The theme of this year’s GTEC conference was “”Taking it to the Next Level.”” For most people, that might mean providing an increasing number of new and improved government services online. But for Treasury Board president Reg Alcock, who spoke at the opening of the Distinction Awards gala dinner in
Ottawa, the phrase meant taking the “”e”” out of e-government entirely.
According to Alcock, it’s time for e-government to merely be government. Once we reach that stage, he noted, conducting business electronically with government, whether as a citizen or business, will just mean conducting business with government. And once that hurdle has been passed, Canada won’t need any high-falutin’ consultancies to tell it how well it is doing on the world stage.
It makes sense.
Government is all about policy, programs and service delivery. IT exists to support those programs and policies. Calling it e-government to a certain extent serves to focus more on the how than the what.
As Peter Oberle, director of service integration with the Treasury Board, observed in a session at the conference, Canadians don’t just want services online, they want better-quality, more seamless services, as well as responsiveness when they are abroad.
Taking the e out of e-government, however, will require that it be as simple to do whatever you need to do with government online as it is through traditional channels, and the fact is we’re still light years from that point. But as Jane Linder of Accenture points out in her Q&A (please see page 20), sometimes all it takes is one resourceful, innovative and determined public sector employee to make amazing things happen.
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