Leveraging Technology to Support Business Registration Reform (In Practice Note)

Authors: John Wille, Karim O. Belayachi, Numa De Magalhaes and Frederic Meunier
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Company registrars are deploying information and communications technology (ICT) applications to reduce the time and effort required for new businesses to register, improve regulatory oversight by government, and facilitate access to company information. A recent survey conducted by the Doing Business and investment climate teams of the World Bank Group examines the experience of 34 company registrars in implementing new or upgraded technology solutions. This note discusses the survey’s key findings, identifies several factors influencing the registrars’ approaches, and summarizes key lessons in choosing and implementing ICT solutions.

Main Findings

  • Complete the legal and business process reforms before automation—to fully realize the potential benefits of technology.
  • Critically assess the agency’s ICT capacity, both staff and infrastructure—if internal capacity is inadequate, identify hosting alternatives within government or the private sector.
  • Fully document the business and functionality requirements before procuring a technology solution—this will also inform decisions concerning packaged versus custom-developed software.
  • Identify and build data linkages with other government agencies—both to simplify the overall business entry process and ensure company data is fully leveraged to improve regulatory oversight.
  • Leverage the technology platform to produce new revenue streams—including information products for financial institutions, credit bureaus, and other firms seeking company data.
  • Address change management and communications in the implementation plan—to ensure all stakeholders are fully invested in the new solution.