e-government flourishing, reports Giga

CIOL Bureau
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BANGALORE: Giga Information Group Inc. latest report reveals that, while

"e-business" has faded in the

private sector, e-government continues to flourish in the public sector as
governments try to extend access via electronic network channels to all

government services by all citizens at any hour of the day.

The report said that the citizen adoption of these electronic channels is

uneven, however, has highest usage among educated citizens. To free up resources

to support the online channel while citizen adoption slowly increases, the

report recommends that the governments focus more on cost saving e-government

initiatives, in addition to the security enhancements required for e-government

in the post-Sept. 11 world.

"Government is not so much lagging behind the private sector as it is

positioned to learn from its mistakes and to take advantage of the proven

technologies created by private companies," said Giga vice president,

Andrew Bartels. "In fact, in some technologies, like smart cards,

biometrics and electronic records management, the government is ahead of


"The figures for citizen usage of government Web sites for certain kinds of
transactions - like tax filings or auto registration renewals - compare very

favorably with the highest rates of consumer usage of online commercial sites,

such as online travel booking or online book and music shopping," said

Bartels, "This is not surprising, since people view tasks like renewing

auto registrations or paying taxes as necessary evils and will take advantage of

any easier and more convenient methods to get them done." On the other

hand, citizen adoption of other online government services like unemployment

insurance or welfare benefits is much lower due to the more limited Internet

access that beneficiaries typically have.

Accordingly, governments will still need to support and maintain existing
telephone and office channels even as they invest in building up the online

channel, which is still in the early stages in national, state and local

governments in North America, said Bartels.

"Given tight budgets and competing demand for resources, governments
therefore need to focus their e-government efforts on initiatives that can

reduce the cost of operating government agencies, like adoption of Web-enabled

human resource and financial management systems, private e-procurement e-markets

and enterprise information portals for employees," he said, adding that

governments also need to use selected CRM technologies to manage cases, measure

citizen satisfaction and interest, and handle citizen interactions seamlessly

across channels. Information security is obviously also a top priority, he said,

to ensure that citizen records and government systems are protected at the same

time that online access is opened up.

"E-government initiatives are a top priority for governments, which are
making efforts to keep up with their Internet-enabled constituents and to do

more with fewer taxpayer resources," explained Bartels. "As a result,

the government sector will be one of the few areas with increasing budgets for

portals, ERP systems, CRM applications and other enterprise applications during

2002 and 2003."