Isabella Groegor-Cechowicz

SVP, Global General Manager Public Services, SAP SE

How governments are becoming smarter​

Typically, city goals are focused on three areas: economic growth, quality of life and sustainable development.

Several trends and developments are challenging advancement in these areas. Financial constraints are a continuous theme for all governments and require to do more with less. Citizens are more and more acting like customers, no longer accepting that the ease of engagement, that they experience in their role of consumers, is not reflected in their engagement with government.

Sustainability and social cohesion are under permanent pressure. City governments are starting to answer those challenges by the using the possibilities that technological innovation offers. Data driven government will help to improve citizens’ lives as decision making and fact finding can be based on verifiable data from heterogeneous sources. Machine learning capabilities allow for automated decision making even on complex problems. Using the possibilities offered by Cloud computing enables city governments to do more with less.

Finally, IoT offers plenty of possibilities in the cities area. The use of those disruptive technologies though has downsides too. Our society becomes more vulnerable for cybercrime as much more data is stored digitally and physical objects become connected to the internet. Further, due to disruptive technologies, many existing jobs will disappear, confronting the city with an increasing number of long-term unemployed, leaving no money for addressing social challenges. Although smart solutions have the potential to connect people and to increase social cohesion, the darker side is the risk of smart city benefits not being reaped by all groups in our society alike.

While city leaders start to embrace digitization these risks show the need for a comprehensive Digital City Agenda rather than applying digital point solutions opportunistically.

Ms Groegor-Cechowicz oversees SAP’s global public services business, including public sector, postal, defense and security, and higher education and research. Together with her team, she is responsible for SAP’s success in this US$13 billion software market, ensuring a focus on customer value. She is responsible for setting strategic direction for the industry teams, including co-innovation with customers and the delivery of new business models.