One only has to look briefly through my previous posts such as “Benchmarking the nations” and “yardsticking” to find some criticism of benchmarks and their validity. Purely by chance, I discover in the Korea Times of the 19th February 2010, an article entitled “E-Government Web Sites Underutilized” by their staff reporter Do Je-hae.
Whilst Korea manages to rank very highly in the UN reports and other international benchmarks this doesn’t mean much to the citizens back home if they find the applications hard to use, as this commentator frequently points out. If the UN reviewers are operating in an ivory tower detached from actually using a particular application or process, they might think its splendid, but it appears the Koreans themselves are less impressed!
Despite having one of the best Internet connected populations in the world, at around 85%, only 30% of documents such as birth or residential certificates are processed online. The is not much different from the maximum recently peaked in Canada, which may be a lesson in where e-government is going.
The online processes are described as cumbersome to use. There is also great amount of duplication across departments, along with some mismanagement resulting in citizen confusion.
The problems described are probably replicated across e-government world-wide and as such need to be considered by all those implementing service delivery applications for the citizen.
It looks like there is to be a ministerial e-government summit in Seoul in October, so it might be a good opportunity for the Koreans to get their act together before it happens, and really show the world how it should be done?