By increasing the digitalization of commercial services citizens' expect more from public services. First of all, this study will strive to identify which problems citizens encounter when they use a complex public service: preparation of an application for a building permit. In the light of the popularity of omnichannel approaches, the study then explores how omni-channel could help to address the problems which have been identified.
We implement the first phases of an action design science research project. We collect data both from citizens and public agencies and frame them as transparency problems. These abstract problems are then addressed by an omnichannel service provision as an abstract solution. The abstract solution is then instantiated in a design in the form of a user scenario developed in collaboration with current and future public officials.
The analysis uncovers multiple transparency issues: it distinguishes between process, case, language, cross-channel and cost transparency. One root cause of the transparency issues observed is the lack of service transparency which defines the purpose and scope of a ser-vice. We therefore recommend defining a service-strategy before informational and technical aspects of an omnichannel approach can be implemented. Following this strategy, omnichannel offers public administrations unique opportunities to excel in citizens' service provision.
The study provides insights into how citizens view complex public services. For researchers, this study offers the conceptualization as transparency issues. Practitioners from the public administrations can also benefit from the concept and vision of omnichannel public services.
Schenk, B., Dolata, M., Schwabe, C. and Schwabe, G. (2021), "What citizens experience and how omni-channel could help–insights from a building permit case", Information Technology & People, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/ITP-06-2020-0374
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