Accenture: E-gov yet to live up to its potential

Accenture: E-gov yet to live up to its potential

E-government initiatives have been an effective tool for transforming government service, but they have failed to bring about the complete re-invention that many people expected during the early years, the head of Accenture's government group said this week.

Governments now should adopt a new four-point plan for delivering customer service that places citizens at the center of their focus, said Martin Cole, chief executive of the global government group at Accenture Ltd. He made his comments at the FOSE trade show, produced by PostNewsweek Tech Media, publisher of GCN.

'While it can deliver dramatic service improvements, e-government alone cannot lead to the outcome citizens want and governments need to deliver,' he said. 'In our view, the importance of e-government lies in its role as a strong catalyst and enabler toward this new vision of leadership and customer service ' a vision that puts citizens firmly at the center.'

E-government solutions have been expected to reduce the costs of delivering customer service and promoting citizen's compliance, while at the same time improving service quality and personalizing the way that citizen's experience government, Cole said.

Accenture, which has produced a survey of global e-government for each of the last five years, has seen many governments adhere to the premise that e-government is an end-game that would deliver spectacular benefits if adopted, he said.

Cole set forth four elements that governments should embrace to promote leadership in customer service.

First, governments need to adopt a citizen-centered perspective where information is organized around citizens. Governments would have access to citizen information and use it to tailor interactions to each citizen's needs and circumstances, Cole said.

Second, they must provide a cohesive, multichannel service that is 'efficient, fast and hassle-free regardless of the channel the citizen uses or chooses to receive it,' he said. Governments should offer their citizens consistent, properly coordinated services whether via e-mail or in face-to-face communications.

Third, governments should adopt cross-government service where different agencies work together and also work with local and regional areas, Cole said.

Fourth, government must promote proactive communications and education where citizens receive information and education making it easier for them to use governments' services and to comply with what is expected of them, he said.

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