- Published: 30 November -0001
Many e-government projects help neither the citizen nor the civil service, said Richard Harris, a research director with Gartner Asia Pacific. The e-services hype has led to a rush to take out people processes and to blindly replace them with technology, he said.
"A politician would have decided that it would be a nice thing to have," he said.
IT vendors promise cost savings from reductions in staff, but in many cases, governments find they can't fire anyone because of strong labor unions, as well as an unwillingness to add to a country's unemployment rolls, said Harris.
And when citizens stay away from poorly executed e-services that are more inconvenient to use than face-to-face ones, bureaucrats are forced to maintain both electronic and brick-and-mortar portals.
"In a broad sense, the return on investment in e-government has been a disappointment," he said.
In countries like the U.S., there has been an overemphasis on investment in e-government and an underemphasis on improving the basic processes of government. Unless the rigidly bureaucratic information silos between ministries and departments are broken down, e-citizen portals won't offer compelling convenience, he warned.
E-government projects in Asia need to start with a clear understanding of the level of trust citizens have in their governments. For example, in some developing Asian countries, it would be wishful thinking for bureaucracies to hope to obtain accurate citizen income data online when citizens don't have a habit of honest income declarations in the first place, he said.
Across Asia, many governments, even those in developing countries such as India and Vietnam, are looking into offering e-government services. Among the aims of such projects is to bring government information services to citizens in remote rural areas.
In more developed countries like Singapore, where e-citizen services have been available for years, the government has invested over US$700 million in more sophisticated services, such as opening online citizen feedback channels.
Quelle: Cnet Asia