Here are Three Trends Presently Shaping GovTech Landscape
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the majority of countries around the world. While some of the solutions proposed by governments have varied, when it comes to providing social, economic, and medical assistance, those with developed GovTech—a whole-of-government approach to public sector digitization—have generally been more efficient.
The pandemic has highlighted the importance of such systems, but as with any crisis, it has also left many pondering: how will GovTech evolve in the future?
Experts at NRD Companies, a global IT and consulting group of companies specializing in governance and economic digital infrastructure, have elaborated on how the landscape of GovTech might look like going forward.
The importance of developing e-government systems has not been overshadowed by the pandemic. In fact, the adverse conditions have only reinforced the need for GovTech solutions as countries seek to deliver their citizens an efficient way of accessing public services. With a deadly virus raging and travel restrictions in place, the crisis has opened up new opportunities for remote collaboration, which is no longer seen as an option, but rather as a necessary component for successful GovTech project implementation.
“As tools, processes, and software constantly improve, it has become possible to implement large-scale GovTech projects entirely remotely, regardless of location and time zones,” said Mindaugas Glodas, CEO at NRD Companies. “Of course, consulting and implementing projects remotely is significantly more complex than doing it the usual way, thus when choosing partners, countries should consider their experience in working with such projects. In any case, moving forward, remote work will stay with us even after the pandemic, as countries are becoming more aware of the benefits such methodology brings to the table.”
One such project involves Barbados, an island country in the Caribbean which has recently agreed, even amidst the pandemic, to take the first step toward digitizing the public sector. Working together with NRD Companies, the nation will implement a progressive e-services delivery platform entirely remotely, encouraging cooperation and data exchange between the public sector and the government by providing a Directory of Services and designated online spaces for citizens, businesses, and the government.
Shift to cloud
Multiple governments around the world still rely on physical, premise-based data centers. Such centers require careful management and are vulnerable to fire, smoke, moisture, flood, pollution, and data leakages. As governments receive more and more sensitive data, storing it in bare metal servers is becoming too risky to continue.
“The limitations of legacy systems are going to encourage a shift to cloud,” said Mr Glodas. “It is no longer safe and practical to store data on physical servers, especially when an increasing number of governments are choosing the digitization path. Going cloud is the next logical step as it provides more resilience, saves money and stimulates innovation.This has been happening for quite some time in the private sector, but the transition in the public sector is only accelerating.”
In particular, private clouds are now on the rise. In 2018, a study predicted that governments will shift to private cloud at twice the rate of public cloud through 2021. Since then, the German federal government, the French Ministry of the Interior and a few Swedish government agencies, among others, have transitioned to private cloud to ensure control and security.
Other countries choose similar cloud solutions. Partnering with NRD Companies, Anguilla, a British overseas territory in the Caribbean, will have its electronic system for the Commercial Registry implemented on a hybrid cloud—a combination of on-premises infrastructure, private and public clouds—to ensure availability in a cost-effective way.
Positive influence of electronic business registries
The private sector is crucial in the country’s fight against poverty through investment and job creation. Where an effective private sector is lacking, business registration reform has been shown to be one of the essential first steps toward improving the business environment and fostering private sector growth. The easier, faster, and cheaper the business registration process becomes, the higher number of businesses are in an economy.
“When local businesses flourish, they create jobs and generate income that can be spent and invested domestically,” said Ieva Tarailienė, Head of Registry Practice at NRD Companies. “And for the businesses to flourish, favorable conditions must be ensured by the government. This is where digitization can help tremendously—online business registries streamline the whole process of formally registering one’s business and at the same time level the playing ground. As long as governments continue developing online business registration registries, it is a no brainer that their economic segments will only improve.”
The benefits of electronic business registries are reflected in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking, which often acts as a guiding light for foreign investors. For example, Mauritius, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, has moved up 36 places during the last three years and is now ranked first in the Sub-Saharan region and 13th overall in the latest Doing Business ranking. This is mostly thanks to its paperless e-registry system, recently developed by NRD Companies, which allows businesses and citizens to use over 30 registries completely remotely.
Interswitch is the Most Valuable African Startup
Interswitch, the leading payment processing company headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, is Africa’s most valuable start-up at a US$ 1 billion valuation.
Founded in 2002, Interswitch uses switching infrastructure to connect different banks in Nigeria and powered banks’ ATM cards. Presently, the company has over 11,000 ATMs on its network.
In 2010, Helios Investment Partners bought two-thirds of the company and in the following year, Interswitch bought a 60 percent stake in Bankom in Uganda.
Interswitch owns Verve, Nigeria’s most used payment card, and accounted for 18 million of 25 million cards in circulation in Nigeria. The company also owns Quickteller and recently purchased VANSO, a mobile-focused technology provider to banks.
Like Interswitch, Stripe, the company that acquired Nigeria’s Paystack for over US$200 million, is the most valuable startup in the USA at over US$70 billion valuation.
Klarna, Nubank, Paytm and Grab leads in Europe, Latin America, India and Southeast Asia with valuations of US$10.65 billion, US$10 billion, US$16 billion and US$14 billion, respectively.
E-commerce Black Friday Sales Estimated to Surge by 40% to 10.2 Billion
The 2020 holiday shopping season will be unique, as the pandemic shifted consumer behavior from retail stores to online shopping. In response, many retailers moved their services online to not miss out on this year’s profits. Atlas VPN team decided to look into how e-commerce sales are set to perform in the upcoming long weekend.
Researchers predict that the US e-commerce revenue will exceed last year’s earnings by 49.5% on Thanksgiving day, totaling $6.18 billion in revenue. Black Friday is calculated to reach $10.2 billion in sales, exceeding last years numbers by 39.4%
Rachel Welch, COO of Atlas VPN, shares her tips on how to stay safe when shopping online during the holiday season:
“Watch out for too-good-to-be-true deals from unknown sellers, as cybercriminals will also expect to turn a profit during the holiday season, even though they are not selling anything, except maybe a bag full of disappointment.”
Finally, analysis shows that on the last day of the long and full of special offers Thanksgiving weekend, consumers will go all out to bring record sales for e-commerce businesses, adding up to $12.89 billion.
To look at these five days from a wider perspective, e-commerce companies can expect to earn around 39.72% more than they did last year.
Alibaba Merchants Sell $40B in First Half Hour of Singles Day 2020, More than 2019 Event Full Sales
Singles Day 2020 was a roaring success, cementing its position as the world’s biggest shopping holiday. Sales across Alibaba’s platforms during the event totaled $74.1 billion, up from $38 billion in 2019.
According to the research data analyzed and published by Stock Apps, within the first 30 minutes of the event, the gross merchandise volume (GMV) surpassed 2019’s full-event sales, reaching $40.87 billion.
Moreover, instead of live events, Alibaba had 400 company executives and 30 celebrities hosting livestreams. Based on a study by Coresight, the Chinese livestream market is set to rack in sales worth $125 billion in 2020, compared to $63 billion in 2019. The US livestream market is a small fraction of that, valued at $5 billion.
China’s Tech Heavyweights Lose $280 Billion in Market Cap
Alibaba Singles Day 2020 dwarfed other major shopping holidays as has been the trend in previous years.
According to Practical eCommerce, Amazon Prime Day 2020 sales totaled $10.4 billion up from $7.16 billion in 2019. Cyber Monday sales in the US amounted to $7.9 billion in 2020 according to Statista. Black Friday and Thanksgiving added $9.7 billion to the figure to make $17.6 billion for the weekend.
Similarly, in 2018, Singles Day sold $30.8 billion while Prime Day sold $4.19 billion and Thanksgiving weekend got $14.2 billion.
However, the 2020 Singles Day event came in the wake of Ant Group’s suspension of a $37 billion listing. The suspension resulted in a $76 billion drop in Alibaba’s market cap, as the tech giant owns a two-thirds stake in Ant Group. Moreover, China’s regulators released anti-trust draft rules prior to the event, aimed at controlling monopolistic behavior.
Following the release, Alibaba shares plunged by 9.8%, as JD.com shed off 9.2%. Tencent similarly saw a 7.39% drop and Xiaomi fell by 8.18%. For the five companies, there was a combined loss of $280 billion in market capitalization.
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