Governments slow to leverage the Internet

Study cited factors such as privacy, fear of systems development costs, and the complexity of migrating to an eEnvironment as impediments of egovernment services.KUALA LUMPUR, 8 Jul 2000 (Asia Pulse) - Despite the financial and competitive advantages of offering government services via the internet, even countries that have made strong advances in eGovernment transact relatively little business digitally.

Study cited factors such as privacy, fear of systems development costs, and the complexity of migrating to an eEnvironment as impediments of egovernment services.

KUALA LUMPUR, 8 Jul 2000 (Asia Pulse) - Despite the financial and competitive advantages of offering government services via the internet, even countries that have made strong advances in eGovernment transact relatively little business digitally.

Andersen Consulting said in a statement Friday, its study indicated that more than 90 percent of the 157 services national government offered were not handled electronically although that could be transacted over the internet. The report noted that the government could save cost of up to US$400 for every "brick and mortar" if transactions could be moved to the internet instead.

"The Malaysian eGovernment initiative is an important first step in realising the creation of alternative channels to provide services to citizens and businesses," said Graham Galloway, head of Andersen Consulting's government market unit in Malaysia. If approached correctly, eGovernment would not only accelerate the country's development but would also help Malaysia move forward as a leader in the digital economy, he added.

Andersen Consulting defined eGovernment as applying eCommerce tools and techniques to the business of governing to benefit government stakeholders, including individuals, businesses and the government itself. The firm had selected 20 governments to study the progress of eGovernment worldwide, including Australia, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and the US.

The study found out that to date, the governments were generally using the internet to disseminate information and had made only limited progress in interacting with citizens over the internet and transacting business. The relatively low maturity of online government services requiring transactional capabilities was due to factors such as privacy, fear of systems development costs, the complexity of migrating to an eEnvironment and the time required to integrate with legacy system, the report said.

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