Study: E-gov can't stop now
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Sep 01, 2000
Fueled by public and business demands for e-government services, local,
state and federal governments will be forced to offer more services via
the Internet, according to a new national study.
Among the more dramatic findings by the Forrester Research (www.forrester.com),
an independent research group that analyzes technology trends, were that
* Federal, state and local governments will collect 15 percent of fees and
taxes online, or about $602 billion.
* Governments at all levels will receive 333 million online submissions
by the same time, 137 million to state governments alone. Submissions are
defined as, for example, filing an application or report by businesses and
constituents or transactional services, such paying a parking ticket.
* Authorities will deploy almost 14,000 total e-government applications
nationwide, the majority of services coming from the nation's 35,000 cities
But the report also said many government agencies are facing obstacles when
moving services online. Bureaucratic inaction, lack of funding, intra-agency
squabbling, security and privacy concerns, retraining information technology
workers, and lack of technological skills were some of the top responses
based on interviews with 45 federal, state, and local government agencies
and five foreign governments.
But Jeremy Sharrard, the report's author, said based on a survey of 5,000
Internet users, there is a great demand for interacting online with their
governments, despite privacy issues and paying convenience fees. Users cited
convenience and speed as two main factors.
The report said growth of online government will come in three stages. During
the next two years, governments will move conservatively online offering
low-risk, constituent-focused services, such as fishing licenses, paying
parking tickets, motor-vehicle registration or filing personal income tax
Governments in phase two will offer more sophisticated, customer-centered
services requiring integration of several departments as public usage of
private e-commerce increases. Examples of services on the federal level
could be full-service student loan portal, or reporting to the Environmental
Protection Agency. State-level applications include professional licensing
portals or business registration, and local government application could
be a full-service building permit site.
Beyond 2005, the third phase will mean a reorganization of all levels of
government to make it more efficient and offer more advanced services. Sharrard
said those applications — such as one-click tax filing with online preprepared
1009 and W-2 information or when new homeowners can go to one site and change
their address, update vehicle registration and register to vote with one
mouse click — are still years away.
For now, Sharrard said, the federal government will have to fork over funds
to local and state governments to bring them up to speed Internet-wise.
"Until they can get a flood of cash, more cities and towns will see a digital
divide not just between citizens but between small and large cities," he