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Will Government 2.0 achieve the promise of E-Government?


November 3, 2009

E-government was the future. E-Gov was going to transform government. Improve citizen services. Integrate with “life events”. There have been many successful e-government initiatives. Yet government has not yet “transformed”.

The E-Government Theory

Experts believed that e-government would mature through four phases. (Some analysts presented three phases, some five). The theory was: e-government begins with broadcasting information on web site.

Phase 1: Broadcast.  Citizens and businesses have access to information in a more efficient and effective manner than traditional mechanisms. Most governments provide information via the web.

Phase 2: Interact. In the second phase of e-government, businesses and citizens are able to interact with the government. They are able to start a transaction or request services.  This second phase improves efficiency because businesses and citizens are able to start transactions such as filling out government forms on-line.  Most governments provide interaction capabilities.

Phase 3: Transact. The third phase of e-government supports complete transactions. Citizens and businesses are able to fill out forms, request and pay for services. These “front-office” transactions integrate with “back-office” systems in governments to improve citizen and business services. Some governments support comprehensive transactions.

Phase 4: Transform. The fourth phase of e-government assumed that government services would be magically transformed. The nature of government would change. The relationship between governments and citizens would achieve a new level. But, this did not happen. There was no miracle. There has been some change in government, but not fulfilling the promise of e-government.

Government 2.0

Government 2.0 is the logical extension of e-government. Government 2.0 can fulfill the promise of e-government. Many e-government initiatives exposed technology problems. Many governments were unable to integrate the front and back offices.

Phase 4: Single Point. Many experts foresaw the problem of the “single point of contact”. Any life event such as the birth of a child or the creation of a business can require interacting with many government entities across multiple levels. The need to support interaction for these life events is a critical stage. We believe that is the “missing link” to enable government transformation.

Phase 5: Internal Collaboration. It is very difficult to transform government to interact and collaborate with citizens and businesses if the government does not collaborate internally. Governments need to collaborate across organizational boundaries. Traditional collaboration tools have not been as successful as Web 2.0 collaboration. We believe that governments need to leverage social networking tools for internal collaboration. This is a relatively low risk. Improving internal collaboration enables governments to move to the next phase.

Phase 6: Transform. Government organizations leveraging social networking for internal collaboration are able to extend externally. Government leaders will understand the power of collaboration and the benefits of exposing data based on the experience of internal collaboration.

Is this Government 2.0 or e-government 2.0? It’s both. Successful internal adoption of social networking by governments combined with significant changes in businesses thanks to Enterprise 2.0 points to exciting transformation. Transformation that will improve government services and performance.

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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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