Remember standing in endless lines to get your driver’s license renewed? Or the hassle of filing any important personal or business documents. Dealing with any government agency in the past was enough to send anyone straight over the edge. Well welcome to the brave new world of e-gov and the numerous benefits it offers.
E-government, or e-gov, is the use of information technology to support government operations, engage citizens, and provide government services. The immediacy of internet transactions provides for the electronic delivery of government information, programs, and services, as well as to improve the management of government, from streamlining business processes to maintaining electronic records, to improving the flow and integration of information
The ultimate goal of e-gov is to be able to offer an increased portfolio of public services to citizens in an efficient and cost effective manner. Simple tasks may be easier to perform through electronic government access. Many changes, such as marital status, address changes, or the registration of a car, can be a long process and take a lot of paper work for citizens. E-gov allows these tasks to be performed efficiently with more convenience to individuals. It is convenient and cost-effective for businesses, and the public benefits by getting easy access to the most current information available without having to spend time, energy and money to get it.
E-gov helps simplify processes and makes government information more easily accessible for public sector agencies and citizens. For example, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles simplified the process of certifying driver records to be admitted in county court proceedings. Indiana became the first state to allow government records to be digitally signed, legally certified and delivered electronically by using Electronic Postmark technology.
In 2006, Pennsylvania became first state to make electronic vehicle titles mandatory. As of today, 23 states offer electronic vehicle registration, and that number is growing every year.
In addition to its simplicity, e-gov services can reduce costs. The anticipated benefits of e-government include efficiency, improved services, better accessibility of public services, sustainable community development and more transparency and accountability.
The e-government vision is a vision of integrated information and services. This means radical changes are needed in what happens behind the Web site that citizens see. New business processes, different information flows, changed policies, new kinds of records, advanced security measures, and new data management methods are all part of the integration story. This deeply transformational work is why leadership is so critical, and why a report from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, “Eight Imperatives for Leaders in a Networked World,” says “to be an effective leader in our networked world, you need to engage IT issues. You need to play a key role in establishing strategic direction, implementing specific projects, and formulating new public policies.”
A shift from yesterday’s static Web to the new dynamic and interactive Web is critical in simplifying and streamlining services employing ever-evolving technologies that support real-time, dynamic interactions. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone today, and 19% of Americans rely to some degree on a smartphone for accessing online services and information and for staying connected to the world around them. Our world continues to evolve technologically, and now that our local, state and national government agencies have done the same, the thought of interfacing with the government has become a lot less stressful and intimidating. I’m just waiting for the “Click here To Get Married” and “Click Here To Get Divorced” apps, now that’s e-gov!