Rethinking Strategic Planning in E-Government

More and more countries are implementing e-government in order to improve the quality of the public services and introduce the civil service reforms. However, e-government has a checkered record of success in different countries. There are many reasons that contribute towards the success as well as failure of e-governments. Following is a brief summary of the webinar, “Rethinking Strategic Planning in E-Government” by Dr. Terry Buss. This webinar answers various important questions related to e-government quite explicitly.

Origin of Strategic Planning:

Strategic planning and civil service reforms originated side by side some 100 years ago. The basic purpose of these reforms has been to improve public service management. These reforms basically focus on issue like performance, good management practices and budget and financial management. Of these areas, first two are often intervened and are more traditional aspects of civil service reforms or strategic planning. The third one is new concept and it finds its roots in the idea New Public Management that became viral in late 1980s and incorporates all of the three aspects of civil service reforms.

Strategic Planning Process:

Against common perception, strategic planning is not all about performance management which only deals with quantitative indicators, efficiency and economics etc. It also has something to do with managing public service and these two aspects of e-government depend upon each other to work effectively. For instance, strategic planning goes all the way through the pubic system to produce desired results as indicated by the following illustration Canadian Management Assessment Framework.

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Integration of Strategic Planning Concepts:

In modern world, it has become necessary to integrate all the aspects of strategic planning that are good management practices, performance and budgeting. There is no denying of the fact that good management practices lead to good performance. Most importantly, the good performance is directly proportional to budgeting. If your organisation is doing well, the budget is most likely going to increase. But, if it is doing poorly, the budget will naturally decrease.

Government IT Strategy:

Based on the history and different aspects of strategic planning, the e-government was supposed to be a platform on which good public service infrastructure was to be built. Originally, it was thought that e-government will help concerned authorities to improve the quality of public services and easily introduce necessary public service reforms. Its main objectives are:

  • Help improve decision making, operations and service delivery under New Public Management.
  • Guide IT investment and implementation.
  • Develop an effective and efficient IT workforce.
  • Help governments improve financial management.

E-government has progressed a lot and helped countries like Unites States remarkably to enhance the performance of their various public service departments. Since its inception in late 1980s, the concept of e-government has evolved a lot. From humble start of being simple enterprise architecture, it now incorporates all the modern concepts such as cloud computing and cyber security. All these things have improved the performance of e-governments and an increased number of countries are now largely depending upon them to run their affairs.

Areas that Needs to be Improved:

However, there are still many areas where e-government has not fully realised its potential. Some of these areas are as under.

  • All government initiatives and strategies.
  • Intergovernmental relations.
  • Risk Management
  • Integration with other planning and performance processes.
  • Evolution of strategy tools.
  • Implementation of e-government

E-government has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of public service offered by government. Although, it still has many shortcomings yet it has the potential to serve the people in most amazing manner possible. What governments need to do is to remove these shortcomings as soon as possible to make e-governments more effective and result oriented.

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