Skip to content
Microsoft Industry Blogs

When governments offer their citizens quality digital experiences, they can expect to see levels of trust rise by as much as 58 percent.

But, with most governments dealing with outdated technology infrastructures, ever-shrinking budgets, and long-established but inefficient processes, this can be a difficult aim to achieve.

When government organizations build roadmaps for digital transformation, it’s easy to just focus on the obvious wins—such as operational improvements and cost saving—but in doing so, many miss a key opportunity to enhance citizen engagement. If you’re planning your own path to transformation, you need to consider the evolving needs of your citizens, in addition to the government’s.

The journey to citizen-first digital cities

Take the city of Tel Aviv.

One of the early pioneers of citizen-focused digital transformation, the Israeli city worked with Microsoft on its DigiTel initiative to boost communication between the government and citizens while bringing them a broader range of digital services.

Tel Aviv already offered a wealth of digital services through its website—but it wanted to expand the scope and convenience. So, it created the DigiTel app, which uses location-based personalization to deliver real-time information to its citizens, such as transport timetables, nearby restaurants, and parking availability.

The app also offers citizens an easier way to get involved with municipal issues and improve their neighborhoods. Say someone spots a pothole on their street, for example—using the DigiTel app, they can take a photo and share it directly with the people who can get it fixed. The city can also seek citizens’ input on projects such as new developments and education plans, encouraging them to become stakeholders in the city.

The goal of the program is to bring services to the people, rather than making them seek out support. “We want to make it as easy as possible to interact with the city,” says Liora Shechter, Tel Aviv’s CTO. “So, with every project we develop, we try to go the extra mile and develop the most friendly, intuitive, and useful service for people.”

How to build your own smart city

If you’re one of the thousands of governments that are steeped in aging technologies, take the first step toward citizen-focused transformation by assessing your current infrastructure and making a plan to improve it in ways that prioritize civic engagement. In Tel Aviv, that meant moving some of its key assets off premises and into the Microsoft cloud.

But for your government, this journey will likely look slightly—or vastly—different. It’s all about finding the technologies and strategies that suit you and your citizens’ needs.

So, ask yourself, what does progress look like for your city?

We’ve put together a fast, easy assessment to help you understand your government’s digital maturity—and give you some pointers for what your roadmap should look like. Simply answer five questions, and we’ll help you take stock of where you are on your transformation journey, and where you should head next.

Take the assessment now.