You are on page 1of 72

Electronic Government: A Brief Introduction

What is E-Government?
In a broad sense, electronic government is a collective term for all political or administrative structures and processes of government in which electronic information and communication technologies are employed.

Source: trollbarna.de

E-government before it came to be called that way: Telephone set in the historical community office of Reed, Norway

What is E-Government?
More specifically, today, E-government denotes the governments use of information and communication technologies, particularly web-based applications, to support responsive and cost-effective government by facilitating administrative and managerial functions, providing citizens and stakeholders with convenient access to government information and services, facilitating interaction and transactions with stakeholders, and providing better opportunities to participate in democratic institutions and processes.

What is E-Government?
Example The website HiKorea (hikorea.go.kr ) specifically addresses the needs and interests of foreigners

Network of Relationships
Electronic Government deals with processes within the public sector as well as between public sector and its stakeholders (citizens, business, and private sector non-profit/non-government organisations):
Individual Public Business citizens (C) sector (G) (B) Individual (C) citizens (C) Public (G) sector (G) Business (B) (B) NPOs, (N) NGOs (N) (C) (C) (C) (G) (C) (B) (C) (N) (G) (C) (G) (G) (G) (B) (G) (N) NPOs, NGOs (N) (N) (N) (N) (N) E-government spheres of action

(B) (C) (B) (G) (B) (B) (B) (N)

Basic Dimensions

Source: Ari-Veikko Annttiroiko

Basic Functional Model

Source: Ari-Veikko Annttiroiko

Value Creation Potential

Source: OECD e-Government Project, Proposed Outline for Assessing e-Government Benefits

Public Services
Using technology may allow decentralized distribution of public services, thus reducing the role of bureaucracy in the process. This lowers the extent of prevailing corruption and improves customer satisfaction owing to the more efficient delivery. It also ensures more equity among customers as the human element gets reduced.
Source: Oleg Petrov/World Bank

Transparency
Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) enables the sharing of knowledge on political process and on administrative procedures with citizens leading to a higher level of transparency in decision making. This, combined with more and faster information dissemination and more interactive procedures, leads to more democracy in governance thus rendering more space for civil society.

In South Korea, the web-based participatory budgeting system DBAS (Digital Budget & Accounting System) enables citizens to participate in the entire budgeting cycle from budget preparation to audit.
Source: openspending.org

The Bhoomi project in Karnataka: India keeps land records yielding benefits to farmers, financial institutions and public officials

Mutation requests to alter land records following sale or inheritance can now be recorded and monitored online.

Services for Business

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs in India has made the process of registering a new company completely online. New entrepreneurs do not need to travel to location of registering offices, which are very few in number and the process time has been reduced a lot. The process which took close to a month now can be completed within a week. Submission of various corporate tax forms can also be made through the website thus reducing the transaction costs and complexity of the process.

Dialogue with Stakeholders


Many members of parliament may have websites of their own, and some of use weblogs allowing readers to post comments and suggestions. Heres an example by Tom Watson, MP for West Bromwich East, and deputy chairman of the UK Labour party

Dialogue with Stakeholders


Watson is also known to be an active user of Twitter, an online social networking service and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, known as "tweets.

Evolution of E-Government

Framework
The structure of the framework must include three components: Organization, Infrastructure & Guidelines

By a portal, we mean a single point of access to a variety of information and tools


Source: http://intranet-pioneer.com/2011/07/27/4-factors-critical-to-good-governance-in-a-digital-workplace/

Some of the Prerequisites


Infrastructure Every enterprise, government department and home must hold electronic devices such as computers or mobile handsets. A reliable network is also needed to connect these devices in order to exchange information. Enabling Software Such software is required which is compatible with the diverse hardware platforms. Software must support the front-end browsers, back-end databases and the middle-tier business logic. Digitization Perhaps the most difficult of all the prerequisites in terms of fulfilling them. All the existing data along with the new ones created in day-to-day proceedings needs to be digitized.

Use of VSAT in Kenya


Kenya is using VSAT (Very Small Aperture Satellite Terminal) technology to establish public Internet access points at post offices, a branch of government that is normally available even in remote areas of the developing world. Such access points, managed by people who speak the local languages, may become ad hoc training centres for ICT, increasing e-Literacy and opening access to the full range of online services going well beyond e-Government
Source: infoDev/World Bank, 2009: e-Government Primer, Washington, DC; infoDev/World Bank

A small local NGO called ALIN (arid lands information network) has been connecting rural communities via community knowledge centers (sort of rural cybercafes cum libraries / training centers) running solar powered VSAT dishes.

Source: whiteafrican.com

Development Framework for eGovernment Projects

Source: Digital Government Development; Richard Knepper & Yu-Che Chen

Key Factors of Success in EGovernment Projects

Measuring Success for eGovernment Projects


It is necessary to monitor and evaluate e-government to understand demand, assess the benefits to users of alternative proposals and evaluate the effectiveness of proposals in meeting their objectives. Evaluation is needed - to argue the case for new projects and expenditures, - to justify continuing with initiatives, - to allocate (additional) IT funds, - to assess progress towards programme goals and - to understand impacts. Additionally, monitoring and evaluation can assist with programme consolidation and selection of standards.

Benchmarking Public Value

Measuring Service Quality


1. Efficiency It reflects the simplicity degree of the egovernment website both in use and in access. As one of the main objectives of e-government is to provide a fast and convenient access of government information and services, the efficiency dimension will play a substantial role in achieving this objective. 2. System Availability - the system availability refers to the correct technical functionality of the e-government website. It ensures about availability of the e-government site to the citizen all times leading e-government project to achieve its objective to make services available to the citizens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Measuring Service Quality


3. Privacy - Privacy dimension refers to the level of security and protection of citizens personal information provided by the egovernment website. - E-governments users like to ensure that the e-government that any personal information retrieved or submitted through the site will not be disclosed. - Items in this dimension will be used to measure the ability of the e- government website to provide a secure access to all e-government web applications and the ability of the egovernment website to provide protection of personal information to all citizens.

Measuring Service Quality


4. Fulfilment This refers to the degree to which a promised service provided by an e-government website is going to perform by the promised time, such as e-mailing or calling the citizens, as well as providing the confidence of delivering the right service, and correct charges of taxes. 5. Interactivity It indicates the interaction degree of the egovernment website to the citizens and keeping them on touch. This dimension will keep the citizen to understand and follow the procedures that have been done on their required services. Furthermore, this dimension will keep the citizen on touch and advise them to do further action.

Measuring Service Quality


6. Personalization It refers to the degree to which an egovernment website provides a variety of services to address a specific individual citizens needs such as providing the choice of languages rather than the language officially used in the country.

7. Format - the format dimension refers to what extent the website design is visually appealing. A good website design can influence the user perceptions of e-service quality in online environment. Because the website format will act as the interface between citizens and the e-government organizations, attractive website design is likely to affect the user satisfaction and respectively enhance the user trust.

Measuring Service Quality


8. Information It concerns the desirable topicality, and ease of understanding information provided by an e-government website. In online environment, information is a very important factor for users in making their decisions. Hence, users need accurate, current and understandable information in order to examine their intention. 9. Responsiveness It refers to the degree to which the egovernment websites are promptly effective to handling the problem and responding to citizens. Online user expects the organization to punctually respond to their inquiries. Immediate response will assist e-government users to make decisions faster, answers their questions and resolves their problems.

Measuring Service Quality


10. Contact This refers to the availability of the e-government website in offering assistance to the citizen by means of telephone or online representatives. It is vital for the egovernment organizations to provide the information in their website about how the citizens can contact them to solve accrual problem or to answer some enquires. 11. Process Time - It refers to the ability of the e-government website to deliver the requested service in a reasonable response time. Poor process time could exasperate a user, and give him her a negative feedback about the website. Therefore, it is very important for e-government website to minimize the process time to encourage the user to use their online service.

Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) for e-Government Projects


In order to evaluate their projects, governments need to determine the necessary efforts and their expected impact. The efforts need to be shaped as costs associated with preparing the infrastructure for the project,

implementing it, and then


running and administering the project.

Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) for e-Government Projects


On the other hand, the expected impact has two components:

- The benefits that are foreseen to arise from the successful implementation of the project, and
- the risks associated with achieving these benefits.

Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) for e-Government Projects


There are three major categories of costs:

Internal investments to move to computerized databases and information management (prerequisite to a successful digital delivery of government services); Costs of building an e-government portal (Implementation costs);
Portal administration and maintenance costs (Operational costs).

Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) for e-Government Projects


Internal investment needs for shifting from paper-based services to a computerized office include : hardware: servers and workstations, peripherals, networking and communication infrastructure. software: General computer operation and communications software, information sharing and data management software along with Task specific software: database management, ERP, CRM etc. data digitization transferring data from paper files to computer databases can be a lengthy and costly process and definitely contributes to the cost of the project

Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) for e-Government Projects


Personnel: - Training most employees will have to acquire computer operation skills; as new departments are created some will have to transfer and learn new processes and skills - Recruiting in many cases, the existing personnel is not ready to adapt to the changes, new people will have to be recruited - Lay-off/early retirement some of the old employees, especially those performing routine tasks, will have to be laid off: compensations offered on this occasion could be costly. - Selective pay rises may be required in order to motivate people to accept the changes and then to retain them once they acquire new skills.

Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) for e-Government Projects


Costs of building the e-government portal represent one-time capital investments and they are usually high. They include the following : Hardware and software to support the website: servers, server operating software, transmission/bandwidth Design and creation of website: even if it is outsourced, this process still requires some staff assigned to coordinate development; staff members should also be involved in the testing of the website. All these may lead to increases in staffing and/or wages.

Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) for e-Government Projects


Data digitization/migration and integration between offline and on-line systems even if all agencies have transferred their information into computerized databases, a portal will require many of these databases to work together.

Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) for e-Government Projects


Portal administration and maintenance costs includes :

Maintenance and support Depending on the complexity of the website, several technical employees will have to provide maintenance and support for the hardware and software used. If these functions are outsourced, their added costs should be accounted for in the analysis and Service Levels Agreements should be included in the contracts.
Updating website users expect a much higher rate of updating than users of traditional service delivery methods. This will require several people to work full-time on updating, while agencies involved need to stay committed to providing the necessary updates in a timely fashion.

Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) for e-Government Projects


Modernizing and upgrades since the pace of progress in the IT and Internet world is fast and companies upgrade their websites every few years, users will have similar expectations from government portals. Governments will need to add bandwidth, new features, and faster processing capabilities on a yearly basis. Security issues are more serious in developing countries than in developed ones, because of the higher rate of hacker activity. Governments will need to pay special attention to increase the security features of their websites.

Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) for e-Government Projects


Marketing and advertising It is essential for the government to launch marketing and advertising campaigns in order to let the information about the e-government projects disseminate among the people. Greater the spread of information, greater will be the chances of success for the project.

Education of the population on using the Internet and the new government websites: in this respect there are high costs of reaching out to the population. Some of the education will ultimately be performed by non-profits and the private sector, but the costs of this education should still be accounted for.

Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) for e-Government Projects


Different benefits are incurred by different agents, some of which are listed below : Citizens/customers (time gains, satisfaction with service, increased control over the operations);

The agency and its employees (improved work efficiency, process automation, less complaints, personnel reduction);

Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) for e-Government Projects


Benefits to the governmental agency :

Reduced delivery costs for information and services. As ebusiness has proven it before the costs of online delivery are lower than those of traditional channels. In fact some of the most dramatic reductions in transaction costs are found in the differences between web-based and traditional methods of bill payment and document submission.
Shorten delivery times automation of the filing and verification processes allows the elimination of routine tasks, thus significantly shortening the time spent per form.

Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) for e-Government Projects


Reduced personnel - the number of people who apply in person will decrease by the number of people who apply online. If less people are served in person, then less employees will be needed to serve them. This will allow personnel reductions and thus savings on the wages.

Development of new services, integration, and automation - As governmental agencies cooperate to build a common web portal, they will be able to integrate their services in one comprehensive structure. This will allow them to link services as well as data from different forms, and automate some approval processes based on approval of other applications, or cumulative data.

Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) for e-Government Projects


Benefits to the citizen/customer :

More self-service the citizen escapes the bureaucratic loop, which in many cases makes it almost impossible to get the desired services, especially in the case of approvals. The citizen gains more control as well as a better view and understanding of governmental services. This leads to a significant decrease in time spent on applying for the desired services, and in the frustration associated with this process. Better and more information at a much cheaper rate.
Integrated services, avoiding repetition of processes which will lead to saving of costs.

Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) for e-Government Projects


A risk assessment should also be performed, analysing all types of risks associated with such e-government projects :

Political risk - It is often the case in public administration that sound projects do not get implemented due to lack of political support. - In many cases, the agencies that need to participate in the building of a portal do not cooperate. - In other cases, even for one-agency projects, the budget for that agencys IT spending may be reduced unexpectedly. - Another aspect of this risk lies in the change of government after elections. The new government may change many policies and may suspend many e-government projects.

Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) for e-Government Projects


Organizational risk - Even if there is political support for the project, work-process changes within the agency, retraining and re-staffing programs pose serious challenges on employees. In many cases of transformation within the public sector, employees have resisted the changes and have significantly delayed the implementation. The risk increases significantly as the use of technology threatens them to loose their jobs. User risk - Users may not embrace the new delivery method, and this can lead to very low adoption rates.

Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) for e-Government Projects


Technological risk - As the Web is a relatively new technology in use and other new standards/protocols are constantly developed, the Internet changes its face and, even more, its platforms. Government, as well as business, websites built 3-4 years ago are completely outdated and unattractive today.

Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) for e-Government Projects


Once identification and quantification of the costs, benefits and risks discussed above is done, the analysis can be done using the following methods : Net Present Value (NPV)

Pay Back Period (PB)


Internal Rate of Return (IRR) Discounted Pay Back Period (DPB)

The financial feasibility of the project can be validated by using the decision criteria of the method used.

Factors Contributing to Success


1. Knowing Stakeholders Expectations E-government is above all intended for businesses and customers as the principal beneficiaries. Their expectations and claims must be examined as well as the possible advantages that the e-government project will bring to them. There should be consulting procedures in order to know the needs of these stakeholders. They should be involved in the procedure right from the initiation of the planning process. And their views should be kept in regard throughout the process.

Factors Contributing to Success


2. Effective Design An incremental/piloting approach with feasible objectives and quick, scalable outcomes should be used. This allows the agencies to analyse the effectiveness of their project implementation in real time environment, thus giving them the opportunity to adjust the policies and implementation plans accordingly. Participatory involvement of all stakeholders is a key in designing the projects. These factors will help the designs to meet real user needs and match real user contexts.

Factors Contributing to Success


3. Required Competencies

Presence of the necessary skills and knowledge, especially within government itself is a mandatory requirement. Implementation of the project needs both management and IT skills along with knowledge.
If such skills are not available with the government, they should first be arranged either through training of personnel or through outsourcing different agendas to private businesses.

Factors Contributing to Success


4. Effective Change Management
Shifting from normal way of doing things to electronic way requires large amount of changes to be made in a very quick time. Strong leadership is required for this purpose. A skilful project champion (leader with experience) will be helpful in implementing these changes. Incentives should be identified and used properly to create commitment to and ownership of e-government project. And as already stated, stakeholder involvement is essential at every step, especially during abrupt changes in order to build support and minimize resistance.

Factors Contributing to Success


5. Effective Project Management Project management is a wide concept and includes a lot of agendas. It requires all leaders and employees involved to understand the objectives of the project with clarity. Some of the agendas which make project management effective are: Assigning of clear responsibilities Good planning and consideration of risk Good monitoring and control Good organisation of resources

Well-managed partnerships between public / public-private agencies

Factors Contributing to Success


6. Overall Vision & Strategy Strategies need to be developed in accordance with the long term vision of the government objectives. Overall vision and master plan for good governance and for e-government needs to be in place, identifying 'where we want to get to. Information and Communication technologies are to be seen as the means, rather then an end in itself. Hence, they ought to be integrated with broader objectives. Many governments have misinterpreted ICTs as the solution to the problems instead of considering them to be a means to the solution. Technology in itself cannot solve problems until and unless it is used like a tool to achieve the desired objective.

Factors Contributing to Success


7. External Pressure This can be a crucial factor especially in the democratic world. Drive and pressure for reform from outside government, e.g. citizens of the nation, groups of people being affected by the particular circumstances etc. lead to the development of new e-government projects which would not have come into place otherwise.

Factors Contributing to Success


8. Internal Political Desire Along with external pressure, the government can also be pressured by its own employees. Internal pressure can be as powerful and dictating as its external counterpart. Drive from key government officials for reform may be due to intentions like doing good work in the society, fulfilling their career goals, personal fame, . Along with this, the government can also be sometimes forced to take new steps based on their goals. Such situations may arise where the agendas of the government goals may require e-government projects for fulfilment.

Factors Contributing to Success


9. Dominance of Politics/Self Interest

The change agents like IT companies or skilled employees may force the government to take the project forward motivated by self interest. Some of the high level bureaucrats and ministers who are in politically dominant situation may find some self interest in the project and hence may take initiative to force the government into starting the project.

Factors Contributing to Success


10. Cost/Funding There is a need to investigate public funding of infrastructure and the options for joint ventures with private operators as the initial investment in most cases would be high. The analysis for decision on investment should include predictions and target values for economic measures of success, e.g. return on investment (ROI). Political factors and audit/regulatory conditions should also be taken into consideration. The ability to have a single audit trail of transactions and procedural benchmarking would be vital. Realisation of cost reductions from long term contracts with telecommunications companies and application vendors will be helpful.

Factors Contributing to Success


11. Business Re-engineering

Centralised authority and political support over potentially fragmented/rival channels is required.
A cohesive legal and regulatory environment will facilitate E-government operations along with uniform interface for services and multi jurisdictional service delivery. Technology portability from older systems to e-government interfaces needs to be put in place.

Factors Contributing to Success


12. Education
includes communication of IT literacy. will be greatly facilitated if a standard operating environment, regardless of device or interface, is in place has to deal with the re-definition of governments products and services resulting from the project.

should be targeted at developing e-government skill sets within agencies or departments.

Content should 7/24 access for all target groups.

Factors Contributing to Success


13. Acceptance Seamless service by the appropriate agency or department via uniform electronic interface would help in the acceptance of change among stakeholders. Factors that would encourage acceptance include:

Customer Relation Management backend for e-projects. Process participation by citizens in e-governments evolution. Internal e-government relationship management between agencies and departments. Regular public review and communication of egovernment initiatives.

Factors Contributing to Success


14. Access The following facilities should be made available : Key infrastructure to provide internet connections to all constituents. This is an issue especially in the developing countries. Interface adaptations for community stakeholders with special needs or disabilities. The use of provider contracts to facilitate initial support for specific socio-economic groups. Consistent user interface regardless of location and usage pattern.

Factors Contributing to Success


15. Technological Neutrality The computer systems of users tend to be reasonably configured, given the technological progress and the products available on the market. Citizens or businesses should not have to adapt them in order to use e-government applications. In this context the public authorities have to make sure that the systems are interoperable so that the initiatives can be easily integrated in the existing computer systems.

Citizens must not be deprived from e-government services if, for example, they dont possess the latest browser version or that they use a less known operating system.

Factors Contributing to Success


16. Reinforcement of confidence This factor has several aspects: Security In order to ensure security the judicial and technical aspects ought to be indissolubly connected. It is desirable that certain technical processes be subject to legislative provisions. Moreover, security cannot be efficiently guaranteed without elaborating procedures to supervise compliance with the relevant regulations.

Factors Contributing to Success


16. Reinforcement of confidence (continued)
Safeguarding of Personal Privacy Safeguarding personal privacy should be the fundamental principle of the legislation. Personal data should be subject to strict regulations. Problems related to personal privacy notably concern - the exchange of data between departments, - the establishment of a unique access point, or - the assignment of a unique user identification. In this respect it is necessary to analyse the risks and to develop ad hoc procedures.

Factors Contributing to Success


16. Reinforcement of confidence (continued)
Good practice in the relations between departments and citizens or businesses Good practice notably regards the management of communication between the departments as well as various procedures to be implemented. In order to work them out the competent authorities can follow the example of successful practices developed in other sectors or states.

Factors Responsible for Failure


Various occurrences may constrain proper and smooth implementation of ICT projects in government. In this field, we can distinguish between

- barriers,
- inhibitors, and - complications.

Factors Responsible for Failure


Barriers Barriers can be considered as those occurrences that hinder ICT implementation. They may relate to

Infrastructure
finance, data systems and (lack of) compatibility, skilled personnel, leadership styles, culture and bureaucracy, or

attitudes

Factors Responsible for Failure


Inhibitors do not necessarily prevent the implementation of ICT projects,

but can effectively restrict advancement and/or sustainability. Some of these factors are : user needs technology co-ordination ICT policy Cultural gap between ICT enthusiasts and ICT sceptics

Factors Responsible for Failure


Further factors that may put ICT projects at risk include Lack of Internal drivers Pressures coming only from IT vendors, with no internal ownership or understanding of e-government Lack of Vision and Strategy No long term view, no guidance, and no obvious linkage between ends and means. Such as situaton may be caused by ever shifting senior staff or ever changing policy and political environment. Poor project management Dispersed responsibilities due to multiple ownership of project, absence of controls and ineffective procurement.

Factors Responsible for Failure


Poor Change Management Lack of support from senior officials and lack of stakeholder involvement.
Dominance of politics and self interest Focus of key players on personal needs and goals, often related to 'playing politics', with symptoms like infighting, resistance where loss of power is feared, 'me too' copying of e-government solutions for image purposes, obsession with electoral impacts and short-term reputation, and corruption. Lack of necessary competencies Lack of IT knowledge and skills among developers, officials and users/operators; lack of local knowledge among developers

Factors Responsible for Failure


Poor/Unrealistic Design - caused particularly by lack of inputs from key local stakeholders - leads to designs that are over-technical, over-ambitious, or mismatched to local environment (culture, values) and needs; - occurs particularly where foreign donors, firms and consultants are involved. - may also be due to lack of piloting, or lack of fit to organisational structure. Inadequate Technological Infrastructure - Lack of sufficient computers or networks.

Factors Responsible for Failure


Technological Incompatibilities

- Inability of computerised systems to interchange data.


Mismatch - between the current and future systems - Between developed and under-developed countries and lack of comprehensive policy for overcoming that gap.