eGovernment on the Ropes?


Tom Davies has an article in the June issue of Governing Magazine entitled "Throw eGovernment a Lifeline."   He contends:

You don't have to believe e-gov is dead to conclude that it has seen better days. One state chief information officer recently banned the use of the term "e-gov" in discussions with him. In this year's gubernatorial state-of-the-state messages, e-gov was invoked rarely -- a distinct contrast to the past few years when the term was sprinkled throughout major speeches.

I'd agree that there's been times when its been the focus of more hype, but from my perspective its still as exciting as it was two years ago.  I know that I can still get people excited with the vision of government that's more responsive and more transparent.  And that really is my major beef with the article.  Tom says:

Also, the term transformation is used so loosely that it is losing its meaning. Too frequently it's not clear what the word means in a government context. For example, what degree of improvement is needed to qualify for transformational status? Is allowing citizens to register their vehicles or pay parking tickets over the Web really transformational? Associating e-gov with transformation, just to gain support for additional spending on technology, does more harm than good.

I, for one, still believe that eGovernment is transformational.  I'll define what I mean by "transformational:"  the power of networking technologies to hide the structure of government from those needing service.  In everything from starting a business to getting help with a dibilitating disease, government requires myriad things from us; eGovernment has the power to aggregate those experiences into a meaniful interaction instead of the multiple, disjointed, often repetitive interactions that happen today.  More of my thoughts on this are available in a white paper on eGovernment Maturity