Postal services: Courier for governments' digital transformation

TT Post head office at National Mall Centre, Golden Grove Road, Piarco. FILE PHOTO - Roger Jacob
TT Post head office at National Mall Centre, Golden Grove Road, Piarco. FILE PHOTO - Roger Jacob

POSTAL services globally, TT Post included, are the driving forces behind society’s leap into the digital era, transforming government services and contributing significantly to socio-economic development.

The world’s postal service can become the cornerstone for the digital future, says Franklin Sluis, chairman of the supervisory board for premium business support at TTPost.

Sluis spoke alongside TTPost CEO George Alexis on a panel last week during Canto Connect celebrations and 40th annual general meeting at Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain, highlighting TTPost’s alignment with the government’s mandate for digital transformation, and the role of postal services on a global scale.

“In the digital transformation age, the postal network growth has transcended its traditional boundaries,” Sluis said, “emerging as a crucial conduit for government services and socio-economic growth.

“As governments worldwide strive (to deliver service) that is more accessible, efficient and secure, the integration of digital solutions in the postal infrastructure has proven to be a game-changer.”

He said this synergy between digital capabilities and postal services drives socio-economic development, enhances citizen engagement and fosters robust and transparent government operations.

Inclusivity and reach, he added, come hand-in-hand with the digital overhaul of government services.

“With its extensive presence, the postal network breaks down the barriers to digital literacy and internet accessibility, especially in underserved areas.”

Efficiency is another “cornerstone of this transformation,” with digital tools streamlining procedures and cutting costs.

The postal network plays a vital role in the secure delivery of digital documents, safeguarding data privacy and reinforcing trust in digital services, he said, adding that it also brings “transparency and accountability to the forefront, delivering fiscal records and enabling citizens to monitor government's operations clearly.”

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME), Sluis added, have been part of the transformation.

Regardless of their locations, MSMEs can access the marketplace, participate in e-commerce and benefit from digital financial services by becoming hubs for digital skills training, said Sluis.

“Postal services empower businesses to navigate the digital economy confidently.

“Furthermore, they are crucial in simplifying MSMEs' interaction with government services, providing access to essential information and markets, and facilitating cross-border trade by managing logistics and customer postal processes.

“But at the heart of this transformation, the strategic use of postal data is crucial. By utilising, by digitising and integrating this data, postal authorities can unlock the treasure trove of insight to propel economic innovation and growth.

Sluis highlighted the benefit of standardising open access to non-sensitive postal data, saying it encourages the development of new sales services and ventures.

“Applying data analytics, machine learning, and geospatial analysis to postal data enhances operational efficiency and informs strategic decision-making,” Sluis said.

“Public-private partnership, data monetisation, and investment in infrastructure and technology amplify the benefits of this data.”

He noted, however, that this advancement “hinges on maintaining data integrity and privacy, which is paramount for sustaining customer trust and compliance with data protection laws…

“In essence, the digital transformation journey through the postal network is a testament to how traditional infrastructure can be repurposed to foster a more inclusive, efficient, and responsive government ecosystem.

“It is a strategy that modernises government services, supports small businesses, sparks economic growth, and democratises giving access to more people.

“Access to this technology, which continues with continuous investment in technology, infrastructure, and education, the postal network is said to be a linchpin in the digital era, enabling societies to leap forward into the future where development is truly inclusive and sustainable.

The digital transformation, Sluis concluded, is crucial for the modernisation of government services and improving accessibility, efficiency, security and accountability.

“Integrating the postal network into socio-economic development plans is essential to extend digital service benefits to the wider population, ensuring inclusivity while maintaining a balance between digital and physical government interactions.”

Alexis said TTPost is looking “aggressively” at the company’s ability to provide e-commerce solutions, including e-exports, and to allow for MSMEs to use TTPost’s “physical footprint” to grow their businesses.

“We see the ability of (TTPost), with its huge (physical) footprint, to be able to reach citizens across TT…to provide opportunities for MSMEs to take advantage of that physical network to grow their businesses within their local environment and the opportunity to use that technology to find ways to export,” potentially earning them US and other precious currency.

If businesses use their post services to export, it becomes a potential avenue for foreign exchange to enter the country, he added.

He noted that the TTPost, after all of its years in operation, has accrued vast amounts of data, including its address database, which its customers and service providers can benefit from.

“(It’s not) just about the revenue, but also government services where state enterprises would be able to use information…to improve the level of efficiencies that governments would want to provide to their citizens (among their) SDGs (sustainable development goals).

“So those services are more efficiently provided and provide that level of inclusiveness.”


"Postal services: Courier for governments’ digital transformation"

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