A digital agenda

January 4, 2012

One of the last publications from 2011, and hence one that  had to wait until 2012 for me to find time to read, was the ‘Digital Agenda for Europe – Annual Progress Report 2011’ published on the 22 December 2011. There are no hidden surprises that I could find  but the original report was covered in Europe Calling in May 2011.

There seems to be a big hope in the EU that citizens will buy goods online from other countries and the EU are even measuring it – 9%, which is 25% up on 2008 – but why? Isn’t it enough that citizens are buying the best goods at the best price without adding delivery miles?

The Commission is also announced as publishing a strategy on stimulating ‘cloud computing’ in 2012, although this seems to be more about innovation and the single market than ‘green’ or anything else, which since we have enough problems with introducing ‘cloud’ into English government, without considering cross-border ‘clouds’.

One good piece of news is that the Commission is reviewing the State Aid Guidelines on Broadband Deployment, which have caused some grief in England – I’m sure if these were made clearer it would help everyone! Similarly the proposal for Rural Development for 2014 – 2020 allows for access to ICT and very high-speed broadband in rural areas, which if made simpler would benefit areas like the one I work in.

Strangely there is also a demand that public sector websites are fully accessible by 2015 and that proposals around this should be released by the EU in the next six months, and that in the six months after there is planned to be a single instrument on the topics of eSignatures, eIdentity and eAuthentication, which may be amusing given the UK’s lack of anything substantial for government along with hardcore resistance to it doing anything.

Why benchmark?

January 4, 2011

The latest and ninth European Commission eGovernment Benchmarking Report was not yet available as I wrote this at the start of January 2011, but had been pre-announced in December 2010 with Malta taking the lead, much to the joy of the Maltese government. However I did find a copy of the draft high level results on the Internet after a long trawl (my thanks to the Federal Chancellery of Austria).

The framework used has already been criticised here, but this time the focus has been on six key elements, the method paper being outlined in June 2010. The report measures six core indicators and through a ranking system, it shows the best performing countries that have implemented what it considers the most mature e-government services.

In  terms of the citizen’s experience, which is my personal focus, the report states:

“Clear efforts are being made to improve the User Experience of services and portals. We measure 5 features for services and three for portals (see illustrations 4a and 4b respectively).

The eServices of the Malta (100%), Sweden and the United Kingdom (both 99%), Estonia (94%), and Denmark (92%) have been particularly well-rated in terms of transparency of service delivery, multi-channel service provision, privacy protection, ease of use, and user satisfaction monitoring. France (100%), Malta (100%), The Netherlands (96%), Spain (95%), and Portugal (94%) have the best portals as regards usability, user-centric design, and service bundling.

The increased focus on user needs is also strongly reflected in the continuing implementation of both online and offline user satisfaction monitoring. This jumped from 9 countries in 2007, to 23 in 2009, and 26 in 2010.”

So, well done UK! This year the report has considered services delivered at a sub-national level and from the following statement in the summary I look forward to the detail in the final version:

“Evidence shows indicators lagging at the local level. For the services Announcement of moving. Building permission, Certificates and Public libraries, the Sophistication of local service delivery only reaches 39% on average {see Graph 7), leaving a massive gap of up to 57 percentage points compared to national web sites. Europe’s largest cities perform significantly better than their smaller or rural counterparts. Even within clusters of municipalities of comparable size, the difference in performance within countries is significant. The User Experience of local web sites varies markedly from one country to another, ranging from excellent to very poor.”

Web 2.0 and benchmarking

July 7, 2009

Two or more recent on-topic posts from Gartner blogger Andrea di Maio. In the most recent Andrea considers how enthusiasm for Web 2.o might shift away from being profitable to the private sector – Why The IT Industry Could Derail Government 2.0 – which takes a very big picture and has an essence of ‘may happen’. This contrasts somewhat with the excess spin put on the topic by Accenture in ‘Web 2.0 and the Next Generation of Public Service’, which is only compensated by their ‘Public Service Value Governance Framework’, which my set the thing in context.

The post before it (Cool idea from an unlikely vendor)  from Andrea also heralds a warning, a government supplier demonstrating a simple Web 2.0 e-government solution. I’d thought that was the essence of it all, the provision by government of datasets, widgets etc so the citizen could, without much difficulty get what they want, if they wanted to.

I think Clayton M. Christensen’s book The Innovator’s Dilemma has something to say on both the previous – and its largely that those already heavily in the market don’t innovate.

The other July post from Andrea picks up on the issue of another contract from the EC to CapGemini to do yet another round of benchmarking e-government – what a waste of tax-payers money. Has the last seven years work delivered anything of value to require another four of the same? I doubt it!