e-Government initiatives fall short of expectations
More than 60% of all e-government initiatives either fail or fall short of expected outcomes, according to analysts from GartnerEXP (Gartner's Executive Programme).
The average national government has 160 different departments, according to GartnerEXP. Digital government initiatives - spanning multiple agencies and often multiple levels of government - require more political capital, complex governance structures, multi-level funding mechanisms and relationship skills than projects contained in a single organisation. GartnerEXP analysts provided their analysis on e-government initiatives at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo which was held in San Diego at the close of April 2002.
Where it goes wrong "The many levels of government, each with its own laws, codes and policies, add to the complexity, resulting in large and often risky e-government endeavours that try to cover too much ground," said Judith Carr, senior programme director with GartnerEXP's government research. "It's critical that governments groom a new generation of 'endeavour managers' to head these complex, expensive and risky initiatives."
GartnerEXP says that many e-government failures can be attributed to government agencies failing to understand and manage the differences between endeavours, programmes and projects. The differences between endeavours, programmes and projects are extensive and must be both recognised and understood before setting expectations and embarking on e-government initiatives.
Five imperative actions The critical differences between endeavours, programmes and projects pertain to factors such as whether the initiative is contained within a single organisation, the number of organisations involved if the initiative includes various government agencies, the length of the initiative, the various levels of government participating and the overall complexity. Depending on how the initiative is categorised, there are different pressures and needs for each.
All e-government initiatives are complex, and GartnerEXP advises that five imperatives should become key action items in any new strategy, whether it is an endeavour, a programme or a project:· Focus on the goal· Establish leadership· Find the appropriate skills and financial resources· Invest in the 'building blocks'· Keep up the pressure for ongoing progress