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Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. His business interests include a diverse range of industries from manufacturing to property to technology. As a technology commentator he has a broad presence both in the traditional media and extensively online. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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4 responses to “E-Government – It’s Not Just the US Leading the Charge”

  1. hotjug

    It must be some simplistic view on e-government if all that is called to be it is about public relations: twitter accounts, Youtube etc. And it is definitely not about specifically Web 2.0 but so much about the old good 1.0.

    Take this relatively unknown 1.3 million inhabitant country of Estonia “somewhere in Europe”. More and more communication with the authorities happens just on the internet without ever seeing the tablemasters in the government offices.

    Want to submit your tax reports – most companies and people do it online, want to apply for child support, apply online; want to register a company – do it online, takes 2 hours; want to inquire about the property you own, taxes you owe, cars registered on your name or your company, about your army service status (the list just goes on and on) – you just do it online.

    You can vote on elections with your ID card (no, it is not even close to having the issues like with the Seybold machine). Next elections, using your mobile phone with Mobile ID.

    Using your national identity card (a credit card size chip card) that is the de facto standard document instead of old-style passports, you log on to http://www.riik.ee (www.”state”.ee) and right away you have access to all information in the electronic registers the government has about you. Submit your applications and tax reports, inquire about this and that.

    This is the country where Skype comes from and where for the last 10 years or so, 98% of bank transfers, both personal and corporate have been initiated electronically (mostly through web-based internet bank solutions). Visiting a bank office is something to celebrate.

    Of course it is not without its woes. Problems of integration of different, now already “legacy” systems, issues with IT subcontractors. In-spite of re-launching of a citizen portal to submit your own proposal for legislation, for different reasons it doesn’t seem to take off.

    There are issues (mostly regarding social control and politics) with e-elections, there is opposition from hospitals to join the global medical records system, but well, who does not have problems.

    This is what e-government is all about, not just the Web 2.0 gizmos.

    http://www.eesti.ee/eng/

  2. Ben Kepes

    Hotjug – fantastic example, you guys are world leaders.

    But it’s still good to see the door opening, however slowly….

  3. hotjug

    you guys are world leaders

    Not entirely true. There are better examples.

    The Global Information Technology Report 2007-2008
    http://www.weforum.org/en/initiatives/gcp/Global%20Information%20Technology%20Report/index.htm

    This report concentrates on overall evaluation. What I described before is more about the practical outcome for ordinary people and the perception of having IT helping ones communication with the authorities.

    However, if you index the list using some multplier to consider over-all living standards like say GDP per capita then yes, we pop quite high up despite of coming from a recent, not so glamorous past.

  4. hotjug

    Some late feedback but as the World Economic Forum just published their latest report
    http://www.weforum.org/en/initiatives/gcp/Global%20Information%20Technology%20Report/index.htm
    then it is worth updating. Estonia ranks globally number 18, but it is worth mentioning that by availability of government information services Estonia ranks number one

    Rank Country Score
    1 Estonia 6.6
    2 Singapore 6.43
    3 Denmark 6.18
    4 Sweden 6.11
    5 Malta 5.97

    http://www.insead.edu/v1/gitr/wef/main/analysis/showdatatable.cfm?vno=9.15