At the Dawn of e-Government

A new Deloitte & Touche Study, titled At the Dawn of e-Government: The Citizen as Customer, argues that citizen demand for better service is fueling the global growth of e-government as government leaders focus on matching the new standards of service set by private sector advances in technology.

The study concludes that successful e-governments will focus on the citizen as customer and leverage technology to build long-term relationships with citizens.

Deloitte & Touche sets forth definitive stages that public sector entities will go through to achieve true e-government, and a checklist of recommendations to guide public sector entities through their e-government planning. These stages are:

STAGE 1: Information Publishing/Dissemination —Government agencies utilize technology to provide increased access to information to their customers.

STAGE 2: “Official” Two-Way Transactions —Agencies begin utilizing two-way transactions through such technologies as digital signatures and secure web sites. For example, citizens in Lewisham, U.K., can claim income support and housing benefits using an electronic form provided by their local government’s web site.

STAGE 3: Multi-Purpose Portals—Agencies launch Web portals for customers and businesses to obtain services and transact business across multiple departments from a single point of entry.

STAGE 4: Portal Personalization—Government puts even more power into the customers’ hands by enabling them to customize portals with their desired features.

STAGE 5: Clustering of Common Services —Real transformation of government structure is now taking shape. As customers now view once disparate services as a unified package through the portal, their perception of departments as distinct agencies will begin to blur. Governments will now cluster services along common lines to accelerate the delivery of shared services.

STAGE 6: Full Integration and Enterprise Transformation—What started as a digital encyclopedia is now a full service center, personalized to each customer’s needs and preferences. Old walls defining silos of services have been torn down and technology is integrated across a new enterprise to bridge the shortened gap between the front and back office. In some cases, new departments will have formed from the remains of predecessors. Others will have the same names, but their make-up will look nothing like they did before e-government.

The report also identifies eight recommendations for e-government planning to guide public sector entities as they progress through the e-government evolution:

  • Define a vision—and a business case—for e-government.
  • Build customer trust with privacy, security and confidentiality.
  • Plan technology for growth and customer friendliness.
  • Manage access channels to optimize value.
  • Weigh in-sourcing vs. outsourcing.
  • Establish investment plans that work within funding cycles.
  • Understand the impact of fees for transactions.
  • Include a strong change management program.
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