Recently, we often discuss how the state has fallen asleep with digitization. It may seem like a general criticism, but specific results show that companies are starting to have a similar problem.
This applies to various aspects of digital transformation – from data analysis to the use of artificial intelligence or electronic signatures. In these areas, we are far behind the European average, and the only significant area in which we excel is e-commerce and related payment gateways.
Originally, there was supposed to be a call to speed up digitization, but in the case of the Czech Republic, we will be content with the first step for the time being, namely to stop wasting time and resources. A few weeks ago, the so-called DESI index (Digital Economy and Society Index) was published, which compares European countries in digitization. This is the most important assessment of the state of digitization in the EU.
The Czech Republic fared disastrously, in 22nd place out of 27. This is a really bad result for a country where technical innovations are so popular among the population.
The Digital and Information Agency (DIA), newly responsible, among other things, for digitization, responded to the publication of the DESI index by declaring that the law on the right to digital service “will solve everything” and the Czech Republic will move among the top ten EU countries.
This law guarantees the citizen that everything that can be offered digitally by the state will indeed be digital. State or DIA assumes that this will be done “by itself”. No, it really won’t do itself, it takes resources and time. Time is woefully short, one year and two months remain until the law is fulfilled. And resourcing is similarly dismal, we all know how hard it is to find qualified people, not to mention finances.
The key to any prosperity, when we are not sitting on huge deposits of oil or natural gas, is people. Digitization needs a sufficient number of qualified IT experts – both internal and external. Without them, no company will achieve fundamental improvement.
For example, in Scandinavian countries, ICT specialists make up eight percent of the total population, while here it is only around 4.5 percent. At the same time, we have the lowest representation of women in IT in the whole of Europe.
There is room for change: anyone unhappy with their current career should consider switching to IT (in the broadest sense) if they have the interest and time to develop new skills. The probability of success is high, the IT sector needs and will need many more workers. It is important that the Ministry of Education and the regional authorities that establish secondary schools also work with this data.
Before the system of retraining and education is significantly reoriented to IT, we have to make do with limited human resources. And here is the stumbling block. While companies manage prioritization in their processes, the state fails completely in this regard.
An example is the eDokladů project, which will allow you to have a copy of your ID card on your mobile from next year. But it will be replaced by a pan-European solution within two years. eDocuments cost the state human resources, time and money. The contribution to digitization is almost zero, a simple marketing project that will not move the Czech Republic anywhere in DESI.
One of the main things that DIA (should) do is to set up a project evaluation system (resistant to political interests) so that the Czech Republic really moves forward in digitization, i.e. to create the much-needed digital infrastructure, including laws. And not only for themselves, but also for other ministries and authorities. If we manage digitization according to PR, we will be at the bottom of the DESI ranking very soon.