Globally, Digital Transformations have become inevitable for governments and businesses to stay current, connected, competitive, sustain and scale. TRUST in the digital world is of paramount criticality for these transformations to succeed, survive, sustain, and scale. This TRUST shall encompass security, Accountability and legal validity, while delivering excellent user experience.

Governments across the world realized this as inevitable and critical need, and embarked on eID and/or Digital ID programmes. However, the usage of eID/Digital ID to achieve the intended objective of “TRUST in the digital world”, hasn’t been up to the speed and to the desired level of acceleration within the boundaries of individual sovereign countries, leave alone interoperability of TRUST across countries, sub-regions, regions, world, etc. The reasons/hurdles for this slowness are multi-fold.

National Level Challenges/Hurdles

Absence of standards-based eID integration services framework.
Diverse Information Technology (IT) infrastructure and business application environments, thus making the eID integrations too complex.
Ever-Changing technology landscape, integration methodologies, deprecation of technology features provided by IT vendors in their new releases, thus demanding repetition of eID integration efforts.
Silos based, and fragmented approach for enabling eID integrations, and Integration with existing enterprise identity systems.
Absence of collaboration among various stakeholders while they use/enable eID and related tools.
Evolving eID technologies, leaving multiple versions of eID instruments in the market, thus demanding repetition of eID integration efforts by the Government and Businesses.
Increasing channels of citizens services delivery, resulting in mandatory multi-channel (desktop and mobility platforms) support for eID integrations to enable TRUST.
Regional/Global Level

Absence of Interoperability standards between eID systems of multiple cooperating countries (GCC Countries, East African Countries, EU, etc.). Of course there are some initiatives like eIDAS, ECOWAS.
Every country having a mix of ID documents – multiple versions, multiple types, multiple form factors of eIDs, thus making the eID integrations complex, time-consuming, repetitive, and expensive.
Resistance of the countries for collaboration, because of the perceived threat of sharing critical data/credentials of their citizens.
Challenges related to Operational scaling, Security & Privacy, Common infrastructure and digital connectivity, across the region.
Keeping in view the above challenges, the way forward to address these kinds of needs is to build a interoperable standards based “technology platform” that consolidates the effort of integrating eID with discrete/diverse IT systems and technologies, and commoditize it for easy replication across customer segments, across multiple countries, and thereby across regions. This approach will not only reduce/optimize the time & costs involved adopting the usage of eID considerably, but also ensure the interoperability, sustainability and scalability of such usage, thereby enhances the confidence of organizations/governments to adopt the usage of eID faster. This approach/framework will only be successful if the individual countries are not compelled share their citizens’ data/credentials with other countries, thereby protecting the sovereignty of the individual countries.

Therefore, the need of the hour is to create technology powered, Unified, interoperable, multi-stakeholder TRUST Services framework/ecosystem to enable the usage and integration of eID with the Governments and Businesses to enable TRUST, which can scale to multi-country and multi-regions.

Creating “Vision, Strategy and Execution plans” for such an ecosystem for accelerating the process of enabling TRUST in the digital world is not an easy task, but it is not impossible too. The world should think about National & Regional interoperability, leading to global interoperability of TRUST, leveraging eID/Digital ID programmes, while protecting the sovereign autonomy of the individual eID programmes of individual countries. Thereby achieving safe, sustainable, scalable and trusted digital world which in turn will accelerate cooperative development through acceleration of cross boarder and cross region trade and transactions.

From here, a series of my articles will articulate various elements/dimensions of this process of creating such a framework/ecosystem.