E-Government Strategy (2002)†
We live in an increasingly interconnected society, where the Internet has spawned tremendous improvements in efficiency and customer service. People use the telephone and the Internet to get service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
More than 60 percent of all Internet users interact with government websites. E-Government will save taxpayers a significant amount of money, while adding value to citizens’ experience with government and better serving their needs. Consequently, the President has made “Expanding E-Government” integral to a five-part Management Agenda for making government more focused on citizens and results.
Federal information technology (IT) spending in the United States will exceed $48 billion in 2002 and $52 billion in 2003. That level of IT spending provides enormous opportunities for making the transformation government into a citizen-centered E-Government. Indeed, a good portion of current federal IT spending is devoted to Internet initiatives, yielding over 35 million web pages online at over 22,000 web sites. But past agency-centered IT approaches have limited the government’s productivity gains and ability to serve citizens. As highlighted in this report, the federal government is poised to transform the way it does business with citizens through the use of E-Government.
This report presents the federal government’s action plan for E-Government. The primary goals for the President’s “Expanding E-Government” initiative are to:
- Make it easy for citizens to obtain service and interact with the federal government;
- Improve government efficiency and effectiveness; and
- Improve government’s responsiveness to citizens.
OMB Director Mitchell E. Daniels initiated an interagency E-Government Task Force (see Appendix A) to identify the action plan for implementing the President’s E-Government initiative. Under the leadership of Mark Forman, Associate Director of Information Technology and E-Government, about 80 federal employees from across the federal government made up the Task Force (see Appendix B).
The E-Government Task Force found that the federal government could significantly improve customer service over the next 18 to 24 months by focusing on 23 high-payoff, government-wide initiatives that integrate agency operations and IT investments (subsequently, payroll processing was added as the 24th E-Government initiative). These initiatives could generate several billion dollars in savings by reducing operating inefficiencies, redundant spending and excessive paperwork. The initiatives will provide service to citizens in minutes or hours, compared to today’s standard of days or weeks. Moreover, by leveraging IT spending across federal agencies, the initiatives will make available over $1 billion in savings from aligning redundant investments.
The E-Government Task Force identified significant federal performance problems that could be addressed by E-Government and E-Business concepts. The Task Force’s analysis found that redundant and overlapping agency activities have been major impediments to creating a citizen-centered electronic government. Of 28 lines of business found in the federal government, the assessment revealed that, on average, 19 Executive Departments and agencies are performing each line of business (see Figure 5.1). Each agency typically has invested in both online and traditional approaches, regardless of other departments’ redundant efforts. That translates into many duplicative reporting requirements, while requiring citizens to wade through thousands of Web sites and dozens of call centers to find and obtain service. For example, a community attempting to obtain economic development grants could file over 1,000 forms at more than 250 federal bureaus, each form containing much similar data. The Task Force found that this “business architecture” problem creates underlying redundant activities and processes, resulting in unnecessary burdens and costs on citizens, state and local governments, businesses and federal employees.
Indeed, the Task Force found a number of unofficial groupings of federal employees who meet frequently to figure out ways to work together across traditional agency boundaries and better serve citizens. Through e-mails and interviews, the Task Force found that many government employees want to use E-Government tools that enable teamwork in their daily work.
The Task Force also identified key barriers that must be mitigated for success in federal E-Government efforts. The barriers identified concerned culture, architecture, trust, resources and stakeholder resistance. Several recommendations for leadership actions were made to overcome these barriers. In addition, two efforts—the e-Authentication initiative and the Enterprise E-Government Architecture Project—were added to address key barriers.
- The e-Authentication initiative will build and enable mutual trust to support wide spread use of electronic interactions between the public and government and across government by providing common solutions to establish ‘identity’. These solutions will address authentication security, privacy, and electronic signature needs of the E-Government initiatives.
- The E-Government Architecture project will carry out two major concurrent activities. One of the activities will be the development of a architecture, toward the development of a Federal Enterprise Architecture, for each of the current E-Government initiatives, as well as a core set of standardized technology models to facilitate technology solutions. The second activity will be the collection and analysis of business and data architecture information across the federal government to identify new opportunities for E-Government initiatives and elimination of redundancy. Initially this effort will focus on four key areas including Homeland Security, economic stimulus, social services, and back office operations.
The President's Management Council approved the E-government initiatives and the action plan in their October 3, 2001, meeting. Through December 2001, agencies developed detailed business cases and formed partnerships for investment and implementation of the initiatives. The results of the business cases were incorporated into the Fiscal Year 2003 budget, and agencies are currently integrating planned FY 2002 efforts into the 24 E-Government initiatives.
Information on this E-government effort may be found on the Internet at, http://www.firstgov.gov*1, http://www.whitehouse.gov/OMB, or http://www.cio.gov, including an electronic copy of this report.