The role of IT in Public Private Partnerships

Citizens are the ultimate winners when big business and government work together. Each sector has immense assets that can be combined to create value for all parties.

Supply chains, processes and skills across the state and corporate world are often complementary and it usually just takes a willingness to collaborate to find significant opportunities.

Networks of relationships already exist between stakeholders in government agencies and private companies and if the focus is on helping citizens and customers then the bureaucracy can often be overcome quite quickly.

Earlier this year local banks joined forces with Department of Home Affairs to launch the eChannel programme which will eventually cater for the application and collection of smart ID cards at bank branches nationwide.

Currently the service is available at a limited number of bank branches but the rollout will eventually see citizens being able to apply for IDs at bank branches nationwide. One of the major benefits for citizens is a faster process.

Absa wrote on its blog;

“it will now take you less than 30 minutes in an Absa branch [to apply]. Within 12 days, you can collect your Smart ID card.”

Home Affairs have invested heavily in their processes and systems resulting in improved turnaround times already but an even greater advantage than speed is the increased number of access points.

On its website, Home Affairs lists 140 offices that are Smart ID ready, but with bank branches added, this number will increase rapidly, and ease the burden on existing outlets.

Additionally, around 75% of South African citizens have bank accounts which means that they will already be visiting a bank branch and can avoid an additional trip by having combined services made available in one physical location.

A reciprocal benefit to the banks is that citizens processing their IDs in branches can take advantage of convenient banking services. In additional to the benefits of improved physical points of presence, there are also digital synergies for those who have such access.

On its website, FNB offers businesses access to the government’s company name registration service which is managed by CIPC.

A new company name can be registered and a business bank account opened at the same time entirely digitally and all documentation relating to the process will be emailed.

For just R125 and within 24 hours an entity can be registered to commence trading, this is a huge benefit for start-ups, saving them the time and frustration of managing the red tape normally associated with such a process.

Once a company is up and running, they can also access their BEE score from within their online banking profile.

The score is managed by Empowerdex and is beneficial for becoming registered as a supplier and achieving points to do business as part of South African trade legislation.

The CIPC and BEE online services are part of the FNB Business value-adds offering to SMEs, an ecosystem of benefits called Instant Solutions which also includes a free online accounting package.

Within FNB Business, the successful delivery of these services to their customers and entrepreneurs requires the collaboration of internal business stakeholders and IT experts as well as key role players in the participating public and private partnerships externally to FNB.

The CIO has an important role to play in ensuring that the digital experience is well orchestrated, adequately tested and regularly monitored.

Once an expectation is created that a new and slick online service is available, this promise must be kept and as the custodian of IT systems, the CIO is accountable to continually deliver the digital process.

“Forms and queues are words simply not in the vocabulary of millennials”

The rise of customer centric, exponential-growth technologies like Uber has created higher expectations for simple, digital processes to make citizen’s lives easier.

Often it is the technically minded people across business and government who can identify where process and bureaucracy has crept in that needs to be automated.

Forms and queues are words simply not in the vocabulary of millennials, people who have grown up with technology and expect all aspects of their lives to be managed digitally.

Led by a strong business vision with collaborative partnerships, IT can be the catalyst and enabler of a frictionless approach to doing business.

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