Is Costa Rica’s Public Sector Prepared to Offer a Different Consumer Experience?

The importance of the consumer incorporate strategies has been talked about for a long time. By mid-2020, your needs and wants are the foundation for new products and services to be created or even reinvented.

We know that many companies are still in a period of adaptation and others are a little ahead of time anticipating future needs in the digital age. A KPMG survey this year “Consumers and the new reality” shows three reflections on consumer behavior that may be the guide at a time when the pandemic is already installed worldwide:

1) the economic impact of COVID-19 will influence the behavior of the future;

2) the new consumer is digitally savvy and embraces the ease of interacting with businesses on digital channels;

3) consumers buy from organizations they trust, at a time when trust is becoming more complex to build. Does this reflect a universe of options in which different brands give offers, but in a vertical manner where there is no choice?

Following this same trend, how is the citizen’s behavior about the use of public services?

At this point, citizens began to adopt their behaviors as consumers, and this is like a milestone for public services. After all, if digitalization is already present in the lives of most people, why can’t it be present where citizens feel the government most?

All the empowerment and change of profile increases the awareness and demand for the rights of each individual. Therefore, in the services provided by government spheres, the citizen demands the resolution of controversies and the presence of public entities in more accessible channels, for example, the agility and ease that the online service guarantees give citizens even more voice on various fronts, without sacrificing the transparency of all transactions carried out with their data.

In this sense, Costa Rica has made great strides: it is ranked 56th in the 2020 edition of the Global Digital Government Index carried out by the United Nations (UN). This year it went from a group with high standards of digital government to a group of nations with very high standards. It is also ranked as the fifth country in Latin America and the first in Central America with the best digital government.

Undoubtedly, these advances consolidate a digital government – at the institutional level promoting collaborative and efficient work through the use of new communication technologies through public institutions, such as the transformation of citizenship and the business sector- the country counts with a Digital Transformation 4.0 strategy.

It is based on the fact that technology supports public policies and services with higher quality and giving greater confidence to Costa Ricans. To achieve this goal, it is crucial to take care of the most precious asset of citizens, data.

If data is king for companies, for the Public Sector they are even more valuable because through them it is possible to identify the behavior of people related to citizenship: patient, taxpayer, beneficiary, student, etc.

Citizens play various roles during life, but it is imperative to be well represented within their Government. For this reason, integration and interoperability between the different databases that exist today are the government’s greatest technological challenge, especially if it is about databases and old systems -30, 40, 50 years old- with an architecture outdated and revoked.

In this context, the Cloud is the most relevant technology to address this problem due to its plurality of standards, economy, elasticity, security, and availability. The Cloud brings efficiency to processes and agility in the construction of connections between public systems, promoting fluidity along the path that information takes.

Even in a highly regulated environment, wherein many cases the legislation requires that the data reside in its own data centers, it is possible to use public cloud services or hybrid cloud models, and all their facilities, as long as there is a classification of adequate information to identify the relevance of data sovereignty for each system, another challenge for governments.

The important thing is that IT managers in the public sector can have the option to the strategy that best suits their reality, keeping the quality of service to the citizen at the center of all their decisions. It is important to note that the Cloud alone is not responsible for the transformation of public services, but rather for its acceleration.

Many other factors and technologies are as or more relevant to the process: governance, investment, legal frameworks, process redesign, training of public servants, communication plan. But there is no more time or excuse, citizens, now as consumers, are hungry for technology, efficiency, and transparency. They want an innovative public sector that is just one click away. It seems like a utopia, but it is not, in this context, simple is already a lot. In Costa Rica, any efficient digital service will save millions of Colones and improve the lives of many people.

Joint task Citizens and governments can benefit from technology to solve problems and make the country more innovative. However, this is a path of no return from an optimistic point of view in which the bureaucracy will give way to a quality and reliable service, complying with the laws, guaranteeing data security, and a positive digital experience for society

Resonance Costa Rica