eGovernment – Success or Failure
Jan28

eGovernment – Success or Failure

This paper – eGovernment – Success or Failure – describes why eGovernment projects succeed or fail and what can be done do to prevent failure. eGovernment projects tend to need substantial tax money funding. To have a dollar well spent, it is required that stakeholders create the right environment. eGovernment projects need to be reality-checked all through the design, implementation and operation. It is essential for the success of eGovernment projects that the design team build profound knowledge of the gaps between reality and desired outcome. These gaps are related to eight dimensions: information, technology, processes, objectives and values, staffing and skills, management systems and structures, other resources, and the outside world. It is necessary to take measures towards closing the gaps as early as possible. Most countries have engaged into eGovernment initiatives. Where some eGovernment implementations have been successful, others have failed in achieving their objectives, ranging between: Success: most stakeholder groups attained their major goals and did not experience significant undesirable outcomes. Partial failure: major goals were not attained or there were significant undesirable outcomes. Total failure: the initiative was never implemented or was implemented but immediately abandoned. There is little data available about the rates of success and failure of eGovernment, but according to some studies, 60 to 80% of eGovernment projects fail. To prevent an eGovernment project failure, we need to understand why they fail. Every project has gaps between the design and the current state. A key factor to success or failure is the level of difference between the current reality and the model/conception and assumptions built into the project’s design. The larger the gap, the greater the risk of failure. If the gap between design and reality can be reduced, the risk of eGovernment failure can be reduced. Three archetypes of eGovernment failure are identified that highlight the need for better communication between those who need to use and operate the system, and those who are brought in to design it: Hard-soft gaps – Most governmental organisations are dominated by ‘soft’ factors – people, politics, emotions and culture. eGovernment systems tend to get designed according to harder notions of machinery, rationality and objectivity thereby missing the soft factor of government services. Private-public gaps – Many IT systems have been designed in the private sector and shoehorned into a public sector reality which operates very differently. These differences are large and the likelihood of failure is high. Country context gaps – Infrastructure and mind-sets are very different across the world. A system designed for one country may not suitable for another country eGovernment Dimension Model or eGDM provides an understanding of the gaps that can exist...

Read More