Think big, Accenture says

A new survey shows that government officials believe they are approaching the saturation point for online services, but they should be more ambitious, says the leader of Accenture's government efforts.

"What is left are incremental improvements," said Martin Cole, chief executive of Accenture's government group, which recently conducted its annual customer survey.

E-government was originally designed to improve services and reduce costs, Cole said, speaking April 6 at the FOSE government information technology conference in Washington, D.C. But the results of e-government efforts have been somewhat disappointing so far, he said.

The challenge ahead will be for government officials to improve existing e-services and imagine new ones, Cole said.

For delivery of e-government services, Canada ranked first, and the United States came in second in Accenture’s 2005 survey. Denmark was third, and Singapore was fourth.

In a keynote address at FOSE, Cole urged government officials to think big about the future of e-government. He pointed to initiatives in other countries as examples of meaningful e-government programs.

"Singapore is developing an electronic medical information exchange for all public hospitals in the country," Cole said.

A national electronic identification card will change how the Belgian government conducts business with citizens, he added. "By 2009, every Belgian citizen will have an electronic ID, which will open the door to a wealth of services," Cole said.

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