This means that e-government is not a static enterprise but is rather part of a larger dynamic process that is constantly being reevaluated for legitimacy and relevance. In this regard, Jackson et al. insist that, “It is a process of reform with a goal in mind: a comprehensive e-government in which key state services are clarified, speeded up, made easier and basically run better is to suggest the correct delivery of essential services” (2003:233).
An important point made by Jackson and his colleagues is the fact that governments at all levels cannot implement an e-government initiative and then just abandon their traditional delivery of these same services. Rather, because it is a dynamic process that requires ongoing reevaluation for relevancy, governmental services must continue to be delivered in the conventional fashion until the demand for them ceases at which point the transition to e-government will be complete, at least for the time being. This transition period means that at least in the short-term, governments will be required to provide duplicate services which means incurring additional expense, but the investment in time and resources is deemed justified given the potential benefits that can accrue to a more effective and efficient government (Jackson et al. 2003; McLoughlin and Conford 2006).
Based on an inventory of e-government services and citizen responses, Balutis (2006) reports that there are three critical metrics to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of e-government services:
1. Application and service relevance: In other words, “Whats in it for me?”
2. Citizen and business satisfaction: “Do I like it?”
3. Preservation of the public trust: “Do I trust it?”
Based on his analysis, Balutis concludes that “E-government is widely accepted and seen as a growing trend and value to citizens and businesses nationwide” (33) and cites the following results in support:
1. Citizens and businesses are more satisfied with their e-government experiences than with traditional government service delivery.
2. Citizens and businesses understand and expect certain e-government benefits, such as efficiency, time savings, and cost-effectiveness.
3. The growth of e-government depends on education and awareness.
4. Citizens favor e-government initiatives that are closer to home at the state or local level.
5. The services offered online are appropriate to the needs of citizens and business users and are offered at a price that they are willing to pay.
6. Trust is the most critical issue facing the adoption of e-government. Government must successfully address issues of public trust for e-government to be successful in the long-term.
7. Citizens and businesses who have conducted e-commerce transactions are much more confident that privacy and trust are maintained in the electronic environment. As users begin to interact with government online and experience the increased benefits, a greater degree of trust will be created (Balutis 33).
The research showed that e-government is the delivery of traditional government services at least in part using information and communications technologies. The research also showed that the proliferation of these technologies has created the opportunity for governments at all levels to improve their efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of services, but there are a number of challenges, obstacles and constraints to the process that must be considered to ensure a successful outcome. Perhaps the overarching consideration that emerged from the research was the need to carefully monitor the services that are being delivered online to ensure that they are still relevant and users are able to accomplish what they need by using them and that they are viewed as a legitimate substitute that users can trust. In the final analysis, it is reasonable to conclude that more governmental services will continue to find their way into American homes through online resources, but it is also reasonable to suggest that the need for traditional delivery methods will remain for the foreseeable future.
Balutis, Alan P. 2006. “E-Government 2001, Part I: Understanding the Challenge and Evolving
Strategies.” The Public Manager 30(1): 33.
Calitsa, D.J. & Melitski, D.J. (2007). “E-government and e-governance: Converging Constructs
of Public Sector Information and Communications Technologies.” Public Administration
Quarterly 31(1): 87-88.
Davidsson, Robert. 2008, April. “Welcome to the E-Government Library of the Future-Today.”
Public Management 90(3): 16-17.
Dearstyne, Bruce W. 2001, October. “E-business, E-government & Information Proficiency.”