Why Digital Transformation in Government is Key to Improving Identity Schemes

Exciting new products and processes such as mobile and digital IDs, innovative visions of frictionless borders and improved traveler experiences are emerging in the identity market. Given the potential benefits to citizens and governments alike, it is impossible not to wonder why these products and processes face such slow adoption.

To understand this, perhaps we need to look more closely at the innovation process in the public sector. The public sector is notably slower to adapt to technological transformations and to implement innovative ideas. This is borne out in the following statistics:

  • 70% of public sector workers think it is behind the private sector in terms of technology
  • Only 13% of the public sector is digitally mature

Furthermore, the public sector is generally not a good breeding ground for technological advancement. Innovation is restricted by budgets, entrepreneurial flair is not encouraged and investment in new technologies does not get the strategic consideration needed to create the vision of future identity schemes.

The consequences of such inertia are that fresh approaches to identity will be slower to market. This means that mobile identity solutions such as HID goID™ could take longer to proceed from pilot projects to full rollouts, leaving the process benefits associated with mobile biometric solutions not realized, resulting in continued inefficient paper-based solutions. The futuristic view of a traveler passing through the airport using just their biometrics—while technologically possible today—could still be years away.

However, the outlook for mobile and digital identity solutions is not as bleak as it may seem. Identity solutions providers are looking at new ways to foster digital transformation in government through the provision of modular technologies, which integrate with existing systems and deliver digitized processes whilst mitigating the risks of a complete system overhaul. New players in the market are bringing disruptive approaches to identity such as IDaaS (Identity as a Service) and self-sovereign identity, which negate the need for costly infrastructure and can work with or alongside existing government schemes.

Finally, governments are beginning to recognize that they need to improve their speed of technology adoption and are looking at new ways to engage with the commercial sector in forming a vision of the identity schemes of the future. Companies are encouraged to cooperate in creating new user experiences in open and collaborative environments, the outputs of which will form the basis of future procurement processes.

While it is frustrating that interesting new technologies are slow to be deployed, steps are being taken to create the right environment for their adoption. We must temper our impatience for new, sexy products with the simple fact that identity schemes form the backbone of security in our societies and solutions deployed must be proven and resistant to existing and emerging threats. We will undoubtedly see digital identity solutions deployed in the not too distant future through a much closer cooperation between public and private sectors.

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