Much has been made this year about the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), with President Cyril Ramaphosa highlighting the specific need for upskilling younger generations in areas like data science by the year 2030.
Along with skills development, improvement of government resources has also been identified as an area that South Africa needs to focus on in the coming years.
“With these technological innovations, we will develop systems to improve our resources and efficiencies in various sectors such as health, utilities, crime prevention, education, transport and others to better give service delivery to our people,” explained Ramaphosa during the Digital Economy Summit earlier this year.
“We have also committed ourselves to providing the infrastructure, which will enable our digital ascendency and bring benefits to all sectors of our economy,” he added.
Additional areas of focus
This is a sentiment echoed by Nancy Meyer (pictured below), business development director at Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa, but her views on 4IR are focused more squarely on the value that technology can play in the way of better resources.
“In addition to creating jobs, digitisation and automation tools within the government sector could help to streamline services and result in significant cost reductions and service benefits,” she points out.
“Despite the challenges that government sectors may have in adopting technological resources, there is room to work together to highlight measurable return of investment,” adds the Kyocera exec.
Meyer also espouses for digital transformation plans which introduce technologies and services that solved specific government problems.
“For example, streamlining processes through efficient document management, could not only save money, but help to improve public services and experiences,” she explains.
The right partners
While Meyer acknowledges that government has come a long way in tackling challenges such as procurement, thanks to partnerships with the likes of SITA and the National Treasury, there is still some work to be done on the resources front, but here finding the right kind of partner holds a solution in the business development director’s view.
“By partnering with a company that understands the intricacies of document management, including the need for security, compliance, efficiency, cost control and waste reduction, government departments could automate many mundane tasks and free up staff’s time to actually engage with the public and to upskill themselves to do more meaningful work,” notes Meyer.
In this regard Meyer naturally punts the capabilities of Kyocera, pointing to its vast experience in addressing the needs of government services across the globe, as well as the growing desire to bring more government services online.
“Whether it is resolving some of the biggest challenges in governance, such as complicated administration procedures and an overwhelming amount of documentation, or offering new opportunities, such as increasing transparency by making public records easily available online, there is a clear business use case available for the investment of delving into a digital transformation plan,” Meyer enthuses.
“In the same way that corporations have taken advantage of technology and new digital transformation tools to cut costs and increase profits, there is pressure on government to be more efficient than ever, and with our President’s eye on progress in this area, there is an understanding that there is benefit in accelerating the transformation process,” she continues.
Three things to look at
Here Meyer highlights three areas in particular to consider when looking to make the most of technology in the governmental perspective – security and encryption, device management and control, as well as regulations and compliance.
Starting with security, Meyer points to the countless number of cyberattacks and data breaches as a clear sign that encryption is of paramount importance, especially when working with sensitive data as many government entities do.
Shifting to device management, the Kyocera exec notes that even in the age of digitisation, the need for printing services still exists. Here Meyer explains that issues like printer downtime or toner shortages are real world problems that remote administration could easily address and ultimately improve the efficiency of an office environment.
As for regulation, these kinds of requirements are a constant concern for government departments and organisations. Added to this is the complexity of managing layers of document workflow and access control, according to Meyer. “As a minimum requirement, all intellectual property must be kept secure and controlled, with the ability to be accessed across a number of platforms and divisions,” she advises.
As Meyer has pointed out, government agencies across the country have unique needs and yet their objectives, namely security, compliance, efficiency, cost control, waste reduction, energy efficiency and user-accessibility, are remarkably similar.
“By optimising document management, the government sector could take the first step into enabling digital ascendency and bring benefits to all sectors of the economy,” says Meyer.
Here the business development director points to what Kyocera is capable of assisting with, “The company has experience in, and understands how technology enables crucial public services to provide an improved experience on what matters most to the public,” she concludes.
To find out more about what Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa has in this regard, head here.