Canada, U.S. Among Top Countries for E-Government

Governments have begun to close the gap between political rhetoric and reality as they bring their e-government visions to life, but they aren’t there yet, according to the second annual global e-government study by Accenture.

Accenture’s report, “Rhetoric vs. Reality — Closing the Gap,” surveyed 22 countries and found they still have a long way to go. The countries were put in four categories, Innovative Leaders, Visionary Followers, Steady Achievers and Platform Builders.

Accenture categorized Canada, the United States and Singapore as Innovative Leaders, which means they have completed less than half of the work required to develop and provide fully mature online government, both in terms of service and delivery models. All three nations have introduced nationwide portals to provide citizens a single point of access to government. Canada secured its leading positioning as a result of the government’s adoption of a cross-agency approach to e-government. This approach is intended to make it easier for citizens and businesses to interact electronically with government.

“Overall, the innovative leaders and other countries paving the way to e-government achieved their status as a result of the political will asserted by their government leadership. They have set targets and timetables to ensure that their visions are being translated into reality,” said Vivienne Jupp, Accenture managing partner, Global eGovernment Services. “It was political will that enabled the innovative leaders to outline and begin delivering on its e-government vision, making Canada, Singapore and the United States global leaders in this area.”

Understanding and use of e-government is moving up the maturity curve, although it has a long way to go. Only in rare instances, such as Ireland’s Revenue On-line System, can businesses transact with government via the Internet.

Some government organizations are employing more sophisticated techniques, such as customer relationship management, founding their e-government programs on intentions-based designs and developing portals to provide online services across agencies from a single Web site. Among the few government organizations demonstrating this level of delivery maturity and employing customer relationship management is the U.S. Postal Service. Its customers can establish an online postal account to purchase stamps or pay utility bills. Similarly, postal organizations in Finland and the Netherlands ranked highly in the provision of electronic services.

Sites posted by Norway, Australia, Finland, Netherlands and the United Kingdom were classified as Visionary Followers, demonstrating both a high number of services online and moderate sophistication.

New Zealand, Hong Kong, France, Spain, Ireland, Portugal, Germany and Belgium are categorized as Steady Achievers, as they offer a large breadth of services with significant opportunity to mature their service level and delivery model.

Japan, Brazil, Malaysia, South Africa, Italy and Mexico are labeled Platform Builders with low levels of online service, positioning them well to develop a coordinated cross-agency Web presence.

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