Significant efficiency gains for Denmark’s public sector

As Norway andSweden embark on the task of defining the initiatives in their digital agenda,Denmark is reaping significant efficiency gains as a result of itsdigitization strategy. The Danish Parliament (Folketinget) has digitized allparliamentary processes and achieved a 75% reduction in the use of paper, whichhas yielded substantial savings.

Denmark as a development laboratory

Danish publicservices are at the international forefront when it comes to the digitizationof work processes and citizen communication, including Copenhagen municipalityand the Danish Parliament. Both are described as leaders in practical digitization.At the core of their operations is Software Innovation’s application fordocument and case management, Public360°, a vital platform and tool in the digitization process.

SoftwareInnovation has collaborated with the Danish public sector for a number of yearsto develop innovative applications for digital case management. The work withDanish clients demonstrates the value of the Norwegian and Swedish governments.A lot can be learned from Denmark, especially how public sector organizations canachieve significant efficiency gains.

Entirely digital mail by 2015

The Danishgovernment’s digitization initiative is particularly exciting, especially theimplementation of communal components such as Electronic ID (eID), citizenportal, and digital mailbox. In this field Denmark is a few years ahead ofNorway, which is working towards defining similar initiatives. Denmark has nowset definite deadlines for digitization, including switching to digital mailfor citizen communications by 2015.

Throughprojects at public organizations like Region Zealand, the Department forResearch and Higher Education, the Parliamentary Ombudsman, and the Competitionand Consumer Protection Agency, we have gained unique experience and competencein developing standardized applications where the use of different digitalcomponents is central. Applications using eID, digitalsignature, and digital mail have been particularly useful, producingefficiency gains while complying with administrative regulations. Digitization doesnot have to result in a weakening of important laws designed to maintain goodmanagement practices. 

Criteria for success

Denmark isexpected to experience an estimated savings of 3 billion Danish kroner in thepublic sector over the next three years. The contrast with Norway is clear.Only 6% of Norwegian public sector organizations have a comprehensive benefitsrealization strategy, with clearly defined roles and responsibilities, includingbenefits realization managers.

By2015, 80% of Danish citizens will have transferred to digital communicationwith the municipality. Thomas Jacobsen, the Director of Citizen Services forthe municipality of Copenhagen, has stressed the importance of deadlines inmaking progress. Today, 70% of citizens in Copenhagen use electronic services.The breakthrough came when they decided to use the same ID systems as thebanks.

Inaddition to this, Jacobsen says it is important to select standardized options,rather than developing customized applications, as this allows for greaterflexibility and cost efficiency.

The Digital Parliament

The Danishgovernment manages over 100,000 documents and meets for over 1200 hours peryear. They have digitized and gathered all governmental core processes inPublic 360° – including file and case management, meeting and committeemanagement, contact information, and digital distribution of documents. This isall integrated with other relevant specialist applications.

This hasallowed them to reduce the use of paper by 75%. Four fulltime equivalents(FTEs), who previously handled, filed, and distributed paper documents, nowwork on exciting new projects linked to the Parliament’s digitization process,such as voting systems and TV transmissions. 

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Halvor Walla
Strategy Director, Software Innovation