UN E-Government Survey in Media

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E-Government Survey in Media

1 Introduction
e-Readiness measures how well a society is positioned to utilize the opportunities provided by Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). ICT infrastructure, human capital, regulations, policies and Internet penetration are all crucial component of e-readiness.
e-Readiness assessment can be an effective tool to carry out planning, monitoring and evaluation of the initiatives toward Information Society in general and e-Government in particular. Several surveys have been carried out on e-readiness at the national, regional and global levels by different international and corporate organizations (Choucri et al 2003). These organizations include:
Accenture, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, Centre for Public Policy of the Brown University, the Economist Intelligence Unit, IBM Institute for Business Value, International Telecommunication Union, McConnell International, Mosaic Group, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, World Bank and World Information Technology Service Alliance.
Providing an effective e-government readiness assessment framework is a necessary condition for advancing e-government. This framework should not rely solely on the general e-readiness measures, as clearly e-readiness transcends e-government. In fact, one of the major drawbacks of the past ereadiness surveys is lack of a clearly defined purpose, beyond the operational definitions provided. A framework for effective e-government assessment must instead identify and focus on the critical variables for e-government and consider the peculiarities of the environment assessed.
This paper presents a comparative analysis of the survey series consistently carried out by three organizations between 2001 and 2004: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA), Accenture, and the Centre for Public Policy of the Brown University (CPP-BU). The surveys benchmark countries based on different sets of indicators. For instance, UN-DESA provides information on the maturity of online presence, availability of the basic ICT infrastructure, and human development of UN member states. Accenture examines the breadth and depth (sophistication) of online services of a number of selected countries. CPP-BU reviews official government websites
across all countries and regions for specific features and online services. The analysis reveals that the use of different sets of indicators and different weights assigned to them (to signify their perceived importance) lead to varying conclusions on the performance of the countries in terms of e-readiness and e-government.
Following the analysis of the surveys, the paper provides a definition for e-government readiness and identifies a set of ‘core indicators’ that are critical for the countries to avoid digital divide or isolation. In addition, the paper shows how weights may be determined quantitatively to provide the ranking that reveals the digital divide in the global scale. Finally, we introduce the concept of the ‘target eready state’ as a way to specify the profile of a typical e-government-ready country in terms of the core indicators, global standards and also the regional peculiarities. The target e-ready state provides a
viable alternative to the relative reference usually adopted in most e-readiness surveys, which typically hides the efforts made by the lagging countries towards e-government.
The rest of the paper is structured as follows. Section 2 discusses e-readiness assessment and its applications to e-government. Section 3 describes three survey series by UN-DESA, Accenture and CPP-BU. Section 4 compares these series. Section 5 identifies the core indicators for e-government readiness and Section 6 assigns weights to them. Finally, Section 7 introduces the concept of the target e-ready state and Section 8 presents some conclusions.

Please click here to view the entire report: http://www.egov.iist.unu.edu/cegov/content/download/1478/37448/version/3/file/report360.pdf
Source Date: 2/8/2011
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