The public health guidelines established during the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated the digitalization of processes, leading to enhanced efficiency and productivity for private and public organizations worldwide. For the government of Mexico City, the digitalization of its bureaucratic processes has resulted in substantial cost-savings, amounting to as much as MX$2 billion (US$117 million).
These savings are the result of the government’s strategic redirection of technological investments away from foreign companies and toward the creation of a domestically developed software infrastructure. Presently, this Mexican software hub comprises 40 programmers from public universities who are actively contributing to the city's digital transformation. Martí Batres, Head of Government, Mexico City, underscored that the city’s digitalization prowess was achieved by denying external entities oversight of the city's transformation.
"It represents a truly ambitious and assertive digitalization endeavor. In fact, it stands as the largest-scale digital transformation within the entire region, characterized by a resolute leftist approach: we are advancing based on our inherent capabilities and emphasizing support for the most vulnerable," says José Peña Merino, Director, Digital Public Innovation Agency (ADIP).
Based on the work of this software development team, Mexico City has effectively reduced its bureaucratic procedures from a total of 2,100 to 530. Among these, 112 procedures are accessible through digital channels, and projections anticipating an increase to 197 by the end of the year. According to Batres, it is estimated that approximately one million procedures are executed annually within Mexico City. In this context, 68% of these procedures already have a digital alternative, and 40% of all procedures received are now conducted digitally. Currently, the highest volume of government processes received include civil registry records, driver’s license submissions, Mi Beca scholarship applications and digital complaints, among others.
Apart from reducing manual paperwork and data entry, government digitization has facilitated submission, review and approval of documents, thus saving time for both citizens and government officials. Moreover, digitalization enables automated data validation and minimizes errors, resulting in precise records and well-informed decisions. More importantly, digital platforms provide a clear and accessible record of transactions and decisions taken by government officials, efficiently mitigating corruption and enhancing transparency of governmental administration.
Another example of successful government digitalization can be found in Michoacan’s digital initiative, launched in June 2023. The introduction of the state-owned cloud service, "Nube Michoacán," has proficiently addressed operational inadequacies within the state's bureaucratic mechanisms, streamlining processes while fostering data transparency. As of now, Michoacan’s administration has successfully digitized around 450 bureaucratic procedures out of the 1,003 overseen by state agencies.
Platforms such as Nube Michoacán and software developments like the one deployed in Mexico City are efficiently serving citizens by safeguarding sensitive governmental information, simplifying bureaucratic payments through digitalization and saving millions of dollars in public funds while aiding its digital transformation.