January 30, 2010 Hatem Ben Yacoub

e-Government as Platform

Ten years ago, e-Government was a term that every Government started working hardly to study, implement, and understand better how new information technologies could help making better Government services for people. Things started with legislation and laws in different countries, and step by step we started seeing countries embracing the e-Government concept 100%.

Building e-Government services is not that hard, not that easy also. There are many steps that should be followed to be able – at a certain time – to move totally from an old paper-based system, to a fully electronic system.

The most interesting in e-Government that you are building services for people, and people are the customers, the users, while they usually never interact during the building process – but we have many considerations to keep in mind while building for people.

Some interesting steps in e-Gov creation where we should focus mainly include :

  • Business Process Re-engineering
  • e-Government system architecture
  • Systems interoperability and scalability
  • Security : systems, network, and end-users
  • Cost consideration : hardware, software, network, development in-house, outsourcing, and management
  • Web-enabling requirements : accessibility, usability, technologies standards
  • Supporting Multiple Communication channels
  • Internal software and hardware for administration (legacy systems) : RH, Finance, DMS, Archiving, CRM, Workflow, Communication (Email, Voice, IM)

It is interesting to turn Governments process into e-Services, but building platforms that support different business process levels G2G, G2B and G2C is much more interesting.

Some experts started talking about Government 2.0, or Government as Platform. A great concept especially since it allows anybody to build government services or integrate it with other already established business process elsewhere.

The problem is that building platforms is totally different from building services, and IT developers/architects used to create web applications that do not scale at the Government level. One of these problems is the execution of the CAP theorem in Governments web applications. The fact that we require “strong consistency” in e-Government is a major limitation for high availability in web platforms.

“eventual consistency is an  eventual solution, but implement it correctly is a major obstacle. The reason why developers/architects have to better understand the best practices for building eventually consistent systems, in highly available environments.

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About the Author

Hatem Ben Yacoub Energy Engineer, Entrepreneur, ICT & eGov Consultant with over 15 years experience. Independent Open Data expert.

(HBY) Consultancy