by FIRtech Business Development Executive Kabelo Mojapelo
Government’s digitalisation programme aims to have 80% of its citizen-facing services to be online by 2025 and to be paperless by end of the 6th administration. This is according to Minster of Communications and Digital Technologies, Ms Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, who recently outlined her paperless vision at GovTech.
Although many business leaders are excited by the prospects of this innovative tech and know that it will generate tremendous value, they still think it is something futuristic. Going paperless is a mammoth task and many critics doubt whether it’s even possible.
The truth is, it is possible but only with the help of digital agents and innovative tech like automation, data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI). They have become essential tools in managing labour intensive processes.
Digital agents can help improve efficiencies within the departments. Going paperless doesn’t only mean eliminate paper, it’s also about streamlining the cumbersome processes that are found throughout Government departments.
It’s not just government staff that benefit, citizens will have access to paperless on-demand services via their mobile devices. Automated digital services help alleviate red tape and inefficient time-consuming processes. For example, digital agents will enable citizens to apply for pension and social grants online, they will no longer need to go to a government department.
The intention is for citizens to do most things online – complete forms, attach documents – and robots will do all verifications and approve application in near real-time. Currently, this tedious paper-based process takes about 3 months to complete. Digital agents help improve service delivery, eliminate fraud and human error.
The Department of Home Affairs has also shared its plans to go paperless to ensure a credible population register, not vulnerable to theft and fraud.
Automation eliminates human error and provides better transparency for Government processes. Machine learning helps with verification, especially when verifying documents like invoices, tenders and supplier documentation.
As part of the SA Connect strategy, Government has identified the national broadband programme to meet the technology goals of the National Development Plan of creating a digitally inclusive information society.
There are innovative tools to help Government achieve its goals of becoming paperless by the end of its 6th administration. FIRtech’s digital workers are able to mimic repetitive tasks more quickly and accurately and have self-learning AI, that allows them to read, interpret and process documents of all types.