Danish strategy

I forgot to blog our new E-Government Strategy 2004-06 – Realising the Potential which was launched last week by the board of Project e-Government, our national steering committee for e-government.

Vision for e-Government

Digitalisation must contribute to the creation of an efficient and coherent public sector with a high quality of service, with citizens and businesses in the centre.

The strategy is summarised in this figure:
Programme plan
And the EU/IDA eGovernment Observatory also did a summary.

I’ve selected a quote about my focus area:

Denmark is well on the way to constructing a coherent infrastructure in which both the technical and legal prerequisites for e-Government are present. However, this does not mean that there is not still much that can and should be done to further improve this foundation. There is a need in a number of areas for a common language, which will require that the data formats used by the individual authorities conform to a common, open, national standard. It is also of central importance that the IT development of individual institutions is in keeping with the development of a common public sector IT architecture, enabling the integration of different IT systems.

On this, the strategy names the following key activities:

  • Consolidate the development of a genuine public sector architecture framework, cf. the white book on IT architecture.
  • Establish a national IT security concept on the basis of the IT Council’s report on ‘IT Security in the State Sector, 2003’.
  • Ensure that citizens and businesses eventually acquire access to their own data.
  • Examine the possibilities for establishing a common ‘look and feel’ at State websites, to make it easier for users to utilise other services once they gain familiarity with one of them.
  • Analyse the potential for the use of mobile technologies in the public sector.

We are arranging a national conference about architecture for e-government next week, and have a full house, around 400 participants. I think it is fair to say that enterprise architecture is taking on in Denmark, even though our national strategy doesn’t explicitely say so.

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2 Comments.

  • Hey John

    That’s just another weird figure. Putting all the potential bullets in one square with several different shades of blue, does not explain anything, at least not to me. What do you think of it?

  • A comment to Brian: Isolated the figure does not make much sense. You need to read the paper.

    When doing so, I have some observations you may comment, if you like, both of you.

    I think the paper is an impressive piece of work. Often documents like these are no more than visions, and far from a true strategy. This is not the case here, in my opinion.

    However I think the people behind the strategy have a serious gap in their very approach to the matter: This is handled and understood very much as a technical challenge and project; how to develop an IT architecture, that will support the ambitions (XML- and metadata issues e.g.).

    In my opinion the paper does not address important issues like information management and information architecture. This inspite of the fact that they state that: ”It is of central importance that eGovernment is used to create a public sector in which citizens and businesses find the supply of services to be coherent, and task solution to be based on their needs.”. Not a novel observation for an information architect. The key to success for any IT solution is a foundation in user needs. Later they go on to mention accessibility (usability?), but I ask myself: Why do they pay so little attention to this important issue when it comes to realization.

    True, the strategy mention a focus area called ”Renew organization and corporate culture”. In this section they do address some of these issues at a very high level. The problem here though is, that no public authority or any other actor invilved in this impotant undertaking are being held responsible for these activities. In the paper, all the more technical issues regarding IT architecture (SOA etc.) are anchored with already established bodies. (It is notable btw, that these bodies were established so early in the process, when almost all major research agencies point to the importance of addressing, information management, information architecture and overall user needs *before* IT architecture issues. You may like to like to read Information Architecture With XML by Peter Brown, who also discuss this). I do hope for the public, the public servants, and the project as such, that the fucus will align soon. Fortunatly it seems they are aware of the problem: “One-sided IT thinking – generally too much one-sided focus on the technical aspects of IT. The organisational aspects are not a naturally integrated element; better interconnection of the two areas is required.” Quote from appendix ‘Current obstacles and challenges’. Let’s hope the FESD alliance (CSC, Scan·Jour and PLS) see this “challange” too

    Just a few thoughts.

    Stig Andersen
    Information Architect, Info-Ark

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