E-Government - The Emerging Paradigm



E-government, public services, Government Enterprise Transformation, GET, e-citizen, Wireless technology

E-government is more than just offering public services over the Internet. It is about making transition from the industrial society to the emerging information society. The use of IT can significantly enhance a government's dealings with its citizens, businesses as well as its employees. The article explains in detail what e-government is and discusses about the strategies for achieving government enterprise transformation. It also discusses the technological aspects e-governments must address and the key issues faced by them.

The Internet has brought in a fundamental change in our personal and professional lives. We are in the midst of an information and communications technologies revolution. Now, Internet is radically changing the way governments operate across the globe. The new millennium had brought forward unprecedented opportunities for innovative, result-oriented government sector.

E-government refers to the use of IT to deliver public services and information in a more convenient, citizen-centric, cost-effective, and manner. The past decade witnessed many government departments all over the world embrace the digital revolution. E-government is a way for governments to use the new technologies to provide citizens and businesses with more convenient access to government information and services, to improve the quality of their services and provide greater opportunities to participate in the democratic processes. However, e-government is more than just offering government services over the Internet. It involves a significant organizational change, a change that can bring about Government Enterprise Transformation (GET).

GET involves reorganizing and redeploying of a government to meet customer demands in the most effective and efficient manner. It requires significant changes in the government's business processes, human resources management and technology.

Government portals can significantly help in achieving the objectives of GET. A well-developed, customer-centric portal allows governments and users to get results that are fast, accurate, and cost effective at a single point location. It offers a single entry point for the citizens and businesses to access integrated services and information for all of a government's departments. Customer-centric portals have four major attributes:

* They fulfill all customers' demands (businesses and citizens) for government services including providing information and allowing monetary and non-monetary transactions. Customers experience maximum value when they are able to complete a process entirely through one portal.

* They aggregate information about how to access services across the government enterprise thus enabling customers to locate the content they desire for "one-stop shopping."

* They must appeal to customers not only to get initial attraction but also revert to them regularly. For any government portal, aesthetics including size, colour, type of graphics and ease-of-navigation play a major role.

* All portal services must connect to databases integrated in the back office, enhancing management of customer information.

In most of the developed countries, government departments have moved beyond offering information-only websites and are in the process of setting up full-service Internet portals. The Singapore government has been the front-runner in this initiative (See Exhibit I). Many governments are accelerating the online adoption process by announcing the target dates for their portals to be publicly available-Japan and US by 2003; Canada by 2004 and UK by 2005.

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