E-Government is more about government than about “e”. The rise of the information society has led to major changes in citizen expectations and organisational structures, cultures and working processes. Governments are following suit and adopting information society tools and working practices to remain responsive to citizen needs. The impact of e-government at the broadest level is simply better government by enabling better policy outcomes, higher quality services, greater engagement with citizens and by improving other key outputs. Governments and public administrations will, and should, continue to be judged against these established criteria for success.
Governments are responding to new technologies, and are particularly attentive to time. Unlike other aspects of government, technologies evolve very quickly and equipment rapidly becomes out of date. The decisions taken today commit administrations to a future that is changing, and not fully understood. Errors are costly financially, but are especially worrisome in terms of losing the trust of citizens and businesses. The transition to e-government is an opportunity for countries to show their capacity to adapt and overcome barriers. Delays in implementing e-government reforms will penalise economic development in this competitive, rapidly changing world.
E-government initiatives refocus attention on a number of issues: how to collaborate more effectively across agencies to address complex, shared problems; how to enhance customer focus; and how to build relationships with private sector partners. Public administrations must address these issues if they are to remain responsive. As long as these steps have not been successfully undertaken and the necessary tools put in place, the full potential of e-government will not be realised.