Gartner draws a clear distinction between e-government and IT strategies, saying that the two serve different purposes, although they are rooted in the same political objectives. However, that doesn't mean they are islolated. In fact, the development, deployment, and governance of each should be closely aligned, says the analyst firm. Debates over which strategy should take precedence should instead focus on how to make them coexist.
In a report (client reg. req.) published earlier this month Gartner explains that e-government is about shaping citizen-centric service delivery, while IT strategy articulates a high-level vision of the role and value of IT in an organization. In a perfect world, the overall business strategy would combine the two . But in reality, other than high-level political objectives, only fragments of the business strategy are made explicit (e-gov. being one of them). IT strategy is also linked to political objectives, and according to Gartner, "It also defines a more-general reference framework for technology deployment across government and is influenced by technology, product and standard development on the planning horizon."
Gartner recommends six key actions to take to help keep conflict to a minimum while letting the two strategies coexist during the development and deployment stages:
1. Determine Whether a Separate E-Government Strategy Is Warranted When e-government is entrenched with other policies a separate strategy is unnecessary, but usually a comprehensive business strategy does not exist.
2. If a Separate E-Government Strategy Is Needed, Keep It Distinct From the IT Strategy If the need for a separate e-government strategy is demonstrated, it is important not to confuse it with the IT strategy.
3. Assign Responsibilities for Each Strategy to Different Organizations It is best to have separate teams deal with the two strategies, as well as to include the business and customer delivery people so the e-government strategy doesn't devolve to just another IT channel.
4. Establish Regular Communication Between the Team Although the two teams should remain separate, they should communicate on a regular basis and exchange drafts for cross-review.
5. Make Sure the Strategy Documents Rigorously Cross-Reference One Another Because of the direct dependence of both strategies on the overall government strategy, both must be directly mapped to overall strategic and service delivery objectives.
6. Establish "Joint and Several" Governance Once coherent and complementary strategies are established on paper, attention should turn to implementing them and updating them over time, while maintaining coherence.