I'm working on a citizen-facing, U.S. government portal in the early stages of becoming an archetype for e-Government services. I recently did a peer review to identify other sites that also:
- * Steward and present content from across organizations
- * Require close inter-organizational coordination for user authentication to deliver secure access to applications and data
- * Have to pull everyone involved up by the bootstraps to get the job done
In a nutshell, here’s what I found. (For case studies, see my blog post at http://fritillaria.blogspot.com/2009/11/citizen-centric-portals.html.)
Commitment to eGovernance
Governments throughout the world are demonstrating growing commitment to the ideal of citizen-centric governance. The classic approach to realizing this via a portal is to develop one-stop, online access to an array of government services. This gets developed in stages:
- * Catalog of information, with links to content hosted externally
- * Catalog of interactive and transactional e-services, with links to applications hosted externally
- * Integrated platform for citizen engagement and collaboration
- * Integrated delivery of all government information and services
- * Integration of private as well as public services
The user experience on government portals can likewise be seen on a scale of maturity:
- * Focus on defined citizen groups
- * Access to information and services organized around simple topics
- * Elaboration of information organized around “life events” and expanded topics
- * Focus on universal access through multiple language versions and accessibility to individuals with disabilities
- * Expanded focus to include, businesses, government employees, and interstate/international visitors
Visionary government portal projects tend to change the culture of government itself. For instance:
- * Delivering a functioning portal at any level depends on successful back-office integration of information systems and business processes through a shared or negotiated infrastructure. This involves carrying out challenging inter-agency technical integration and process re-engineering.
- * A robust portal catalyzes the development of new electronic services that could not otherwise be made available.
- * By enabling more client-oriented, accountable, and effective government, a portal can be a powerful instrument for administrative reform, anti-waste, and anti-corruption.