Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Digital Government Comparisons by Country

As Digital Government is such a prominent issue in today's society, it is important to take a look not just domestically in the United States, but to see what other countries are doing with regards to Digital Government internationally.  In an Accenture 2014 Digital Government report, the consulting firm divided categories into three main areas:

1) Cutters: Countries who have well developed infrastructure and use digital government to help reduce costs.
2) Builders: Countries trying to lean forward in development of infrastructure to offer more services.
3) Enhancers: Countries using digital government to help boost their economy.

Surprising to some, the United States ended up in the first grouping of those mentioned above.  According to the same Accenture report, the United States does not do well in cross-governmental services.  And overall, based on a variety of rankings, the U.S. ranked lower in terms of digital government performance, as depicted in Accenture's graph below where the comparison is between 10 countries globally.

Source: Accenture: Digital Government Pathways Report, January 2014 

Interestingly enough, according to a United Nations E-Government survey from that same year, the United States is considered one of the world's e-government leaders.  It is also noted in this report that United States has promoted the use of API/self-developed applications as part of the open government initiative.  An interesting note in this U.N. report is the difference between demand-side services and supply-services.  This point may help if you find yourself wondering if the United States is a leader in e-government why does it rank low comparatively to some other countries in the first report mentioned above.  

Both reports speak to efficiencies in e-government/digital government.  The distinction may be found in the fact that America is a leader in the e-government arena as with many other areas globally; however, the specific services (let's call these e-services for lack of a better term) that are offered may or may not be centered on the citizen.  I believe this is a key takeaway when speaking about digital government.  There are services offered for a variety of reasons (economic and otherwise); however, where improvement may needed is in terms of centering a service around the citizen to whom that service is being developed for.


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