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Digital transformation in government

Ana CanteliWritten by Ana Canteli on 15 October 2018

In the digital transformation of public administration, the challenge is technological change, not technology. Digital technologies should be perceived as the means to redesign service processes so that the user's experience and their needs are the protagonists of the transformative effort.

Moreover, ICT governance in the public sector has a lot to say about it. It is about taking the data as the raw material with which appropriate decisions are made; and at the same time, these can be amortized by society through its continued use. How? To begin it is necessary to be clear about the public policy framework along with the digital government agenda of the administration, to then determine what information we need to feed the administrative processes in digital technologies - privacy policy, legal notice on web pages, social networks, and everything else necessary. This framework would be the first step required to convert the digital government of government agencies so that the data collected is aligned with the objectives proposed in the roadmap of the government transformation plan, into the preferred channel of communication of citizens and organizations with the public sector.

The path continues with the adherence of public employees to digital administration, to perform their tasks and improve the performance management & quality of public health care and other services offered. With the application of the most updated privacy policy (which implies the inclusion of the proper legal notice) or apply transparency policies in the internal functioning of the business of government and thereby improve the customer experience in public sector administrations.

This change requires effort, mainly internally. The best example of digital transformation in the public administration will not be the one with the best electronic siege, nor the most frequented FAQ section, nor the most recognized digital certificate; if not that in which the user experience is more satisfactory for digital citizenship. Public administrations must design their business models as part of a whole, in which other local government administrations work as the headquarters of a larger entity because of this.

Data collection and advanced analytics

The ability of Big Data to improve the services offered to citizens is a reality that public bodies do not ignore; in fact, its presence is a symptom of true digital government. The analysis and processing of large volumes of data are what will allow administrations to position themselves as a recognized entity that offers and can guarantee quality public services. It is necessary to reform the organizational culture of the entities to face this digital challenge in the administration because the digital revolution requires redesigning the public service of the future. Because if something characterizes public entities (or at least they are assumed) it is the role of the guarantor of public services that define a state and the quality of life of its citizens, and for this public administrations, it must be leaders in their scope of activity.

The use of digital technologies in related topics to citizens may seem a difficult and even overwhelming objective, but it is the necessary means to maintain the preponderant role expected of public bodies. If these entities have the obligation to stipulate the legal framework, norms and enforce them - through the legal notice, the privacy policy - to guarantee minimum levels of services but always upwards; they should use the current technological advances and the most advanced solutions to not only assume, but also fulfil the objectives of the electronic administration. The technological adaptation of the professional careers of the civil service sector is key in the digital transformation project. There is a lack of digital skills among staff: knowing the implications of the privacy policy, compliance with the legal notice, on the websites of public organizations or social networks of public administrations. These deficiencies are being addressed through various initiatives: from recycling and training programs to new hires.

The OpenKM document management system is being used by public institutions of various kinds at a national and even international level. With it, we offer training programs for end users, administrators, and developers. In this way, we believe that the acceptance, use, and amortization of the software are sought in the short, medium and long-term. The OpenKM document and electronic records manager offer a complete API and SDK's in Java, PHP, and .NET that allow the integration of the software in the network of administration programs; in addition to other components that are part of the open source document management system suite.

These components serve to tackle another problem that public administrations suffer, which are information silos and shadow technologies. OpenKM, thanks to the fact that it does not offer any technological barrier to integrate with third applications, favours interoperability and makes the software used as a front-end, as a container of data or information managed in other programs. The software development kits allow OpenKM to be applied as a platform of customized solutions that are developed according to the needs. Using the Webservices API in SOAP and REST OpenKM, it provides an interoperable platform to take advantage of the applications and repositories of the organization. Even the data warehouse can be configured for any database.

Protection and security

The OpenKM document management system consolidates the data created, collected and managed by the public administration in a single repository and includes security as an integrated element. The members of the organization must log into the system. All your activity is auditable through the Activity Log. Moreover, by defining roles and profiles the areas and functionalities that the user can use are determined. In addition, within the document manager you can define the security of each content independently (document, folder, record/file, or email).

Version control

OpenKM allows the control of the life cycle of the document by accessing the history of the file. In it, you can see the versions through which the document has passed, the authors. The user can download different versions to the current one. And also see the differences between versions highlighted, to see more easily the contributions of each author.


This functionality allows you to apply rules and procedures about specific events. The use of automatic tasks increases productivity by reducing the time of operations and improves quality by reducing the impact of possible human errors. Moreover, by obtaining a high degree of precision in the processes, costs are reduced. You can automate metadata capture and text extraction, document classification, automatic workflow execution, etc.


Workflows are used to automate the sequence of actions or tasks for the execution of a process. The OpenKM workflow engine is capable of creating and managing complex business processes, in addition to applying them in parallel or series.


Through this formula, the OpenKM document manager offers scalable designs, so that the administration expands the functionalities of the platform organically; as the project evolves.

  • The multitenant module is ideal for managing multiple instances hosted on the same server, separating content and creating custom environments that share the same system.
  • The barcodes module allows the identification and reading of barcodes, which thanks to the plugin architecture can be extended to new formats.
  • The e-mail file module allows the document manager to be used as a global e-mail custody system within the organization.
  • Electronic invoice module: The electronic invoice is the digital version of the traditional invoices, and they are legally equivalent to the paper version. OpenKM extracts invoices in "XML" format and stores them in addition to allowing other functions such as validating the invoice through digital signature, downloading it in PDF format or sending notifications.

Build your own apps

The management system of documents and electronic records of OpenKM offers a series of applications that facilitate the management of documents and records in many scenarios

  • Desktop Sync: allows users to synchronize or import folders and files between the OpenKM server and their local computer.
  • Microsoft Office Add-in allows extending the functionalities of the office suite and interacting with OpenKM in a fast and efficient way. Available for Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • Electronic signature: OpenKM allows you to apply the digital or electronic signature to the documentation contained in the system. The digital signature client is designed to hold the user's digital certificate so that the user can enter documents in OpenKM at the same time they sign them, or select them from the electronic signature application.
  • Scanner: The scanner client captures images from the scanners and (optionally) converts them to PDF, uploads them to the manager and establishes values in the form of metadata.

If this configuration is not enough, the public administration will have the opportunity to create its own application, based on OpenKM's open source technology. The OpenKM platform is based on Spring Boot and BootStrap, designed to streamline the creation and maintenance of applications based on the Spring framework, with a high degree of flexibility and reliability. It offers a simple but complete platform to develop, implement and maintain Java applications.

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