Jan Alexa (Research Manager, IDC Government Insights)
Silvia Piai (Research Director, Health Insights)

Governments and healthcare systems are being tested. COVID-19 is a threat for every country, now or in the very near future. The outcomes, however, are likely to be different around the world both in terms of health and national economies.

While no country will emerge completely unscathed, differing approaches will result in differing results. Here is a list of 10 key features related to governance capabilities and digital transformation that will determine how resilient your country is likely to be:


1.      Trusted Data

The ability to collect and present trusted data in a meaningful and easy-to-understand way can lessen the severity of the crisis.

Openness, trust and everything related to those are back in fashion.  Those who cannot trust their government are more likely to panic, disobey the quarantine rules and lose faith in the economy — all of which will negatively impact the market.


2.      Narrative Control in Digital

The costs of misinformation are something that governments can no longer risk. In emergency situations, misinformation can have serious economic repercussions. In extreme circumstances it can even endanger public health.

For governments, the ability to efficiently communicate its message and ensure that that message reaches everyone undiluted is key to success.


3.       User-Friendly Digital Services

The availability of reliable and user-friendly digital services will be essential to inform, engage, and encourage appropriate behaviour among citizens and patients.

In healthcare, online triage tools, e-visits and remote health systems are already playing an essential role in helping patients to manage their conditions without unnecessarily overcrowding hospitals.


4.      Big Data Capabilities

COVID-19 provides a compelling use case for Big Data and advanced analytics for the public sector. If you know which contacts to trace and which places to shut down, and can understand how the outbreak will develop, you will know which measures to enact.

Big Data capabilities in pandemics can be the difference between a targeted response and flying blind.


5.      Governance Capacity and Agility

This is the ability to reallocate internal governmental resources in an agile manner, shift non-essential workloads away from key staff, and lighten their burden. Utilising context-aware online self-services and AI-driven chatbots to reply to more routine queries will ensure that public services are not overwhelmed and are more able to cope with a quickly developing situation.


6.      Modularity and Scalability

The emergency response is requiring healthcare and government organisations to change organisational structures, workflows, and processes, as well as hospitals’ and public places’ physical setups, overnight.

Information systems need to be rapidly repurposed, augmented, and scaled up and down to support new front-office and back-office needs. Greater adoption of agile solutions and infrastructure delivery models such as cloud will support rapid changes in demand.

Having in place a coherent information management strategy, emphasising data interoperability and standardisation, will be a key differentiator in terms of response effectiveness.


7.      Remote and Virtual Work

Countries that have in place solid plans for smart working practices for public servants and healthcare staff will be able to ensure service continuity and efficacy. Remote medical consultations and virtual visits protect the safety of healthcare and government professionals.

Easy and intuitive mobile access to key digital resources will enhance the performance of personnel in the field.


8.      Plug and Play

The private sector can do a lot. Private organisations around the world have volunteered medical equipment, dedicated COVID-19 apps, logistical support and much more in the past few days.

Your government and national health service should be able to quickly muster all this enthusiasm and present a coordinated response, utilising everything on offer. The ability to integrate third parties in information systems and business processes will help health and government organisations to mobilise new resources and expertise.


9.      Redundancy

Systems availability and service continuity are central to the crisis response. Taking sustained actions to reduce the risk of failure, along with building an emergency management function, requires a strong focus on:

  • Automation of response processes and measures
  • Assignment and training of dedicated staff
  • Designating key resources and supplies
  • Plans for emergency rapid deployment


10. Simplicity

The COVID-19 outbreak reiterates that a crisis is the best time to apply the “Occam’s razor” theory. Government and healthcare organisations will be presented with different ways to carry out their strategy.

Given the uncertainty of the situation, they will have to select the solution with the fewest assumptions. This implies that this is not the time to implement new solutions requiring testbeds, integration and training.

Public services should focus on the resources and skills they have available right now. They should also creatively think about how to use them to address immediate needs in a robust, safe and efficient way.


Please, contact Jan Alexa or Silvia Piai for more information or to share your views with us.

If you want to know more about how COVID-19 will affect industries, read it here:

Also, you can watch our webcast here: COVID-19 Impact: Navigating the European Technology Markets