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NB: Administrative Law and Administration Practice
Reference:

From computerisation to digital transformation: the relationship between concepts

Churikova Anna Yur'evna

ORCID: 0000-0003-0299-622X

PhD in Law

Associate Professor of the Department of Information Law and Digital Technologies of Saratov State Law Academy

410012, Russia, Saratov region, Saratov, Volskaya str., 1

a_tschurikova@bk.ru
Other publications by this author
 

 

DOI:

10.7256/2306-9945.2023.4.68926

EDN:

EHWIDY

Received:

08-11-2023


Published:

15-11-2023


Abstract: Background: information technologies and systems have become an integral part of society. State and municipal authorities are forced to adapt to the digital reality. One important part of this process is establishing a clear and logical terminological base. However, at present there are no normative definitions of commonly used terms related to the processes of implementation and use of information technologies. Objective: to analyze the concepts of computerization, informatization, automation, digitalization and digital transformation of state and municipal government, to draw a relationship between these concepts and give their definition. Methodology: general analysis, formal logic method, comparative analysis, as well as system-structural method. Results and conclusions: it was concluded that the terms computerization, informatization, automation, digitalization and digital transformation have different meanings and actually reflect various aspects of the process of introduction and dissemination of information and telecommunication technologies into the life of society and the state, while they are closely related to each other and in fact are carried out simultaneously. Based on the analysis of scientific literature and current legislation, a comprehensive categorical and terminological apparatus of processes associated with the introduction and use of information technologies and systems in the activities of state and municipal authorities is proposed. The proposed formulations help establish terminological clarity and certainty and can be used in regulations and further scientific research.


Keywords:

computerisation, informatisation, automation, digitalisation, digital transformation, public administration, municipal administration, legal regulation, local self-government, strategic planning

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

Introduction. The widespread use of digital technologies, which have become an integral part of the life of modern society, has a significant impact on socio-economic, political and other processes, including the organization of state and municipal administration. As noted in the Strategy for the Development of the Information Society of the Russian Federation for 2017-2030[1], digital technologies have become part of modern management systems in all sectors of the economy, in the field of public administration, national defense, state security and law enforcement.

The modern period can be characterized as a digital race in both technical, legal, and scientific directions. The authorities of most states develop and adopt digital development programs, introduce advanced technologies not only in production, but also in the field of public administration, allocate funding for research and technical development. The issues of digitalization and digital transformation in various spheres related to state and municipal administration are the subject of active scientific discussions both in Russia and abroad [1-4].

In this regard, the terms "computerization", "automation", "informatization", "digitalization" and "digital transformation" have become actively used both in everyday life and in educational, scientific literature and regulatory legal acts. However, in the Russian Federation to date there is no normative consolidation of these concepts, and there is also no unified scientific concept for their definition, which complicates law enforcement.

These factors determine the relevance and significance of the scientific analysis of the concepts of computerization, automation, informatization, digitalization and digital transformation of public and municipal administration.

Computerization of state and municipal administration. The term computerization originated quite a long time ago and is used in the scientific community [5, p. 227-228]. However, it has not found a full-fledged legislative consolidation in the Russian Federation. Meanwhile, this term and its definition are very important for practitioners, since the definition of the directions of financing the computerization of state and municipal authorities largely depends on what the legislator will understand by this term.

Professor M.G. Lazar understands computerization as "the process of improving the means of searching and processing information based on the expansion of the introduction of computer technology" [6, pp. 170-171]. The definition given by the professor reflects two important aspects:

1) this process is associated with improvement, that is, changes. However, this definition takes into account only one direction of possible changes – related to the means of searching and processing information. It is worth noting that this does not take into account the entire wide range of modern technical and technological capabilities. For example, information can not only be searched and processed, but also created, including when using generative artificial intelligence [7, pp. 425-427].

2) this process is based on the introduction of computer technology. In general, in the scientific literature, the definition of computerization as a process of computer implementation is quite common [8; 9]. Initially, this formulation was correct, but the development of information technology, the invention of new devices and types of equipment made it obsolete and not applicable in the modern technological world. Currently, quantum technologies are already being actively developed and implemented, the use of which is associated with the use of new technical equipment [10; 11]. Thus, modern hardware can be completely different and computers will be just one of the types of technical equipment.

In addition, it is important to take into account that when it comes to means of working with information, there will always be a hardware and software complex involved. That is, both technical equipment that allows you to carry out the relevant work, and software equipment that allows you to interact with the equipment.

Thus, computerization has already gone beyond the simple supply of computers. Currently, it can be defined as the process of forming technical and software equipment that provides automation of information processes and technologies in various spheres of human activity.

Some scientists consider the process of computerization only as a stage preceding the process of informatization [12, p. 85]. However, it is difficult to agree with this statement, since the constant improvement of technologies causes a corresponding need for constant replacement of the used equipment and software, therefore computerization is not a finished stage, but a continuous process. Although, of course, computerization creates the foundation for all other processes related to the use of digital technologies, including computerization.

In addition, the fact that this process should not be haphazard, purposeless, is fundamental in the definition of computerization. That is, computerization should be aimed at the realization of some specific goal, or goals, otherwise it will be impossible to determine what kind of hardware and software complex we need. Computerization actually acts as the first level, which lays the foundation for the implementation of other processes: automation, informatization, digitalization and digital transformation.

Thus, computerization of state and municipal administration is the process of formation in state and municipal authorities of such a level of technical and software equipment that would correspond to the goals and objectives of public administration, while providing the possibility of its automation, and then digital transformation.

This definition of the term computerization of state and municipal administration not only reflects the current level of technical development, but also lays the foundation for the future. In the modern digital age, technical development is taking place rapidly, equipment is systematically becoming obsolete and ceases to meet the needs of users. The equipment itself, constantly improving, also changes its name, but the proposed definition allows us to take into account this nuance.

Perhaps in the future this term will receive a different designation due to the change in the name of the equipment used, however, at present we believe that there are no sufficient grounds for changing the term itself, since computers can still be attributed to the main type of equipment being implemented.

Fixing the proposed definition at the regulatory level will improve the state policy in the field of computerization of state and municipal authorities.

Automation of state and municipal management.

Automation is closely related to computerization. Automation refers to the process of replacing manual or mechanical operations by performing tasks using computerized or automated systems [13-15]. It involves the transformation of repetitive, predictable and routine tasks into automated procedures. Automation can be implemented using various technologies, such as robotics, sensors or software [16].

The purpose of automation of state and municipal management is to increase the efficiency of the work of state and municipal bodies [14], facilitate interaction with citizens [15] and improve the quality of services provided. This includes automation of budget processes, registration and document processing, resource management, monitoring and data analysis. However, it is important to remember that automation is a tool, not the only solution, and requires proper planning and implementation to achieve positive results.

Thus, automation of state and municipal management can be defined as the use of information technologies and systems for automatic processing, storage and transmission of data, as well as optimization of work processes, solving operational and strategic tasks and improving the efficiency of state and municipal bodies.

Informatization of state and municipal administration.

According to the results of a survey of the population of the Russian Federation on Internet use, which was published on June 13, 2023. According to the All–Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM), 74% of Russians log into the global network every day, while the share of active users — those who spend more than four hours a day on the Internet - was 35% among all Russians. For comparison, their share – in 2018 — 23%, 2019 — 27%, 2020 — 31%, that is, the number of active Internet users is steadily growing. At the same time, 86% of young people under 25 are active Internet users[2]. These indicators indicate a fairly wide spread of digital technologies among the population and the active use of these technologies.

Due to the general availability of information and telecommunication technologies, as well as the processes of computerization and automation, there is a constant increase in the volume of digital data. In addition, the population and business representatives have increasing demands on the public sector. They expect to provide open and easy-to-use access to information, as well as the opportunity to receive state and municipal services in a digital environment using a simple and intuitive interface with minimal personal interaction.

Information becomes the basis for the organization of all types of interaction in modern society, which causes the beginning of informatization, the need for its regulation [17] and the assessment of the impact on state and municipal management [18].

If computerization was associated with technical equipment and the availability of technologies, then knowledge (information) comes first in computerization. At the same time, the process of informatization is aimed at ensuring the possibility of obtaining and using complete, reliable, timely and objective information.

In the Strategy for the Development of the Information Society[3], the key role in building an information society is given to information, the levels of its application and accessibility. According to the provisions of the Strategy, these factors affect the living conditions of the population. At the same time, the implementation of the provisions of the Strategy is aimed at the formation of a full-fledged information space, which is associated with the creation of optimal conditions for information interaction, use and dissemination of information. These conditions are created by the adoption of both socio-economic and scientific and technical measures.

I.I. Pavlenko considers informatization as "as a special universal complex social process" [19]. Indeed, informatization is a complex process, since it covers various aspects of the life of society.

Unfortunately, there is no definition of informatization in the Law of the Russian Federation "On Information, Information Technologies and Information Protection"[4]. In turn, for example, in Article 1 of the Law of the Republic of Belarus "On Information, Informatization and Information Protection", informatization is defined as "an organizational, socio-economic, scientific and technical process that provides conditions for the formation and use of information resources and the implementation of information relations"[5]. In general, this definition reflects the essence of informatization. However, it is worth noting that speaking about the process of informatization of state and municipal administration, we must take into account the goals of its implementation. We believe that the main guideline in determining the informatization of state and municipal administration should be a person, his rights and freedoms, as well as meeting his basic needs related to the need to obtain reliable information.

Thus, informatization of state and municipal administration can be defined as a complex organizational, socio-economic, scientific and technical process of creation by state and municipal authorities on the basis of the formation and use of information resources of such a level of accessibility of information and information interaction that would provide optimal conditions for meeting information needs and realizing the rights and freedoms of the population, organizations, public associations.

Digitalization of state and municipal administration.

Informatization is closely related to digitalization. Despite the active use of the terms "digitalization" and "digital transformation" in regulatory legal acts, their definitions are not given in the legislation of the Russian Federation.

For comparison, the Standard "Digital Transformation. Terms and definitions"[6] (hereinafter referred to as the Standard). Digitalization in this standard means "a new stage of automation and informatization of economic activity and public administration", which is based not just on the accumulation of information, but its active use for forecasting and optimization.

It cannot be said that the definitions of digitalization, digital transformation and digital transformation enshrined in the Standard are ideal, but they are given in a complex and build a conceptual and conceptual apparatus that contributes to the formation of an understanding among the population and officials of state and municipal bodies of the ongoing processes related to digital technologies. In addition, the adoption of such standards helps to create a consistent regulatory framework at the federal, regional and municipal levels, as well as to build a uniform law enforcement practice.

In the domestic and foreign scientific literature, digitalization is usually defined as the use of digital technologies and data to achieve any positive goals [20; 21]. At the same time, digitalization covers not only the use of a wide range of existing technologies, but also the introduction of new technological solutions into various spheres. Digitalization is distinguished from computerization by the fact that it is not a process of providing technical and software equipment (computerization), but the process of introducing and using existing and new technologies.

Thus, digitalization of public and municipal administration can be defined as the use of existing and the introduction of new information and telecommunication technologies in order to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of public and municipal administration.

Digital transformation of public and municipal administration.

The term "digital transformation" has been actively used in regulatory legal acts of the Russian Federation since 2017 (for example, the order of the Prosecutor General dated 14.09.2017 No. 627[7]).

Currently, one of the basic acts on the digital transformation of state and municipal administration is the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 2998-r dated October 22, 2021[8].

I. Mergel, N. Edelmann and N. Haug point out that the empirically based definition of digital transformation focuses on the holistic process of changing not only the results of work, but also the culture itself [22]. At the same time, digital transformation goes beyond automation, informatization and digitalization, covering the entire organization of activities, as well as changing the nature of relationships with the population, bureaucratic and organizational culture [23].

Unlike digitalization, digital transformation covers a wider range of changes associated with the use of digital technologies, as it is focused on a comprehensive, strategic transformation of processes in order to adapt to changing conditions and use digital opportunities to create new values and achieve competitive advantage.

Thus, digital transformation is a complex process of changing organizations, industries and society as a whole, associated with the transformation of the management system and interaction in order to adapt to changing conditions, based on the use of existing and the introduction of new digital technologies.

The digital transformation of public and municipal administration includes the introduction and use of various digital solutions, such as electronic government, electronic document management, electronic services, information systems and databases, data analytics, the development of new approaches to management and interaction using digital tools and platforms. It also involves updating infrastructure, training personnel, and developing a strategy and policy in the field of digital development.

Therefore, the digital transformation of state and municipal administration is a process of comprehensive transformation of state and municipal authorities, taking place using digital technologies and innovations, aimed at improving the efficiency, quality and accessibility of state and municipal services, optimizing interaction with citizens and businesses, improving decision–making processes and ensuring transparency in the activities of state and municipal authorities. management.

Conclusions. Thus, the terms computerization, informatization, automation, digitalization and digital transformation have different meanings and actually reflect different aspects of the process of introduction, dissemination and use of information and telecommunication technologies. These terms reflect processes that are not successive stages. Only with the simultaneous and full-fledged implementation of these processes is it possible to form an integral structure that allows systematically adapting state and municipal bodies to the changes taking place.

As long as the development of technologies takes place, these processes cannot be completed. However, we can control the achievement of the levels of computerization, automation, informatization, digitalization and digital transformation. In the future, with the development of new technologies, the emergence of new names (for example, related to the development of quantum technologies), the names of these processes may change (for example, instead of digital transformation there will be a quantum transformation), but this name change will not affect their essence, which is reflected in the definitions proposed in this article.

The need to define the categories considered is due to the influence of the conceptual and conceptual apparatus on the legal regulation of processes related to the introduction of information technologies and systems and their use in state and municipal administration.

These processes are carried out at the same time and they should not take place haphazardly. Currently, there are many strategies, plans, programs and other acts regulating informatization, digitalization and digital transformation, but the lack of a single conceptual and conceptual apparatus negatively affects their content.

In this regard, we believe it is possible to use the positive example of the Republic of Belarus on the development and adoption of a single national standard containing terms and definitions related to the introduction and use of information, including digital, technologies and systems. The definitions proposed in this article can be used as a basis for the development of this standard.

[1] Decree of the President of the Russian Federation dated 09.05.2017 No. 203 "On the Strategy for the development of the information society in the Russian Federation for 2017-2030" [Electronic resource]. URL: http://www.consultant.ru/document/cons_doc_LAW_216363 / (accessed 25.08.2023)

[2] Digital Detox — 2023: about using the Internet and taking a break from it. The official website of VTsIOM of Russia. URL: https://wciom.ru/analytical-reviews/analiticheskii-obzor/cifrovoi-detoks-2023-o-polzovanii-internetom-i-otdykhe-ot-nego

[3] Decree of the President of the Russian Federation dated 09.05.2017 No. 203 "On the Strategy for the development of the information society in the Russian Federation for 2017-2030" [Electronic resource]. URL: http://www.consultant.ru/document/cons_doc_LAW_216363 / (accessed 25.08.2023)

[4] Federal Law No. 149-FZ of 27.07.2006 (as amended on 31.07.2023) "On Information, Information Technologies and Information Protection" (with amendments and additions, intro. effective from 01.10.2023) // SPS ConsultantPlus. URL: https://www.consultant.ru/document/cons_doc_LAW_61798 / (accessed: 10/28/2023)

[5] Law of the Republic of Belarus No. 455-Z of November 10, 2008 "On Information, informatization and information Protection" (as amended. Law of the Republic of Belarus No. 209-Z of October 10, 2022) // National Legal Internet Portal of the Republic of Belarus. URL: https://pravo.by/document/?guid=3871&p0=h10800455 (accessed: 10/28/2023)

[6] STB 2583-2020 Digital transformation. Terms and definitions. Approved and put into effect from 01.03.2021 by Resolution of the State Committee for Standardization of the Republic of Belarus No. 95 dated 08.12.2020. URL: http://nmo.basnet.by/documents/normative/standarts.php (accessed: 10/28/2023)

[7] On approval of the Concept of digital transformation of bodies and organizations of the Prosecutor's Office until 2025 (together with the "Concept of digital transformation of bodies and organizations of the Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation until 2025"): Order of the Prosecutor General's Office of Russia dated 14.09.2017 No. 627 (ed. dated 20.07.2023) // Laws, codes and regulatory legal acts in the Russian Federation. URL: https://legalacts.ru/doc/prikaz-genprokuratury-rossii-ot-14092017-n-627-ob-utverzhdenii / (last accessed: 25.09.2023)

[8] Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 2998-r dated 10/22/2021 "On approval of the strategic direction in the field of digital transformation of public administration" // Official Publication of Legal Acts. URL: http://publication.pravo.gov.ru/Document/View/0001202110260034 (accessed: 10/21/2023)

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First Peer Review

Peer reviewers' evaluations remain confidential and are not disclosed to the public. Only external reviews, authorized for publication by the article's author(s), are made public. Typically, these final reviews are conducted after the manuscript's revision. Adhering to our double-blind review policy, the reviewer's identity is kept confidential.
The list of publisher reviewers can be found here.

The subject of the study. In the peer-reviewed article "From computerization to digital transformation: the relationship of concepts", the subject of research is the legal terms "computerization", "automation", "informatization", "digitalization" and "digital transformation", which are currently widely used in legislation, law enforcement practice and doctrine, but have not received an official clarifications. Research methodology. When writing the article, such methods were used as: logical, historical, theoretical and predictive, formal legal, system-structural, comparative law and legal modeling. The methodological apparatus consists of the following dialectical techniques and methods of scientific cognition: analysis, abstraction, induction, deduction, hypothesis, analogy, synthesis, typology, classification, systematization and generalization. The use of modern methods made it possible to study established approaches, views on the subject of research, to develop an author's position and to argue it. The relevance of research. The global digitalization of all spheres of human activity requires legislation and law enforcement to update the legal regulation of public relations in new conditions. As the author of the reviewed article rightly noted, "the modern period can be characterized as a digital race in both technical, legal, and scientific directions. The authorities of most states develop and adopt digital development programs, introduce advanced technologies not only in production, but also in the field of public administration, allocate funding for research and technical development." These circumstances indicate the relevance of doctrinal developments on this topic in order to improve legislation and practice of its application. Scientific novelty. Without questioning the importance of previous scientific research, which served as the theoretical basis for this work, nevertheless, it can be noted that this article for the first time formulated noteworthy provisions, for example: "... the terms computerization, informatization, automation, digitalization and digital transformation have different meanings and actually reflect different aspects of the process of implementation, dissemination and the use of information and telecommunication technologies. These terms reflect processes that are not successive stages. Only with the simultaneous and full-fledged implementation of these processes is it possible to form an integrated structure that allows systematic adaptation of state and municipal bodies to the changes taking place." Based on the results of writing the article, the author has made a number of theoretical conclusions and suggestions, which indicates not only the importance of this study for legal science, but also determines its practical significance. Style, structure, content. The article is written in a scientific style, special terminology is used (although it is not always correct, for example, "normative legal acts"). In general, the material is presented consistently and clearly. The article is structured. Although, perhaps, the introduction to the article needs to be finalized, since it does not quite meet the requirements for this part of the scientific article. In addition, in conclusion, it would be necessary to formulate the main results that the author achieved during the research. The topic has been revealed. The content of the article corresponds to its title. Bibliography. The author has used a sufficient number of doctrinal sources. References to sources are designed in accordance with the requirements of the bibliographic GOST. Appeal to opponents. A scientific discussion is presented on certain issues of the stated topic, and appeals to opponents are correct. All borrowings are decorated with links to the author and the source of the publication. Conclusions, the interest of the readership. The article "From computerization to digital transformation: the relationship of concepts" is recommended for publication. The comments are advisory in nature. The article corresponds to the topic of the journal "Administrative Law and Practice of Administration". The article is written on an urgent topic, has practical significance and is characterized by scientific novelty. This article may be of interest to a wide readership, primarily specialists in the field of administrative law and information law, and will also be useful for teachers and students of law schools and faculties.

Second Peer Review

Peer reviewers' evaluations remain confidential and are not disclosed to the public. Only external reviews, authorized for publication by the article's author(s), are made public. Typically, these final reviews are conducted after the manuscript's revision. Adhering to our double-blind review policy, the reviewer's identity is kept confidential.
The list of publisher reviewers can be found here.

The article "From computerization to digital transformation: the relationship of concepts" is submitted for review for publication in the journal "NB: Administrative Law and Administrative Practice". The title of the article corresponds to the passport of the scientific specialty 5.1.2 – Public Law (state law) sciences, paragraph 25 "Public law regulation in the field of information and information (digital) technologies, archiving and information protection" and paragraph 26 "Legal regulation of the use of information (digital) technologies in the exercise of public authority and in public management". At the same time, the work complies with the journal's policy of publishing articles devoted to a comprehensive study of topical issues of the science of administrative and municipal law. The author has designated the subject of the article in the form of interrelated groups of relations and processes taking place in modern society, namely, the study of the problems of: computerization of state and municipal management; automation of state and municipal management; digitalization of public administration; digital transformation of state and municipal management. The specified subject of research has been studied in the article, the author has drawn appropriate conclusions and made proposals to improve the legislation of the Russian Federation in the desired area. The author justified the relevance of the research by the need of society for the dissemination and implementation of digital technologies in all spheres of society. The paper provides fairly convincing official statistical indicators demonstrating such a need. The relevance of the study is justified by the absence in the domestic legislation of certain key standardized categories that allow to achieve an understanding of the essence of digital transformation in public authorities and local self-government. To solve these urgent tasks, the author has studied the regulatory framework for the implementation of the strategic program of the information society in the Russian Federation, the experience of the Republic of Belarus is presented and relevant proposals are formulated. The research methodology is based on general scientific and special methods of legal research. The private scientific method of comparative law is widely used. The author compares the normative legal acts of the two countries in order to find the optimal way to solve the urgent tasks. The scientific novelty of the author's research is reflected in the conclusions made regarding the subject of the study, as well as proposals for the adoption of a normative legal act that unifies the conceptual apparatus in the field of digitalization of public relations. The author's article is correctly structured, logically consistent and presented in scientific language. The content of the work fully reflects the designated topic and corresponds to the tasks set and the subject of research. The bibliographic list includes 23 scientific publications, including 9 foreign scientific articles. All the sources used correspond to current modern research and correspond to the cipher of the scientific specialty. Dated 2015-2023. In general, the bibliographic list is exhaustive. The reviewer's conclusion: the article "From computerization to digital transformation: the relationship of concepts" is recommended for publication in the journal "NB: Administrative Law and Practice of Administration".
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