Notes of Global CIO Dialogue on the Future of Government Transformation

Notes of the World Bank ICT Sector Unit event Global CIO Dialogue on the Future of Government Transformation on 8 November.

Trying to bring the learned lessons from practicioners all around the world (UK, Moldova, Singapore) to real-life projects.


Philippe Dongier, Sector Manager, Sector ICT Unit, The World Bank

Opening remarks – Introduction of speakers and country audiences

The World Bank is working right now with Moldova on a large government transformation project and this project is also introduced today


Keynote Address by John Suffolk, UK Government CIO

“Somebody somewhere in the world has already solved the problem” – bringing people together has a large value

It’s difficult to predict the next steps of technology – nobody knew that Facebook, Twitter, … would change the world like that

Governments must respond to the changing needs of globalization

  • different media for services (paper, telephone, online forms, …)
  • governments are online
  • countries’ agencies are very integrated (fed, state, local) – also because of consumer demand
  • outsourcing of sectors to the private sector
  • Example: iTunes to get text for police officers to different languages when trying to arrest people

Different countries have expertise concerning different eGovernment sectors – mobile services, identity management, …

Tranparency is an issue

  • we publish crime data – quickly Android application appeared to show crime in different areas
  • UK approach: publishing as much data as we can

The next technology changes cannot be predicted – but what are the trends?

  • we have stopped worrying about the future – nobody can keep track of it
  • risk is rising
  • approach is important: which outcome do I want to deliver?
  • everything pervasive is interesting
  • not into long term contracts
  • not paying big license fees
  • scalable services
  • all things mobile
  • combining small services rather than having monolithic big systems

Where should I start?

  • there is no single start position – everybody has a different start position
  • start where you can simply and quickly achieve something
  • try to pick services which create an infrastructure for another service


  • it’s critically important to bring parties together – learning from each other
  • we need to think about where we want to be in 5 years time – past problems are already gone
  • anything you can do with teaming up with other countries to solve a similar issue will reduce your risk and learn from each other


World Bank Project Example: Moldova Governance eTransformation by Stela Mocan, Executive Director of e-Government Center, Moldova

Video on the Moldove eTransformation

Start: December 2009

Partnering with Singapore – to get in touch with best practices and experience

Becoming part of the eTransform initiative

  • bringing the best experts in IT for development to the country (Singapore, Estonia, UK, Croatia)
  • learn how to work in synergy
  • definition for an eTransformation strategy / roadmap
  • modernizing & reforming the government as prerequisite of the economic development
  • own eGovernment center as driver for eTransformation
  • Aims: increase accessability to government services, network government, enhanced participation, improved productivity of the government, increase economic competitiveness

We have to win the hearts and minds of the citizens and politicians – overcoming the resistance to change is the biggst obstacle

We are still looking for partners for this initiative and are happy to share our findings and learn how to work in synergy – companies, civil society, …


Panel discussion on the future of government transformation

Moderator: Randeep Sudan, Lead ICT Policy Specialist, the World Bank

How do governments think about the upcoming technologies, service approaches and the challenges coming with it?

James Kang, GCIO, Singapore
Bryan Sivak, CTO, Washington DC
Dona Scola, Deputy Minister of ICT, Moldova

John Suffolk, UK Government CIO

DS: Main challenges for government transformation

  • change management: understanding the complexity of eTransformation – changing the society as a whole, getting support from people from all sectors of the society; ensure maximum inclusiveness and ownership of addressed people; understand risk connected to it
  • overall competitiveness of a country: 2 pillars – quality of governance & productivity and competitiveness of the economy; ICT is the biggest enabler for both
  • change of attitude towards technology: using only what we already know – big inhibitor so far; now also outsourcing services

BS: Main challenges and how to address them

  • DC has been leading in ICT for a long time (starting 1998), releasing data and motivating people to do something with it
  • technology is not the answer to the problems which exist – underlying issues have to be tackled first: connectivity (high) vs. adoption (low); if people aren’t connected, government services don’t help – digital divide is a big issue
  • changing the culture – risk tolerance is critical; make things more open, let people try things; inorder to innovate, people have to fail
  • first thing to do is to focus on the people

JK: how do you track the future & how do you prioritize?

  • we live in exciting time, a lot is shifting to the citizens
  • next step: collaborative government – no more government providing the solution but government partnering with people (private sector) offering the solution
  • trends that are coming: cloud computing – how to use a public cloud (security issues); business analytics – metadata is growing faster than data, new insights; mobile devices; open data; government as a platform; social network– getting closer to the citizens
  • for governments – create a strategy; today it’s all about speed and integration; outsource to the private sector; find international partners to share and to learn; collaboration is the way to go

JS: how do you prioritize with government cutting budget?

  • generally rethinking the way services are provided
  • take out the overlap – leveraging buying technology in masses
  • asking private sector how to make stuff simpler for them and therefore cheaper for the government
  • move towards the citizens, not big buildings but mobile solutions coming to the citizens
  • crisis & budget cuts make you rethink the way you did things – crisis as a chance


Perspectives and questions from participating country audiences (Albania, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Russia and others, TBD) as well as the Washington audience. Moderated by Deepak Bhatia, Head of e-Gov Applications Practice, Global ICT, The World Bank (TBC)

Q & A

Belarus: Advice on using digital signatures and digital athentification & identification?

Moldova: How to create demand for eGovernment services beneath citizens, private and public sectors?

Serbia: Current job – how to support IT departments and people who work directly with the customer. The biggest challenge we have is to motivate people in the administration to join the team.

Tanzania: Many activities in eGovernment since 2000. Questions:

  • How do you manage the eGovernment in the absence of a robust identity management – identity theft?
  • How is Moldova dealing with sustainability of the IT projects – maintaining and running the services after launch, funding, human resources?
  • How do you deal with procurement issues?
  • Example for the types of e-services Moldova is intending to provide?


  • What specific actions can be taken towards government cloud computing?
  • What’s the relationship between using industrial platforms vs. open source – how many percent use each?


  • Where do the financial resources for the Moldovian initiative come from?
  • How have you been able to collaborate with other ministries to align with their development plans?
  • What are the “low-hanging fruits” concerning eGovernment?


  • Identification questions is interesting, the US doesn’t have a national identity card; we’re currently trying to implement a district-wide ID; every agency in the city has the ID needs;
  • encouraging eGovernment to the citizens by providing value-added services, not only the data; in the agencies people need to understand data is not only for external, but also for internal usage – show them the power of data


  • identity questions – we have different identity numbers (car license, …), design services so they can cope with that
  • how to drive change – students expect to do things online, you can start with that; go where there is a demand for online services
  • cloud computing – it’s important to be careful on the security level;
  • open source vs. proprietory: lowest risk for lowest price; key: open standards
  • tranparency: we publish everything except personal data


  • we have an identity system, it’s a huge investment; we have to work with the banks – having the transactions there to come in
  • how to create demand – for agancies: governance model to care for all the difficulties agencies have; for citizens: have lower costs as result of services and people will do it
  • moving to cloud computing – go for hybrid (public & private) clouds, standardize on technology when designing for different agencies – interoperability is key
  • open source vs. license – everything has their advantages, we evaluate both, it’s just a different model
  • cloud: make sure that everything you put in the data is portable, we have to get more specific when we talk about the “cloud”
  • open source vs. proprietory: it’s a case by case thing, we use both
  • aligning agencies: we control all the IT spendings in all the agencies


  • Moldova is still in the design phase – final stage of feasibility sudies – so not too much experience yet
  • sustainability: rely on private-public partnerships; the main question: how to assure that the investors are interested to invest in Moldova? try to position Moldova as a regional technology hub; trying to attract ICT specialists by offering career possibilities
  • question of procurement – hopefully covered by private public partnerships
  • sharing best practices – mid December we’ll launch the eGC (eGovernment Center) website and will put everything online; we are currently launching a public-private partnership conversation as the private sector is a key stakeholder


Closing remarks by Philippe Dongier, Sector Manager, Sector ICT Unit, The World Bank

Only a minority of IT investments pay off – but when they succeed the return can be very high

  • quick information flow
  • co-investing with other organizations
  • learning from each other is vital

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Notes of Global CIO Dialogue on the Future of Government Transformation
was published on 08.11.2010 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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3 Responses to “Notes of Global CIO Dialogue on the Future of Government Transformation”

  1. S. Furlong Says:

    Hello Florian Sturm;
    I very much appreciated your summary of the Nov 8th discussion on the Future of Govt Transformation. In the event that I am not able to participate on line on Dec 9th, may I ask for a summary of the upcoming Transformational Government Workshop?
    THank you kindly,
    S. Furlong
    Ottawa, Canada

  2. Florian Sturm Says:

    Dear Mr. Furlong,
    regrettably we didn’t manage to attend the Dec 9th event, as we are busy preparing our coverage from ICTD2010 conference London.
    For future events relevant to ICT4D, we will try to have coverage on this blog again though.
    Best, Florian Sturm

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