The six pillars of e-government in the rise of the digital society

first_imgCitizen centricity in action can be seen in France, where people will soon be able to track their interactions with the taxman. By 2006, taxpayers will have 24/7 online access to their finances and be able to ‘track and trace’ transactions. Reaching full integration through the creation of information and communication technology (ICT) networks requires standardisation. Given the complexity of government structures and processes, which have evolved with different, poorly co-ordinated legacy systems, few governments can afford to take the steps taken by the private sector towards a consistent standardisation of ICT. Most national e-government strategies concentrate on achieving inter-operability between systems, processes, software and networks. Closely connected to this pillar is the reorganisation of the back-office such as automating many routine administrative processes, freeing staff to focus more on the delivery of services. A study of the European public sector, Net Impact 2004, shows that governments achieve significant cost reduction only when they reorganise their back-office processes before bringing services online.Previously, power and responsibility for steering a national e-government strategy were distributed among certain ministries or agencies. This provoked a lack of co-ordination and inter-operable systems, and a duplication of solutions. Nowadays governments are discovering that they need appropriate governance on a national level. One approach has been the appointment of chief information officers similar to their role in the business world. The UK was one of the first to appoint an e-envoy with the task of co-ordinating all e-government initiatives.The fifth pillar is creating networked virtual organisations, which means joining up multiple organisations to achieve results that a single organisation could not achieve alone. This approach involves breaking down traditional structures based on separate functions and working flexibly and innovatively across boundaries to deliver better value to the citizen. Finally, there is social inclusion. All governments admit that broadband access enables the gap between the digital haves and have-nots to shrink. To this end, all e-government strategies address the issue of digital divide and try to establish social inclusion. In South Korea, the Information Network Village project helps people in remote areas benefit from free PCs and broadband, allowing access to rich media content, on topics including education and agricultural skills. E-government is not about systems and specifications, but is ultimately about how society will develop. It is this challenge that drives governments to look to internet technology to raise the bar in public services – reducing costs while improving relationships with citizens. But when developing compelling e-government strategies and implementing them on a countrywide basis, one size does not fit all.There are six common themes, or pillars, for connected government: citizen centricity, standardised common infrastructures, back-office reorganisation, governance, new organisational models and social inclusion. The core pillar is ‘citizen centricity’ – putting the citizen at the heart of public services. To reach this goal, governments must focus on three things. First, develop the capacity to act as a single enterprise so citizens feel they are being served by one organisation. Second, organise themselves around citizens’ demands and expectations. Third, develop flexible organisational structures. E-government presents enormous challenges but, looking at countries around the world with differing levels of e-government development, it becomes clear that ambitious, visionary and committed public sector officials can overcome these challenges. Infrastructures are being re-engineered to create new ways for citizens to connect to government, and for governments to connect to citizens. In its search for competitiveness, there is no doubt that the EU will need to use these new approaches to attain the best results. Willi Kaczorowski is executive advisor in the Internet Business Solutions Group of Cisco Systems’ Europe, Middle East and Africa division.last_img read more

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A Meet-Cute of Professional Networking and Online Dating

first_imgThe New York Times:Work and romance may seem like a bad combination, but as more work, and more romance, goes online, the two are meeting in interesting ways. LinkedUp is one startup banking on a version of the old saw that you’re likely to meet your mate at work, while eHarmony, a veteran of online dating, has decided to deploy its expertise to match job seekers with potential employers.“Elevated Careers by eHarmony,” scheduled to start in December, seeks to improve a company’s employee retention rates by looking at more than skills and resumes — companies would be more productive, and more profitable, if their workers were more satisfied and stayed at the company longer. Taking into account an applicant’s personality, how it might fit with the company’s cultureand how it might mesh with management, may help to improve both factors.…But even with eHarmony’s 600,000 married couples, there’s still plenty of skepticism about whether online dating sites work. OkCupid conducted an unannounced test recently that manipulated users’ profiles and found that what you write on your profile doesn’t have any bearing on whether another user finds you attractive.And Eli J. Finkel and Susan Sprecher, professors of psychology and of anthropology and sociology, respectively, write in Scientific American that the claims of matching sites don’t bear out in real life:“From a scientific perspective, there are two problems with matching sites’ claims. The first is that those very sites that tout their scientific bona fides have failed to provide a shred of evidence that would convince anybody with scientific training. The second is that the weight of the scientific evidence suggests that the principles underlying current mathematical matching algorithms — similarity and complementarity — cannot achieve any notable level of success in fostering long-term romantic compatibility.”Mr. Finkel and Ms. Sprecher are part of a team that wrote a longer psychology paper, summarized on Science of Us, arguing this in greater depth. What a person might find attractive on a profile may have no correlation to what they find attractive in real life, the report says, and browsing profiles “fosters judgmental, assessment-oriented evaluations and can cognitively overwhelm users, two processes that can ultimately undermine romantic outcomes.” What improves outcomes most is access to a wider pool of potentially interested (and interesting) people to connect with.Read the whole story: The New York Times More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

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