ICT 2022: Digital transformation in social security

ICT 2022: Digital transformation in social security

From 4 to 6 May 2022, CEOs and ICT experts gathered in Tallinn, Estonia to study and discuss how digitalization can shape an adaptable and people-centric social security. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation, and this was a welcome opportunity to finally be able to meet, learn and network in person after more than two years of only virtual events.

The International Social Security Association (ISSA) was delighted to welcome its members to the 16th ISSA International Conference on Information and Communication Technology in Social Security (ICT 2022), hosted by the Estonian National Social Insurance Board. Following last year’s virtual symposium it was finally possible, once again, to gather the ISSA membership at an international conference. Over 160 participants registered to attend the ICT 2022 conference in Tallinn. In addition, almost 500 registered to participate online.

Tallinn was a natural setting for ICT 2022, as Estonia is one of the most digitalized countries in the world, and e-solutions are core to its social security services. "What we really focus on is how we can be user‑centric. Good design and good user experiences lead to better outcomes” said Andres Sutt, Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology in his opening remarks. Importantly he also emphasized that "This is a journey, and the journey is great, but the journey is never over." This message clearly illustrates that we continuously have to reflect and discuss how information and communication technology (ICT) can serve the goals of social security. It was highlighted by a number of speakers throughout the conference that ICT is not a destination, but integral to building a digital transformation strategy.

Speakers and panellists from more than 85 ISSA member institutions and other organizations contributed throughout the three days of the conference. Luukas Ilves, Undersecretary for Digital Development and Government Chief Information Officer, gave an inspiring presentation of the Estonian experience. As a value-added activity, a study tour was organized for institutions enquiring more details about Estonia’s Digital Transformation history and journey, which was highlighted by meetings at the E-Estonia Centre where specialists shared their state-of-the-art government e-services framework.

The CEO Roundtable gathered top managers from four continents for discussions on digitalization strategies, challenges, and success factors. And the ICT Industry Forum provided perspectives from major companies providing ICT solutions to the public sector. Plenary sessions provided keynote presentations on specific topics which were discussed in greater detail on several parallel sessions, where ISSA members were able to discuss concrete good practices and related experiences.

The influence of COVID-19 in accelerating the digital transformation in social security in many ways was a background for the conference. As ISSA President Joachim Breuer said, “COVID-19 gave us a huge push forward.” However, ICT 2022 was an opportunity to both dig deeper and look beyond COVID-19. Experiences, good practices, and reflections were shared on core technical issues such as artificial intelligence (AI), analytics, big data, blockchain, customer-centred mobile applications, cybersecurity, inter‑organizational data exchange and interoperability. The Innovation Zone was a special session with inspiring live demonstrations, including AI-powered mobile apps, robots supporting children with disabilities and business analytics tools.

Technical solutions were discussed in a strategic context, against the backdrop of key policy and operational goals. As Susanne Weigel from the ISSA Technical Commission on Information and Communication Technology said in the concluding session, “It gave a really good perspective on strategic and transformational topics like customer centricity, change management and strategy.”  Two new draft ISSA reports were presented, looking at digital inclusion and digital operational resilience. Following the conference and input from members, the reports will be finalized and published on the ISSA website.

Beyond strategy and technical solutions, data storytelling is another important concept that was highlighted during the conference. It is important to be able to communicate the value of ICT for social security, its clients, and beneficiaries. In his concluding remarks, ISSA Secretary General Marcelo Caetano emphasised that, “The purpose of discussing all these technical aspects, was to promote and develop social security for all.” The journey continues and ICT will certainly also be on the agenda during the World Social Security Forum in Marrakech, Morocco, 24–28 October 2022.

e-Estonia – Study tour journal


On the occasion of the 16th ISSA International Conference on Information and Communication Technology in Social Security (ICT 2022) and with the support of the Estonian National Social Insurance Board, the host of the event, the ISSA arranged a study tour to the e-Estonia Briefing Centre

The study tour on 3 May 2022 aimed to provide participants with a better understanding of the details and breadth of Estonia’s digital strategy. 14 representatives of institutions from different regions around the world took part in this visit and were able to exchange with local experts about the country’s unique digital transformation process.

The visit allowed participants to get first-hand knowledge of initiatives like digital social protection, digital government services, electronic ID and even cross-agency data exchange platforms such as X-Roads and how these have supported the different government entities to work together in providing over 99 per cent of their services via digital channels.

The visit served as a facilitator for international cooperation for member organizations and to potentially leverage innovations from Estonia to be applied in their respective countries.

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