Last week, Elets Technomedia—together with SAP India—organized and hosted an online summit broadcasted live through social media platforms titled “Future Cities Virtual Conclave.” The event, held last July 24, 2020, focused on helping governments create more citizen-centric and enhanced systems through future ready solutions and technology.
Speakers and panelists included local and international policymakers who described their take on smart cities that focus on citizen-engagement. SAP industry leaders also demonstrated future ready solutions that equip governments with the tools and technology needed to create improved systems for paying taxes, taking government services, and many other things.
Future Ready Solutions for Smarter Cities
In his opening remarks, Sujit Patheja, Director, Smart Cities & Urban Governance, SAP India, notes that to successfully create smart and future ready cities, governments need to bring citizen engagement back to the center of the conversation. He explains,
“We have seen various events talking about public safety mobility and city administration in general. While [these are] really important topics, I think what has been missing in these is the focus on citizens—their experience of interacting with these services and their experience of engaging with government organizations across cities.”
Following this, Mike Eberhardt, Global Industry Principal Public Sector, SAP Customer Experience, SAP Switzerland, acknowledged the importance of looking at the issues citizens face while engaging in government services in creating solutions. He emphasized that what citizens need—especially now with the COVID-19 pandemic—are easily accessible services that leverage advanced technology and ensure their safety and security. Eberhardt said,
“It is important to bring in IoT, machine learning, AI, etc. to improve the system and reduce cost and time that we put in while operating traditionally in a pen-paper manner.”
For her part, Kathleen O’Brien, Global Industry Principal, Public Sector, SAP Australia, addressed how the global pandemic exposed huge gaps in citizen services around the world and the lack of scalable government systems and how it is more important now more than ever, that governments digitally transform to better serve citizens. She said,
“We are certainly in exceptional times right now—putting much more importance on digital service delivery with less face-to-face contact and faster, more efficient processes genuinely needed to support the economy and people’s needs.”
She demonstrated an SAP application she and her team at SAP Australia created for their government clients and showed how the online platform becomes a one-stop-shop for government services such as license renewal, medical support, trade license, water connection, and others. She said,
“Our focus has been that the online platform or the application we offer is clean, easy to use and can be used in various devices for the convenience of the people.”
Rajeev Singh, Vice President and Business Head Public Services, SAP India highlighted how information and communications technology (ICT) driven systems adopted in city governance are bridging the communication gap between citizens and the government.
Finally, Public Sector ICX, Offering Owner, DXC Technology Australia Christchurch City Council, Renae Rowland, talked about the city’s Citizen Engagement Project that aims to make it simpler for citizens to interact with their council and leverages SAP Citizen Engagement Accelerator. According to her, the solution increased system efficiency, reduced citizen call back and provided more choices to the citizens. She explained how the SAP solution works:
“SAP Citizen Engagement Accelerator was one of the solutions which allowed citizens to pay taxes, bills, apply for licenses, water connection, and more such services online. For services, there is a form which citizens fill-up and the form automatically goes to the respective department for action. Also, there are payment options for services wherever required and review option as well.”