Why e-Government assessment?
All elected Governments are accountable to people. The elected representatives are accountable to the Parliament and the Executive is accountable to the elected representatives. Any spending in a Government program without the measurement of results and impact cannot go on indefinitely. There will always be one stakeholder who will ask for the impact assessment of the investment. Therefore, the spending on IT and e-Governance in the Government has to be assessed. This is part of the e-governance initiative and audit also plays a pivotal role in this, as audit findings are submitted to the legislative or parliament.
Difficulty in assessment
The process to quantify the results of e-Governance is very difficult. It is difficult to demonstrate the benefits for a given e-Government program. The various factors that lead to the difficulty are:
- multiple services, processes and benefits make it impossible to estimate all the benefits
- intangible benefits are difficult to capture and quantify
- all e-Government Projects are not often aligned to for increased revenue.
- benefits evolve as a greater understanding is gained of the project
- the evolving and changing technology widens the gap
- lack of pressure or will to measure
- kigh cost for developing a measurement performance system
- no acknowledgements for failures; though successes to be publicized, more important is failure knowledge to be documented and shared.
- lack of adaptation of national standards in measurement parameters and maturity assessment.
Overall e-Government measurement
The first step in e-Governance measurement is the availability of the information infrastructure. It can be assessed in terms of availability of computers, internet access and networks within the Government. The degree of integration of ICT in the government activities for internal purposes (communication, data collection and storage, resource management) should be described. Stress should be laid on critical activities like e-procurement and e-transactions. The Government functioning can be segregated into the leadership that is available for e-governance, the infrastructure, the data systems and the level of preparedness of each Government, and also knowledge sharing of best practices and resolution of conflicts and issues in implementation of e-governance projects.
Leadership and awareness
The constituent segments of the government are most instrumental in ensuring the performance of e-governance initiatives in a country. For starters, they include commitment and awareness on the part of political leadership and civil service societies. Further, the need for a ministry or department of IT, along with fund allocations for education of both the legistaure and the bureaucracy is needed. Besides, the number of employees aware of e-governance initiatives and sharing of knowledge pertaining to good practices also contribute to sustainence of e-governance initiatives.
The e-governance information interchange
Right planning with a “Think Globally Act Locally” approach will lead to success of various ICT initiatives and will bring more transparency and accountability in functioning of the Government.
- IT Policy (including IT Vision )
- roadmap to e-governance with electronic service delivery targets
- right to Information
- projectisation of IT
- fund Allocation to IT (State, central, external aided, Private participation etc)
- number of Government websites online differentiating static content and dynamic content
- back-end process re-engineering and front-end easy to use;
- usage of system usability concepts and ergonomic design of terminal
The Government also needs to be prepared for the ICT revolution. In order to carry out e-readiness in various departments. It needs to document various processes. Carry out GPR and implementation of Government ERP and thereby lead to process re-engineering., and close integration of functional wings.
- percentage documentation of existing processes
- percentage reengineering carried out (GPR)
- percentage of internal process computerized
- percentage of employee records computerized
- percentage of employees trained in IT
- impact analysis and implementation of continuous process re-generation.
- authentication of Information available in the websites
e-Services objectives and certification framework
The existence of Government websites and the e-service delivery via these is another aspect to understand e-readiness in Government. The websites can be analyzed for various aspects like the availability of a website, the quality of the website (design, functionality, navigation). The richness of the information displayed and its relevance for the society at large (be it businesses, other government organizations, NGOs, education sector, individuals). Quality and timeliness of the information displayed (frequency of updating).
Existence of on-line interaction possibilities (emailing, on-line downloadable forms, on-line application, etc) and the degree to which there is a two way communication between the government and its clients. Utilization of websites for procurement notice placement. Utilization of information collection and customization tools (feedback forms, user profiles, log analyzers). The way the websites are managed (outsourced, managed by internal IT departments).
- official State/Federal Government websites
- number of completed transactions in existing projects
- cost saving in existing projects
- breath and Depth of e-Services including feedback corrective and control mechanisms
- sectoral coverage of e-services
- number of Public Services provided electronically
- percentage e-services available in local language
- system usability and ease of use and inclusion of complete audit trails
This assessment should be the analysis of the way the government uses ICT for external communication and the infrastructure available for the same. It should include the degree of in person or paper based communication in the government. The utilization and existence of ICT infrastructure like the telephones, e-mails and faxes. It includes the following:
- percentage of employees having PC/ department
- government Intranet
- groundwork for State/ National Networks
- affordability and reliability-Availability-Serviceability
Data systems are the backup support mechanism on which Government is built. The existence of databases will help the Government to give the timely services to the citizens. Mere the existence of application is not enough. Therefore the readiness of Government will imply the readiness of data systems.
- human records computerized
- land records computerized including the spatial component
- number of movable property records (vehicles) computerized
- percentage tax records computerized
Evaluation of e-Projects
The evaluation of e-Projects is another area wherein the impact assessment of e-Governance has to be measurement. Standard models and parameters suitable to each project are to be evolved.
- cutting Administrative cost
- cutting cost of Vigilance & supervision due to increased transparency
- saving on hidden cost like traveling etc
- increase in revenues (unaccounted collections)
- new avenues for taxation
Resource sharing (Human/Capital) thus optimizing the cost of Infrastructure & Implementation
- increased monitoring