ICEGOV2007: Abstract

Title E-government readiness: from the design table to the grass roots

e-Government generally refers to the government's use of information technologies (such as LANs, WANs, the Internet, Intranet, and mobile computing) to exchange information and services with citizens, businesses, general public and other arms of government. e-Readiness refers to a country's ability to take advantage of the Internet as an engine of economic growth and human development. In this aspect, several benchmarking indices are available at the macro (also called global) level by the UNPAN, World Bank, EU and others, and e-Readiness indices at the macro level are constructed primarily for ranking countries.

These are concerned with the global digital divide, i.e., the gap between countries that have access to ICT and those that do not, mainly because of differences in income, education, culture, etc. are being taken into consideration. However, it has been realized that a micro-level measurable criteria needs to be developed, though they already exists in discrete format, which have been developed by institutions and academics. At micro level, performance measuring tools needs to be developed to dictate appropriate design, planning, implementation, and monitoring criteria so that relevant programmes could really become essential component of society development, and at the same time contribute to human development.

It is increasingly clear that for a country to put ICT for effective use, it must be "e-ready" in terms of infrastructure, the accessibility of ICT to the population at large, and the effect of the legal and regulatory framework on ICT use. A key indicator of e-readiness is infrastructure and in developing countries this is often a key challenge to the advancement of society. There are many elements to e-readiness such infrastructure, telecommunications, Internet connectivity and skills set as obtained from various sources. At the same time, infrastructure also refers to utilities such as roads, electricity, water and sanitation and these are all relevant components for any ICT4D-social enterprise setting up operations in developing counties. If the digital divide is going to be narrowed, all of these issues must be addressed in a coherent and achievable strategy so that they can be tailored to meet the local needs of particular countries.

A good fact is that developing country leaders can use e-readiness assessment to help them measure and plan for ICT integration. It can help them focus their efforts from within, and identify areas where external support or aid is required. But an assessment alone is insufficient, and decision-makers face four key challenges in making effective use of this tool. First, they need to understand how ICT can help their countries achieve economic and social benefits, and set achievable goals accordingly. Second, they must take concrete steps toward effective and sustainable ICT uses that will help their countries realize their objectives. Third, there must be measurable criteria to be developed, so that their implementations can be ranked, and finally, an appropriate data mining solution needs to be established for taking necessary steps in reconciliation, management and future expansion. This paper would like to synthesize various measurable criteria and performance measuring tools in terms of e-Government readiness and at the same time would be performing a few analytical assessments and try to put forward recommendations on successful implementation of e-Government, especially focusing developing countries. 

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