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Processplatsen - home for iPB

Agile development of business processes

- easy to draw a process map
- easy to design WEB forms
- easy to run as a WEB application

What is eGovernment, and how to introduce it?

According to the Wikipedia, eGovernement (electronic government, digital government, etc.) is a vague term referring to use of modern ICT technology to provide and improve government services. Let us analyze this term in more details starting with what ICT means. ICT stands for Information and Communication Technology, and thus has two components Information Technology (the older term IT) and Communication Technology.

The obvious use of the first component (IT) is to structure, store and retrieve information, i.e. to substitute paper-based cabinets, folders and files by the computer-based ones. Using IT translates into better order in internal affairs and more efficient way of saving and searching information. The obvious use of the second component (Communication Technology) is to facilitate communication. Communication can be roughly divided into two parts: internal, i.e. inside the governing bodies, and external, i.e. between providers of government services and their consumers, e.g. citizens, businesses.

What is the best way to start introducing the electronic government? The most attractive way is to start where it could be easily seen, i.e. with external communication. Such an approach is quite appropriate as long as only one-way communication is considered, e.g. setting a web site where a government body/office informs about open hours or “hangs” all forms that should be filled when applying for their services. However, if a communication channel for consumers is introduced without performing any changes inside the governing body/office substantial problems could arise.

Suppose consumers of government services (private persons or businesses) are allowed and encouraged to fill their applications through a web-site. As it is easy to fill an application, then:

  • volume of application can be on the rise
  • expectation of an applicant to get an answer in a short time (hours or at least days) will be high

What happens on the other side of the web? Applications are printed and sent as usual through the whole organization (in the best case, they are sent by email to the first in the chain and printed later). If the volume arises, the time to process an application will become longer. The consumer’s expectation is not fulfilled, and he/she starts ringing, or visiting the office which will consume more time from governmental officials, and slow the process even more. In the end, nobody will be using web-based channels.

As a conclusion, opening the channels for consumers two-way communication requires introduction of ICT technology inside the governing bodies/offices first. This will prepare them to handle large volumes of consumers services and in a shorter time.