Interview

Towards a Digital Austria : Christian Rupp, Federal Executive Secretary,

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Christian Rupp Federal Executive Secretary, e-Government, Austriawww.help.gv.at

Christian Rupp
Federal Executive Secretary,
e-Government, Austria


“In the next few months, i2010 will become history. We are now developing the strategy for 2020. This means cross border services between EU member states with electronic identities and electronic signatures in the field of e-Government, e-Health and e-Procurement”

“Technologies like web 2.0 or web 3.0 help us understand what the customers want and accordingly design the services.”


Please share with us the Austrian experience in the field of e-Governance.

We started e-Government way back in early 90’s with a system of electronic land and company registration. Subsequently we digitised a host of administrative works like license, birth, death and marriage registration, etc. We also established an electronic law information system as well as online tax payment system. By the late 1990’s nearly 100% of our municipalities were brought online, with more than 50% of the content provided by help.gv.at. In 1997 we designed our first Internet roadshow for small and medium sized enterprises (www.telefit.at). Austria is a highly innovative country – we were the fi rst country in Europe to implement UMTS and GPRS, we have at present achieved nearly 90%   broadband penetration (more than 50% mobile broadband) and the highest WLAN density in Europe. Some of the leading companies in the world in the fi eld of ICT applications like RFID, multimedia and content, security and service, are from Austria and these are the key drivers of growth and employment. Since 2007, we have been ranked number one by the European Commission in the e-Government benchmark of 29 European countries.

e-Participation or citizen participation
in governance is one of the goal and   outcomes of e-Government. What has been your strategy to ensure greater e- Participation?

eGovernment works best when all citizens are involved in the process. While providing  e-Government services, special emphasis has been placed on customer orientation. The  HELP.gv.at site is a ‘one-stopshop’ portal ensuring maximum participation of citizens and businesses by allowing online enquiries and applications for various services like grants,  income tax, passport, residential and school registrations, etc. The online procedures have also  contributed in making life for businesses much simpler. You only have to use the  HELP.gv.at site and forms can be fi lled-out online and sent directly to the responsible public  authority along with applicable fees.

We have also ensured maximum participation of citizens right from the initiation of  e-Governance. All the content and forms available online at www.help.gv.at have been developed together with our customers. More than 1000 questions and remarks as well as  discussion forums help us create user-centric services. Even our municipalities have ensured  eParticipation by involving their customers in the content development.

Web 2.0 applications are becoming increasingly popular in many countries, even in countries  like UAE and South Korea. How do you assess the importance of web 2.0 applications in eGovernment? Technologies like web 2.0 or web 3.0 help us understand what  the customers want and accordingly design the services. The last few years have seen many  services changing their policy because of the involvement of citizens.

Research has named Business Process
Re-Engineering as a key factor in work   process transformation. What has been Austria’s road map for BPR?

In a ministerial decision in 2001, it was decided that we would use one standard software  solution for electronic fi les and storage as far as all government work was concerned. This  work fl ow management system (ELAK) has already been implemented in all federal ministries and many municipalities. The implementation of ELAK was not only a change of a  tool, but has strongly infl uenced the work in the public administration by reducing the  process time (in the Federal Chancellery by nearly 40%) especially for searching of archives  and transporting fi les. Users in the administration now have access to all information. All information is transparent at any time and everybody with access to the fi le is able to see its status.

This has lent more fl exibility to the structure of the organisation. ELAK encourages  cooperation through availability of information independent of time and place and improves  the implementation of change management processes (new structure as well as new procedures).

How far have you gone into achieving the objectives of i2010?

In the next few months, i2010 will become history. We are now developing the strategy for  2020. This means cross border services between EU member states with electronic identities  and electronic signatures in the fi eld of e-Government, e-Health and e- Procurement.

In your opinion what strategy should
India adopt in implementing e-Governance?

The key points are user-centricity and involvement of all stakeholders. All the stakeholders  have to come together if we are to develop better services for better lives of our citizens. We  also need services that are useful and accessible for target groups within their familiar  surroundings. Skill based training and broadband infrastructure have to go hand in hand.

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