kick-started this process, providing a 90-day deadline to those ministries identified as needing improvement in relation to their digital offering, but the private sector could be the key to unlocking the rapid transformation and improvement that is required.

The high standards set by the private sector can act not only as an aspirational tool to government entities, but as a clear point of learning, knowledge and experience. Serco and ExperienceLab, combined with their partnership with technology company G42, can contribute to the digitisation journey of government entities, aligning them to the same standards that their peers have already reached.

But why stop there? Further research can help us collaboratively refine existing services, ensuring that each and every government interaction on a digital platform is customer-centric and focused on delivering a positive outcome.

Ultimately, we must not be blind to the true goal of digitisation – improving citizen happiness. By improving access to key government services as well as making processes clearer and easier to understand, we move further toward that goal.

person using phone

As technology evolves, as new services become available, government can continue to leverage partnership with the private sector to develop the applications, design customer journeys through those applications and provide true customer feedback, fostering a dedication to continuous improvement. In doing so, the UAE can continue to set the benchmark of service digitisation for others to follow.

Business Development Director - Government Services Daniel MacGregor

As Business Development Director, Daniel is working closely with governments across the Middle East to introduce international standards, systems and procedures that drive a positive citizen experience, working in collaboration with Serco to innovate, transform and operate.

For any digitisation or government services enquiries contact us