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Usted está aquí: Inicio Acerca del CLAD Publicaciones Revista del CLAD Reforma y Democracia Artículos por número publicado 031, Febrero 2005 Transforming Governance through E-Government: OECD’s Vision

Transforming Governance through E-Government: OECD’s Vision

Edwin Lau

Providing seamless services is fast becoming a major challenge in order to provide user-centric e-government. Doing so, however, requires moving beyond simple co-ordination to integrating certain structures and processes related to service delivery. Experience with implementing electronic seamless services has highlighted the impact they can have on agencies’ ways of working, structures and culture. The challenge of implementing and operating seamless services has also highlighted the need for change in the internal governance frameworks of public administrations.

In the early phase of e-government development, individual agencies have tended to respond to e-government pressures by putting existing information online. For example, at the information provision stage, users can read and download publications as well as undertake limited inquiries and searches. All information flows from the administration to the user. Since this stage primarily involves the digitising of existing information and placing it online, it has so far required the least investment in process re-engineering and therefore can be undertaken with a minimal amount of planning.

Arrangements for reconciling back-office systems with an integrated customer interface may give the impression that collaboration can be achieved primarily at the technical level, and that other operations can be left undisturbed. In practice this is unlikely to be the case. In effect, collaborating for seamless e-government services will lead to a deeper engagement between the agencies involved.

As countries implement more advanced services, they are also most likely to encounter a host of new and more difficult e-government challenges. The use of new technologies makes apparent the inconsistencies in traditional stovepipe systems. The result is not only a need for increased co-ordination and collaboration, but for a re-engineering of the very systems of government. While agency innovation is still valuable, it will have to take place amidst more standards, decreased autonomy and tighter spending controls. While this will help some agencies, it may also be a source of frustration for others.

E-government should be value-driven and not technology-driven. The promised benefits of e-governments do not take place simply by digitising information and placing it online. Instead, the challenge is to understand how the use of new ICT tools can be used to leverage a transformation in the culture and structure of government in order to provide better services to citizens. This entails determining the appropriate level of technology and service that meets the needs and the citizen preferences of a particular country; it does not mean importing wholesale systems and solutions regardless of whether citizens and businesses truly stand to benefit. Governments are beginning to understand better that real value can be obtained through the use of ICT, but that the need for basic assessments of benefits and costs, risks and opportunities remains.

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