E-Governance Failures – Can it be averted?

E-government, in short, allows the private sector to operate in areas that used to fall strictly within the public domain. The challenge for policy makers is to recognize that what is good for business is consistent with good government. Planners start with grand visions of on-line services but then flounder amid cross-agency squabbling. Or they fail to attract enough users or get sidetracked by expensive high-tech bells and whistles. Research on e-government efforts around the world has helped to identify three critical lessons for their proponents.

First, don’t underestimate the resistance of government employees to change. Washington State overcame this barrier by creating the Digital Information Academy. Mandated by the state’s governor, the academy helps departments map their existing services, encourages them to rethink the design of their services, and tries out new processes on focus groups. By involving government employees, the academy makes them less fearful and gives them a stake in e-government’s success. To ensure cooperation among departments, the governor required all of his chiefs to sign contracts stipulating the services they would put on-line within a specified time frame. When friction arises, the academy mediates.

Second, e-government services don’t justify the investment if citizens and businesses don’t use them. The majority of the people of almost every country don’t have Internet access (Exhibit 3), so e-government initiatives must include efforts to increase Internet penetration and usage. Most countries will have to develop channels other than personal computers in homes. In Dubai, for instance, where PC-based Internet penetration is under 15 percent but mobile-telephone penetration is over 50 percent, e-government will eventually adopt wireless applications. In Hong Kong, where Internet penetration is more than 40 percent, the government is nonetheless building e-government kiosks in shopping malls, supermarkets, and railway stations.

But access isn’t enough: e-government must also give the public financial or other incentives to use the Internet for transactions. In the United States, for example, people who file their tax returns on-line get their refunds deposited into their bank accounts within three weeks—half as long as it takes those who file paper returns to get a check in the mail. More than 30 percent of US tax returns are currently filed on-line.

Finally, e-government can be either a profit engine or a financial black hole, depending on the strategy and mind-set chosen. Its cost ranges from $30 million for department-specific efforts to over $100 million for fully integrated service portals. Unless vendors too invest at the outset, governments must justify these commitments by identifying, up front, the specific ways in which costs will be cut and users will be served more cheaply and conveniently. The National Information Consortium, for example, agreed to provide e-services to the citizens and businesses of the US state of Virginia in return for a cut of every transaction.

E-governance – The way ahead

A new way to the new economy is on the cards.

E-government, in short, allows the private sector to operate in areas that used to fall strictly within the public domain. The challenge for policy makers is to recognize that what is good for business is consistent with good government.

In many countries, particularly in emerging markets, e-government efforts can benefit private start-ups. E-government, for instance, involves investments in the public Internet infrastructure that would be too costly for individual companies. These investments finance gateways for electronic payments (in coordination with financial institutions) as well as encryption-and-decryption technology that ensures the security of electronic transactions.

Furthermore, e-government forces policy makers to establish a regulatory and legal framework to protect privacy and intellectual property insofar as they are involved in e-commerce. Examples of such frameworks include the Electronics Transactions Ordinance, in Hong Kong; the Electronics Transactions Act, in Singapore; and the Digital Signatures Act, in Malaysia.E-government also gets global information technology companies involved in everything from the design of systems to the development of applications. In the course of building the necessary infrastructure, those companies make significant investments in the local economy. Their local presence makes it easier for nearby companies to utilize their services or to partner with them.

Finally, e-government benefits private Internet ventures by increasing the number of World Wide Web–savvy locals. For this electronic new regime to succeed, government workers must have sufficient IT skills to maintain the system, and the general public must have the knowledge to take advantage of it. To ensure the diffusion of the required expertise, Malaysia has joined forces with world-class IT companies, such as Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and Electronic Data Systems, to employ and train local people. Hong Kong offered computer training in community centers and blitzed the territory with television advertisements promoting Internet usage and with home videos on how e-government efforts work. Most governments in emerging markets also encourage Internet use by offering access through kiosks and computers in libraries and other public places.

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s Memorable Dawn of Independence Speech

Today is our Independence Day. And what better way to celebrate the same than by remembering and honoring the day when it all started. If there is one place on this earth where all the dreams of men and women have found a home since when we began the dream of existence, it is with our Mother India. May we do justice to her and recognize her role in our lives, how we are indebted to her for our success and happiness.

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY TO ALL MY FELLOW INDIANS.

Coco-Cola Goes Crazy for Harris!

Now it’s not very often a fantastic TV ad has the opportunity to make a comeback and bless our screens for a second time, but fortunately Coco-Cola have decided to bring back the ‘Yeah yeah yeah, La la la’ TV ad featuring DJ Calvin Harris. What I love about this ad is how Mother, the creative agency, have injected some much happiness and colour into the creative. The slogan ‘Open Happiness’ fits brilliantly with the look and feel of the marketing activity. I can’t help but feel uplifted and carefree listening to the cheerful music and watching the bright scenery. I also like the cleverly designed machine! The ad is perfect for summer - which conveniently brings me on to their reason for bringing back the ad. So why?

Why bring the ad back?
Coco-Cola initially used the ad as part of their £50m European marketing plan in summer 2009.  After hitting our screens last year Coke have decided to use the ad to promote an on-pack summer promotion. The promotion claims to give away free gig tickets every hour during August 2010. Coco-Cola fans can also enter the hourly prize draw online via the Coke Zone website: www.cokezone.co.uk to win even more prizes! I love how Coco-Cola have been able to effectively reuse their ad material to strengthen their brand’s messages as well as capture a sense of history with the consumer, which they can share together. The new promotion is using a lot of online activity which is encouraging greater engagement with the brand too.

 Why not watch the ad for yourself and see what you think:

 

I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer !

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