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eGovernment Forschung seit 2001 | eGovernment Research since 2001
For governments across Asia, the need to provide fast and seamless electronic services has made IT a top priority. And they're spending accordingly.

Governments across the region seem poised to remain big IT spenders. They're determined to put on a friendlier face by expanding their technology investments to offer new and more efficient services to their citizens, but never at the expense of security.

Many Asian countries, including Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, made an appearance in the top tier of the 2006 global ranking of e-government development and progress by Tokyo's Waseda University. And judging by recent announcements, these nations are determined to stay there.

Authorities in Singapore plan to announce at least US$391 million in infocomm-related tenders this fiscal year, spanning projects like a revamped financial system for the National Library Board and a new student information platform for the Ministry of Education. According to Leong Chin Yew, director of information services at the Housing Development Board, the agency will be debuting some projects of its own designed to meet the expanding needs and expectations of its client base.

Leong's key strategic goal for the near term is the delivery of more personalised and transaction-based electronic services, as well the rollout of a paperless mode of operations at the board's various branch offices.

With today's citizens wanting to spend minimum time on administrative chores and no longer content to stand in queues or obtain services over a counter, the HDB's IT team must prioritise "(customer relationship management) strategies that deliver personalised, comprehensive, prompt, and 24x7 information and services, via a wide-ranging array of convenient channels," Leong says.

In a speech unveiling Malaysia's ninth national plan, Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi pledges to promote the development of shared services and outsourcing and says the government would make more use of IT to "enhance the efficiency of services".

Authorities agree to fork out US$5 million to Indian IT giant Unisys to assist in the rollout of Malaysia's MyKad smart card project. Under the contract, Unisys will ensure MyKad applications, which include e-payment, health information, and passport functions, run consistently at a government data centre with zero downtime.

Smart card technology also features prominently in the plans of Hong Kong's immigration department, where according to assistant director for information systems Raymond Wong, IT resources will be deployed towards a biometric passport system and reducing red tape.

The department estimates the e-passport, due to go live this year, will save the territory over US$14 million annually from 2007.

The department's IT team is also implementing electronic records and data warehousing initiatives to consolidate and convert the reams of information that it currently holds on paper.

These initiatives will be comple-mented by a new visa application system that will employ artificial intelligence to help the department's officers gauge potential entrants to Hong Kong, boosting the territory's security and hopefully resulting in smoother interaction with customers.

IT is not only helping the department deal with exponential growth in passenger traffic but has also allowed it to make "quantum leaps in delivering the best public services at a lower cost," Wong says.

Constantly under pressure to cut costs and control manpower, a growing number of governments in the region seem to be embarking on the outsourcing path.

Hong Kong's Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) announced in January a seven-year deal with Sema Group that will see Sema host many of the administration's data centres. The OGCIO estimates the deal will shave up to 30 per cent off its data centre expenses.

According to a recent release, the OGCIO's priority areas for the coming year include the rollout of a new one-stop access portal for information and government transactions as well as new regulations to enhance the governance of IT projects. All, the agency says, in an effort to provide "citizen-centric" e-services.

In the Philippines, Ivan John Enrile Uy, deputy clerk of court and chief of the management information systems office of the Supreme Court, plans to launch an outsourcing initiative to improve his department's service delivery.

"Outsourcing is important because it would free IT talent and maximise its potential on more productive and relevant work," he says, noting many IT personnel are currently "tied down" by non-core activities. Also important is the replication of technology and systems to the court's various staff and branches, no easy task in a country as geographically dispersed as the Philippines.

This will "enable other members of the organisation spread across 7,100 islands to benefit from applications developed, and the connectivity would enhance better communication among various units," he says.

Even countries where the presence of IT in the public sector has traditionally been limited are getting in on the e-government act.

According to Beijing-based research firm Analysys International, China's e-government market will be worth nearly US$10 billion by 2008, with the administration currently maintaining around 100 portals and the total number of government websites surpassing 10,000. In Vietnam, the government has launched a program that should allow all enterprises in the country to file their tax declarations electronically by 2008.

But according to Waseda University's study, the region's governments often build systems which citizens fail to use.

Even the most aggressive push for e-services will fail unless "user-friendly applications" are developed to attract people's interest, the study says.

The study also says the appointment of a country's government CIO is "a very vital strategy to build the gap between management and technology", with the training of IT heads "very important to the success of e-government".

Quelle/Source: MIS Magazine, 12.06.2006

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