Hello, this is Hayashi from the Marketing Department.
Recently, we have seen an increase in the number of cases in which local governments, such as prefectures and municipalities, are promoting DX in partnership with private companies. This trend is based on the «Municipal Digital Transformation (DX) Promotion Plan» announced by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) for 2020.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications plan calls for local governments to first:
- Improve convenience for residents by utilizing digital technology and data for the administrative services they are responsible for
- Improve operational efficiency through the use of digital technology, AI, etc., and lead human resources to the further improvement of administrative services
and in response to this plan, local governments are currently promoting Municipal DX. As part of such efforts, «Digital City Hall,» which enables online procedures such as applications and notifications that previously required a visit to the city hall, is now in operation.
However, the reality is that there are various issues to be addressed in order to reform the past approach and develop it into the municipal DX that the government has set forth.
In this issue, we will focus on the theme of DX in local governments and explain how BPM (Business Process Management) and software called BPM tools can be useful in this context.
What is DX Anyway?
As of February 2023, the Digital Governance Code 2.0, published by the government, defines DX in companies as
- A radical transformation of the business model
In other words, DX is not just about digitizing and automating business operations, but also about transforming the way business operations are done and having a significant impact on society and people’s lifestyles. In other words, the DX framework includes digitization, automation, online, etc., as means and processes to achieve DX.
For example, Toyonaka City in Osaka is promoting 100% online access to administrative procedures. The ability to complete various administrative procedures without going to city hall may lead to a revolution that will have a significant impact on society and our lifestyles.
The «Analog City Hall» People I Met
By the way, the «Digital City Hall» mentioned above is only a part of DX in local governments. Naturally, the scope of administrative services handled by online city halls varies from municipality to municipality, and there may be some tasks that are difficult to handle online.
It was about 10 years ago when I moved to a new place in the same city. After completing the procedures related to my family register, I went to change the address on my insurance card. The city hall is a very nice building, and for insurance-related procedures, you have to go to a different floor. When I arrived at the insurance counter, there were many people waiting for their turn.
After waiting 20-30 minutes for my turn, I finally went to the window and told them that I wanted to change the address on my insurance card. The person who answered me at the counter was a fairly experienced employee who appeared to be nearing retirement. However, he did not seem to understand the procedure for changing the address on my insurance card. He took the insurance card that I had given him and went into a back room, then wandered around with his head tilted.
I watched his behavior wondering » Why would he do that, even though he is a veteran?» Finally, he came back to me after checking with other staff members on how to change his address, and what he did was a very analog procedure of drawing a bar line with a ruler, erasing the previous address, and writing in the new address by hand. It was a terribly simple process, but he looked very serious. The process took only one minute. But I waited for nearly an hour for this procedure.
Well, there must have been some paperwork that I didn’t see, but this is the kind of work that I would like to see automated and online.
Incidentally, local governments currently have their own communication system called LGWAN (Local Government Wide Area Network), which plays a major role in realizing the Digital City Hall. On the other hand, there are still many issues that need to be resolved in the field of municipal DX, such as the lack of IT human resources.
The Role of BPM in DX
Now, what I am concerned about when I hear about Municipal DX and the Digital City Hall is the gap between the goal and the reality of these government offices.
In order to convert application and notification processes at government offices to an online system it is necessary to identify and verify each and every one of these processes. Some of these operations may not be defined in manuals, as mentioned above. For such operations, it is necessary to start with the codification of the operations. This is a steady and difficult task, but it is unavoidable if you are going to carry out business reforms such as computerization, automation, and online operations with a view to DX. It is a big task.
Incidentally, this kind of work is also indispensable in the private sector as a step toward DX. This is where BPM (Business Process Management) methods are useful, regardless of industry.
BPM is a business management method that aims to continuously optimize operations through the PDCA cycle*.
Specifically, we will repeat the process of:
- Organizing, defining, and visualizing the flow of business operations
- Discovering problems and issues by operating the business
- Improving the business processes
By incorporating all operations into this BPM cycle, codification will become easier, and digitization, automation, and online operations will also become easier.
However, the reality is that there are many different types of operations in companies and government offices, and accordingly, there are many different business processes. It would be a painstaking task to incorporate each and every one of them into such a cycle and investigate them one by one.
Software called BPMS (BPM System/BPM Suite) provides powerful support for this painstaking task.
* PDCA cycle…A cycle consisting of four steps: Plan→Do→Check→Act. The PDCA cycle is the process of improving operations by repeating these steps.
Centralized Management of Business Processes with Questetra BPM Suite
Questetra BPM Suite is a cloud-based BPMS.
BPM emphasizes «modeling», which is the process of graphically representing business operations, and with Questetra BPM Suite you can easily create a process diagram by placing icons on the computer screen. Once a process diagram is created, work proceeds automatically according to the diagram, so there is no need to manually hand over work and it becomes simple for work to proceed smoothly, even across multiple departments.
Another feature of Questetra BPM Suite is that business processes can be easily verified and changed after operation.
For example, when introducing RPA tools to automate operations, it is important to determine which parts of the operations to automate. Since Questetra BPM Suite stores data such as the processing time of operations, it will be easy to select the points to be automated by verifying these data. Normally, there are multiple business processes in a company or government office, but Questetra BPM Suite’s strength is its ability to centrally manage them.
If business processes are well defined and visualized, it will be possible to identify tasks that are not easily automated or done online, as well as tasks that must be done by human resources.
For example, it is important for humans to provide face-to-face consultation services related to welfare, isn’t it? In this way, DX may be required to focus on tasks that require more human resources by collaborating with AI and robots.
Incidentally, Questetra BPM Suite can be used in conjunction with RPA tools to build a system that smoothly transfers tasks between humans and robots. Why don’t you take this opportunity to take the first step toward DX by visualizing your business processes? Questetra BPM Suite is a cloud-based system, so you can start using it immediately after you apply for it, and you can also try it for free.