Closing eGovernment Rhetoric & Reality Gap

Published: Wed 4 Apr 2001 03:32 PM
Governments Slowly Begin Closing Gap Between Rhetoric And Reality As They Push To Create eGovernment, According To Second Annual Global Accenture Study
Wellington, New Zealand, April 4, 2001 – Governments have begun to close the gap between political rhetoric and reality as they bring their eGovernment visions to life, according to the second annual global eGovernment study released today by Accenture. Even so, the report, “Rhetoric vs. Reality – Closing the Gap,” reveals all 22 countries surveyed have a long way to go.
For instance, countries categorized in the Accenture report as “Innovative Leaders”, have completed less than half of the work required to develop and provide fully mature online government, both in terms of service and delivery models. The firm categorized Canada, Singapore and the United States as “Innovative Leaders,” whose continued leadership in the creation of eGovernment and more mature online services set them apart from the other 19 countries studied.
“Overall, the innovative leaders and other countries paving the way to eGovernment achieved their status as a result of the political will asserted by their government leadership. They have set targets and timetables to ensure that their visions are being translated into reality,” said Vivienne Jupp, Accenture managing partner, Global eGovernment Services. “It was political will that enabled the innovative leaders to outline and begin delivering on its eGovernment vision, making Canada, Singapore and the United States global leaders in this area.”
“According to the Accenture research, over the last twelve months, New Zealand has made solid progress in the area of eGovernment, ranking ninth as a "Steady Achiever". With the establishment of the eGovernment Unit, New Zealand has the opportunity to make significant gains in the next 12 months,” said Jack Percy, Accenture Managing Partner Australia and New Zealand.
“Education was New Zealand's leading sector, which topped the global ratings of all nine sectors. However the study acknowledged that there is still substantial development potential to add utility and convenience for New Zealanders and businesses,” said Jack Percy.
While the research revealed the gap is slowly closing between what government leaders are saying and what governments are doing, the research also showed:
 Understanding and use of eGovernment is moving up the maturity curve, although it has a long way to go. Only in rare instances, such as in the case of Ireland’s Revenue On-line System, can businesses transact with government via the Internet.
 Portals are emerging as a means of bringing order and customer-focus to eGovernment services. For example, Canada, Singapore and the United States all have introduced nationwide portals to provide citizens a single point of access to government. However, few good portal sites exist and those that do have a long way to go to be truly customer-focused and intentions-based.
“Tomorrow’s eGovernment leaders will advance by building on these efforts and by learning from other countries’ experiences,” said David Hunter, Accenture global managing partner, Government. “Innovative governments providing online services around citizens and businesses need to realize opportunities to build new relationships and alliances with the private sector. In addition, they need to harness the wide range of benefits offered by eGovernment, making the current government landscape unrecognizable within two to three years.”
This transformation has begun. As the study shows, a few government organizations are employing more sophisticated techniques, such as customer relationship management, founding their eGovernment programs on intentions-based designs and developing portals to provide online services across agencies from a single web site.
Among the few government organizations demonstrating this level of delivery maturity and employing customer relationship management is the U.S. Postal Service. Its customers can establish an online postal account to purchase stamps or pay utility bills. Similarly, postal organizations in Finland and the Netherlands ranked highly in the provision of electronic services.
Additionally, the study examined Service Maturity, or the sophistication of the service on the digital continuum, including publication of government information online, electronic interaction between the citizen and the government, and end-to-end citizen or business transactions with government.
Canada secured its leading positioning as a result of the government’s adoption of a cross-agency approach to eGovernment. This approach is intended to make it easier for citizens and businesses to interact electronically with government. Canada also scored high in the area of Delivery Maturity, scoring 60 percent, more than twice the country average of 30 percent and surpassing Singapore and the United States. This score is largely a reflection of the Government’s recently launched portal, The single entry point provides a gateway for Canadian citizens, business and non-Canadians to access major services.
In addition, Accenture researchers explored sites posted by Norway, Australia, Finland, Netherlands and the United Kingdom, identifying those countries as “Visionary Followers”, demonstrating both a high number of services online and moderate sophistication.
New Zealand, Hong Kong, France, Spain, Ireland, Portugal, Germany and Belgium are categorized as “Steady Achievers,” as they offer a large breadth of services with significant opportunity to mature their service level and delivery model.
And, Japan, Brazil, Malaysia, South Africa, Italy and Mexico are labeled “Platform Builders” with low levels of online service, positioning them well to develop a coordinated cross-agency web presence.
About Accenture
Accenture teams with the world’s leading governments to help reinvent them for the eEconomy, deploying new business models that harness the power of new technologies and meet the demands of citizens and businesses. The resulting digital government services and business practices make a difference in the communities across the countries served. Approximately 6,000 Accenture experts work with national, state and local agencies advising, implementing and even operating government services.
Accenture is a US$10 billion global management and technology consulting organization. The firm is reinventing itself to become the market maker, architect and builder of the new economy, bringing innovations to improve the way the world works and lives. More than 70,000 people in 46 countries deliver a wide range of specialized capabilities and solutions to clients across all industries. Under its strategy, the firm is building a network of businesses to meet the full range of client needs – consulting, technology, outsourcing, alliances and venture capital. Accenture’s home page is
Innovative Leaders
United States
Visionary Followers
United Kingdom
Steady Achievers
New Zealand
Hong Kong
Platform Builders
South Africa
© Accenture 2001
Editor’s Note about the Methodology:
To complete this eGovernment study, Accenture researchers attempted to conduct business with 22 governments via the Internet, role-playing citizens and businesses in their own countries. Service sectors on which they focused included: Human Services, Justice and Public Safety, Revenue, Defense, Education, Administration, Transportation, Regulation and Democracy, and Postal. In all, 165 services potentially offered by national government services were studied.
Governments were evaluated on the basis of Delivery Maturity and Service Maturity with the overall maturity rating used to determine categorization as an Innovative Leader, Visionary Follower, Steady Achiever or Platform Builder.
Delivery Maturity, a new aspect of this year’s study, assessed the sophistication of the electronic mechanism used to deliver service, with the most mature services being those which allowed citizens and businesses to interact with government via a portal designed according to anticipated citizen and business needs. Through such a single point of entry, citizens and businesses could gain easy access to services across government agencies.
Service Maturity measured the level to which a government had developed an online presence. This measurement took into account the number of services that were the responsibility of a national government to provide and the completeness with which they are offered online. The level of this maturity is categorized as publishing, interacting or transacting.
Accenture defines “eGovernment” as the application of Internet tools and techniques to the business of governing to benefit businesses, individuals and governments.
This research was carried out in January 2001. To receive a copy of the Accenture “Rhetoric vs. Reality – Closing the Gap” report, contact Barbara Hohbach at

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